First off: gotta say I’m SICK of all the spam i’m getting here. SO MUCH SPAM, it’s rather annoying
ANYWAYS, I’m referring to Phantom of the Opera from 2004. Reviews hate it and often cite it as an example of a bad movie musical…I don’t get why. I think it’s not that bad. No it’s not perfect, but not HORRIBLE. I’m very open to legitimate criticisms of why it sucks, never really heard one. I don’t want to hear why you don’t like it, you’re entitled to not like stuff.
Story: They took it verbatim from Webber’s musical, which seems to to be the source of much hate upon the film. I don’t think that’s really fair if you ask me. It’s like damning all screen adaptations of Hamlet because you didn’t like reading in high school. I mean C’MON who doesn’t know this story?…oh you don’t? sorry, I’ll explain for your sake. Phantom in short is the story a madman who lives in a French opera house falling in love with the voice of the new star: Christine. He opts to steal her away from her recently returned love, Raul. Christine is torn between love for Raul, and the passion and darkness of the Phantom. Chaos ensues. It’s nothing special the story. I just love the music.
Acting: or should i say SINGING: (we’ll combine sound into this one) This is the only Andrew Lloyd Webber musical I really enjoy, the rest are…eh for me. I don’t see why people hate the music of it, some people do. Emmy Rossum is kinda wispy, but that works for her malleable character, she’s a far cry better than Sarah Brightman (who I maintain doesn’t sing so much as shriek). Now, I would have preferred their original casting for her: Anne Hathaway, who has demonstrated this year that she is both a fantastic actress and amazing singer, but alas she got roped into a Princess Diaries sequel, ah well. Patrick Wilson plays Raul…I can see why people don’t like him. He’s pretty lame in all I’ve seen him in, but he’s not BAD. Minne Driver, she plays the part beautifully, it’s just that her part is that of a shrill, GOD AWFUL soprano, but that’s the writer’s fault, not hers. And finally Gerard Butler as the Phantom. Ok I don’t care what everyone else thinks about him. Gerard Butler is a very sexy man, and he has a great voice, and he’s a decent actor too. He’s a bit too pretty, even with scarring makeup, he was still the prettier guy in the end (ask any woman who likes the movie, they all say the same thing).
Visual: It’s very pretty and colorful. The sets and costumes are all appropriate for the flamboyant and decadent style of the musical. The rest of it…is really forgettable. The camerawork doesn’t do much, there aren’t any big effects. it’s really all about the music.
OVERALL: The movie’s major flaw is it played it too safe. It made as literal a translation as humanly possible. That doesn’t always work out well, some things need to be adjusted. It really wasn’t special and didn’t do anything new, DOESN’T MEAN IT’S BAD. I really enjoy it, but i prefer the music alone. The musical does drag a bit in the middle, but that’s not the movie’s fault, i think the movie’s middle is more bearable than the stage adaptations I’ve seen. People don’t like the musical? that’s fine, i totally get it, just a shame that the movie gets smashed for it. Without the source material…It wouldn’t be great, but it wouldn’t be garbage either, at least i don’t think it would e.
POST SCRIPT: I thought of a reason why Les Mis (the new movie) bugs me. They did the “live singing” to capture the emotion of the actors. My issue with that is that it insinuates that you can’t convey the same level of emotion through singing alone. THAT IS TOTAL NONSENSE. There is immense power in music, it doesn’t need to be marred for the sake of “stronger emotion”. If you did it right, the emotion will be in the music. Plus shooting live means long and really boring shots, that is something i can’t abide.
come to think of it, Phantom of the Opera really was emotionally dead, I didn’t really feel much emotion from most of them beyond their fixed tones (i see Butler as the exception). I still like Phantom, even if it’s not great. ah well. CYA LATER