THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (2004)
Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, Miranda Richardson, Minnie
Driver, Ciarán Hinds, Simon Callow, Victor McGuire, Jennifer Ellison,
Murray Melvin, Kevin McNally, James Fleet, Imogen Bain, Miles Western,
Judith Paris, Halcro Johnston, Paul Brooke and Amy Lawson.
Screenplay by Andrew
Lloyd Webber and Joel Schumacher.
Directed by Joel
Distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures. 143 minutes. Rated
The Phantom of the Opera
story of The Phantom
has been around for ages, first brought to the silver screen in the 1920's
by Lon Chaney, Sr.'s
quintessential interpretation of the disfigured and dysfunctional musical
genius. Since Chaney's spellbinding role, the legacy of The Phantom
has grown immeasurably through the years, thanks in no small part to Andrew
Lloyd Webber's spectacularly conceived stage musical.
Directed by Joel Schumacher, the 2004 film version
of the play
was released with little
fanfare and minimal critic buzz. Upon viewing of the newly released
DVD, the film is nowhere near the disaster
by some critics and deserves a second look.
story, if any of you don't know it already, centers
the Phantom's unhealthy infatuation with aspiring soprano opera singer,
does all in his power to ensure that the love of his life achieves stardom.
Living underneath the dusty catacombs of the Paris Opera House, The Phantom
lords over this place of music and mirth. Yet soon enough,
Phantom's romantic obsession becomes unhealthy and before too long his
ravenous rage is overwhelming. In a battle with the
handsome Raoul to win the affections of Christine, The Phantom
emerges with enough evil vengeance and murderous intent to make Charlie
Manson take cover. He aims to win over Christine at any cost.
Visually, the film is stunning. The evocative set pieces and period
costuming in particular are
gloriously opulent and beautiful
and Andrew Lloyd Webber's score
fan walked away with many of the song's hooks embedded in his memory. Most
impressive is the manner in which director Schumacher allows for the
seamless scene transition of the past moving from black and white to the
glorious Technicolor of today. The climactic scene between The Phantom,
Christine and Raoul in the watery canals underneath the Paris Opera Opera
House keeps you on the edge of your seat, a masterful juxtaposition of eerie
lighting, strong dialogue, and dramatic suspense.
While the pacing of the film suffers in parts, (at two hours and twenty
three minutes, it's thirty minutes too long) and Minnie Driver's overacting
can grate, The Phantom
succeeds as a solid distillation of moving music, action, suspense, and
romance. Emmy Rossum (Mystic River/The Day After Tomorrow), who
portrays the beautiful Christine delivers a finely restrained performance,
equal amounts of pathos and purity. Gerard Butler as The Phantom, best known
for roles in Tomorrow Never Dies and Lara Croft:
The Cradle Of Life,
impresses most, not only with his over-the top maniacal edge but with the
subtle romantic longing he displays for Christine.
might not be for everybody (it most definitely fits the category of "chick
flick") but there's enough gripping drama and suspense for moviegoers
thrilled with "The Music Of The Night" to walk away wholly satisfied.
Copyright ©2005 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: April 18, 2005.
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Posted: April 18, 2005.