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Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Phantom of the Opera: A Review

So, this Christmas I finally managed to get my own copy of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" The Movie. I had seen the movie once before, in a cold movie theater with my friend. I had had extremely high expectations for the film, mostly coming from having spent nearly seven years in idle worship of the stage musical. I had seen the musical twice, once in Boston and once in New York on Broadway (second row, orchestra seats!) as well as having read the book, I was well known as the resident Phantom expert amongst my social circle. Of course, I saw the movie.

There were time during that movie when I wondered why I had come. Don't get me wrong, I did like the movie. It was a very good adaption of both the stage musical and Gaston Leroux's original book. The extra back story given to Madam Giry I found strikenly similar to the story of the Persian from the book. I found the acting to be for the majority quite good and the few changes to the story and the to the play in general worked well.

I had mixed feelings about Christine. Emmy Rossum was very good and managed to hit the part almost perfectly. Christine is a tough part to play in acting and in vocals. On stage two people have to share the role and switch almost every other night. I guess it was how the character was written that bugged me. On stage, Christine has a rather strong presence. She has a great scene where she gets to insult Carlotta, and is not nearly as much of a suffering innocent as they made her in the movie. And was it just me, or was Emmy Rossum trying to put on a British accent towards the begining of the movie? I swear there was a hint of British to her voice at the very begining of the film that she seems to have abandoned about 20 min. through.

Raoul was...well...Raoul. I always liked this character. He didn't really have much personality and he spends most of both the musical and the book being perpetually confused. He's got a sort of charm to him in how he doesn't really do much. Except in the movie. He did a lot in the movie. I really didn't know Raoul could horseback ride. And bareback. Impressive.

Here's my biggest issue with the film. Gerard Butler, ugh! What an awful phantom! I mean, his acting was brilliant, but his singing was AWFUL!! God, the phantom is suppose to have the most amazing voice ever heard by human ears. He is supposed to sound unearthly good. But Gerard, oh Gerard, he sounds like a growling bear trying to sing! They really should have had someone better play the Phantom. Maybe the guy who played Raoul? He was good, he would have made a good phantom. But Gerard Butler, great acting, terrible singing.

So all and all, I liked the flim. It wasn't nearly as good as the stage version of course, but did anyone really expect it to be? Emmy Rossum and Patrick Wilson were both very good, great choices for the characters. I won't even go into Gerard Butler. They may have changed where the chandeleir fell, but that still didn't make him any better.

Oh, and what the hell was up with that sword fight in the cemetary? I wanted to see the Phantom shoot deadly balls of fire or lightning (dependent upon your preformance) from some random stick thing! That is one of the favorite parts in the musical! I mean, I guess I can understand not having it there, it would be rather hard to do it on film and have it look good. But a sword fight? God, at least put something there that showcases the Phantoms magician, almost unearthly, qualities and skills.

8/10 Needs a better Phantom.

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