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Many people will look at this film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic musical spectacular, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA with mixed emotions. There are people who will be upset that Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford, who played the original Christine and Phantom respectively, were not allowed to recreate their signature roles. There will also be people who'll be disappointed that this version is not a literal translation of the stage musical. Finally, we have the critics of both Webber and director Joel Schumacher, who have both been accused of wretched excess in previous projects in their individual careers. Taken as a film version however, this PHANTOM stands the test of time, not only as a wonderful musical film, but as one of the more faithful versions of Gaston Laroux's romance/horror novel.
Starting with a black and white prologue, the film tells the story of budding opera star Christine Daae and the two men who fight for her heart: the noble Viscount who she knew in childhood, and the mysterious Phantom of the Paris Opera House who hides his ugliness behind a half-mask while sponsoring Christine's career. Like the stage production, this film is awash in glorious colors and sets that would put many epics to shame. It's well balanced by solid performances that help propel the romantic, if melodramatic, story along.
Gerard Butler makes for a wonderfully dark and obsessive Phantom, while allowing the character to retain the audience's sympathy. Miranda Richardson is solid as the dour Madame Giry, who knows the Phantom's secret. Minnie Driver easily gets the most laughs as the over-bearing diva, Carlotta. (It's interesting to note that Ms. Driver's singing is dubbed in the film proper, while she actually sings the new closing credits melody "Learn to be Lonely.") Patrick Wilson makes for a stalwart, if somewhat bland, Viscount. But the strongest impression is made by the lovely Emmy Rossum. Only in her late teens when filming, she turns in a fantastic performance with a crystal clear voice that does justice to Webber's score. Joel Schumacher does a strong enough job in directing this film, allowing the music and the screenplay that he co-wrote with Webber to shine.
In the end, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is a delightful spectacle that does justice in its own way to both the stage original and Laroux's book. As such, this is a film I highly recommend.
Ok, maybe I was biased, cause I already loved the Phantom of the Opera, but I was actually very skeptical about this movie. I have been a fan of the Phantom of the Opera since 1989, and I LOVE Michael Crawford as the Phantom. When they were making this movie I remember thinking "Who can ever compare to Michael Crawford?"
Then I saw the movie. And I fell in love with the Phantom all over again. Gerard Butler was perfect for this role in the movie. I don't think he would work so well in this role in the stage show, but for the movie he was FANTASTIC.
Come on now, we all know Michael Crawford is the ultimate Phantom, but we also all know that he was too old to play the Phantom in the movie. A 65 yr old Phantom wooing a 17 yr old Christine? GROSS! In order for it not to be gross Christine would have to be much much older, and that just would not have worked.
So I don't see what the big deal is about having a younger cast. I think it worked extremely well. The chemistry between Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum was amazing. You can feel the love, the passion, the desire.
As for Gerard's singing. I don't know why everyone wants to tear his singing apart. No, he is not a tenor. No, he is not professionally trained. But his singing is powerful and moving. He inflects such raw emotion into the songs, we feel the Phantom's pain and insecurities. He makes us realize that the Phantom is not perfect, in face or in voice, and that makes him more human. His acting is superb, in this movie as in all of his other movies. A heavily dramatic acting performance, such as is required for the Phantom to work in the theater, would have seemed overdone in the movie. Movies and theater are two different mediums, and what works in the theater looks tacky on screen.
Emmy Rossum was spectacular. Her voice is beautiful, she is beautiful, and she was the perfect Christine. Young, naive, impressionable, breathless, all the things young girls are when first exposed to love and desire. She made us see Christine's conflict...in love with Raoul, in love (and lust!) with the Phantom, torn between the two.
Patrick Wilson is the only Raoul I didn't hate. He gave Raoul a quality that the character doesn't have in the stage show...some small bit of courage. Patrick Wilson's singing was superb as well.
The supporting cast was fantastic. The costumes and sets were beautiful. The music, as always, haunts you long after the movie is over.
I have seen the stage show and will be going to see it again, but this movie, although different, to me is just as spectacular and moving as the musical on stage.
This glitzy rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage production is very visually appealing. While Emmy Rossum's singing is not on par with Sarah Brightman, her acting is none the less captivating on the screen. Gerard Butler performs an interesting interpretation of the Phantom. While no Michael Crawford, Butler does hit key notes, and has great chemistry with Rossum.
The made for film "Black and white scenes" add closure to the interpretive ending of the stage production.
If you have never seen the Musical production, this film is perfect for you. If you have seen the Musical, you will not be disappointed... Too much. There are some songs left out, including the rehearsal of "Don Juan Triumphant". The Phantom is not as mystical as in the stage production, as all his tricks can be easily explained in the film through levers and secret passage ways.
The Phantom's lair is fairly accurate to the stage production but only in the deep depths. Towards the beginning Raoul falls into a "Fun House" of mirrors and a strictly made for film water trap.
If I have to make one complaint about the film, it would be the infamous Chandelier Scene. I have no qualms about the chandelier falling in the second Act rather than the end of the first Act; I do have a problem with the way it fell. In the original Novel the Phantom has the chandelier actually fall into the audience. During a stage performance you can not have a chandelier fall on the patrons, (unless you don't want them to come back) so the chandelier falls on the the stage. In the film the chandelier is very realistic looking, however it falls and swings down to crash into the stage! This is a film, therefore you can do things in the film that can not be done during live performances. If you have the technology make the damn chandelier fall into the audience not into the stage!
I normally would not make a fuss about such a thing, however, this is what made Phantom famous during the stage production, it should be nothing short of spectacularly disastrous in the film. Drop the chandelier kill lots of people and then have the theatre burn down. 3 stars out of 4. Hope this was helpful.
This movie was beautifully done.
Joel Schumacher was able to capture what many directors fail to when converting musicals to film: the added extras that the audience is left wanting to see when watching the stage show. The Phantom's lair was elaborate and the backstage scenes seemed to give the viewer a true glance at that period.
The casting could have been improved by getting rid of Patrick Wilson. Although he has a beautiful voice and the 'look' of Raoul, his character lacked the passion and the chemistry with Christine to be believable. In other words, it was flat.
Gerard Butler does not have as strong a voice as many who appear in the stage production (which I've seen 5 times). However, his acting brings a perfect balance to the character (as I think it is intended); he is both dark and light. His deformity and anger is contrasted superbly by the love that you see in his eyes and his feelings are experienced by the audience. The viewer understands why he is the way he is, and I kept my fingers crossed until the very end that he would walk away with some happiness... At the movie end I couldn't help but feel like the wrong guy got the girl (likely due to Wilson's dispassionate portrayal)
Minnie Driver was a surprise pleasure!! An enormous voice to match this superstar.
Ciaran Hinds was, as is typical, a perfect chameleon...he always manages to perfectly fit the roles he takes on.
Highly recommended on all counts. It isn't quite a 5 for me, but as it is closer to a 5 than a 4, I've rated it as such.
Joel Schumacher's film of Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit theatrical production "The Phantom of the Opera" is gorgeously filmed and well-cast overall. Gerard Butler is no Michael Crawford but he's certainly dashing enough and his voice isn't bad. The one drawback of the film is that despite how beautiful it is, without the ingenious stagecraft of the show as a distraction some of the weaknesses of the story are much more apparent and some of the scenes added to flesh out the story (especially the sword fight between Raoul and the Phantom in the cemetary) end up hurting rather than helping the narrative. Overall, though, it is a very good transfer of the show to the film medium.
The bonus features on the DVD are very nice. Although there is no commentary track there is a fairly comprehensive documentary about the making of the film. More interesting, however, is a separate documentary about the origins of the stage production that features some nice footage of Crawford and Sarah Brightman (among others) and lots of behind-the-scenes footage as well.
Love this version of The Phantom of the Opera. Andrew Lloyd Webber did a wonderful job in making a play into a great movie. The chemistry between
the main characters are great, Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler and Patrick Wilson. Love them all. This movie is very tender and tragic and shows how Christine shows much compassion. It's one of my all time favorite movies and much better
than even the original book. Had to have my own copy of ALW's The Phantom of the Opera.
I bought this movie two weeks after I saw Phantom live on Broadway - It was as good as it was live. Andrew Lloyd Webber is a producing genius as he gives you a little something extra that you would not normally see during his live production! Emmy Rossum as Christine and Gerard Butler as the Phantom are a joy to watch and listen to as they wrap you up in their dramatic relationship. I cried long after the movie ended because the characters make you believe in them. As always, The Phantom of the Opera lives up to it's name and makes you want to watch over and over again.
Although I feel very strongly about this movie, I do feel it is probably not appropriate for young children. It does have dramatic elements that might scare a young child. As an adult though, Broadway entertainment doesn't get any better than this - and you can watch from the comfort of your own bed...just make sure the tissue is handy!
The Phantom of the Opera is a timeless work of Macabre. It is a tragic but epic tale of love, obsession,passion,compassion loss,grief, self imposed imprisonment,and a desire to be free.Emme is a delightful singer/ dancer, ingenue as Christine, her voice is excellant like a nightingale, Patrick plays a young suave suitor Raoul, defender with compassion and also has a beautiful voice. Gerard plays the Phantom, a very disturbed character who is a prisoner in his era. His deformity ( a deformity which could have been repaired by plastic surgery within 100 years of his birth)requires him to hide from life, love and passion. He hides from his horrible life by using his half mask,which allows him to have a minimal pleasure of human company. Gerry, although not a trained singer provides an excellant convincing performance as the Phantom. His singing is powerful at times showing joy, sadness and arrogance.One can feel his pain, so to speak. He sheds real tears and is convincingly in psychic pain leading his audience to feel compassion for his plight.
As compared with the stage performance the movie shows the emotion of the characters because you can see faces and all the passion the roles demand much much better than viewing the characters from the second balcony of the any theater. I love this movie and recommend this movie to everyone.Pandorasbaux
My daughters and I love this movie and the music as well. I own a copy but wanted to buy another one for my daughter.
The Phantom of the Opera starts off in black and white with an auction being held at the Paris Opera House. As they are panning around the room, everything is covered with dust and dirt. The chandelier is revealed for auction, as they start to raise it up the music starts playing and the gas lights around the chandelier ignite. The appearance of the film transforms back to its original state and the black and white images begin to take on vibrant red, blue and gold colors. The scene then goes back in time to when the Paris Opera House was in full operation. Each scene shows a pleura of beautiful vivid colors in the customs, makeup and props. The music is one of the best parts in the movie.
Great film. Probably one of the Best (if not the Best) Musical I have ever had the pleasure to see. From the Production to the acting, this film was truly an amazing creation, and a feast to the eyes. Gerard Butler played the part of the Phantom of the Opera amazingly. Both his singing and his acting just left me in awe, I never knew he had such an amazing voice. I totally Recommend this movie to everyone, especially to all those who love music. 10/10