An Indepth Review of the Phantom of The Opera Movie!

For those of you who have seen the show onstage, or heard the original cast recording, and think it is one of the more excellent musicals and Webber's only decent show, the movie will start off mediocre and plummet from there. If you loved Moulin Rouge and have no previous knowledge of Phantom, you may be able to stand it- there's even an anonymous midget, like in Moulin Rouge! For those of you looking for beautiful costumes, a fairly incredible set, and intriguing conematography, this is probably your new favorite movie.

Emmy Rossum, while no doubt enchanting and completely capable of hitting any notes necessary, is so lifeless that you find yourself rolling your eyes every time the camera sets down on her. Also, she has to slide up to all of her high notes, which gets annoying. She attempts to caress the music to the point of smothering it. Thirdly, her diction leaves much to be desired- i thought i'd read that she had been operatically trained since she was 7. Hmm. Butler, The Phantom, is no Michael Crawford,
obviously, but does the first high note in Music of the Night beautifully. He was not horrible, but he did better with the quieter, sweeter songs than the distraught passionate ones. He didn't have enough layers of emotion to his voice to do anything but
angry or quiet; there was no bitterness or fear behind anything he sang. Whoever it was who played Raoul was a non entity, and easily forgotten.

Compared to the stage play, it was ridiculous. Lines that were originally sung were now spoken, sounding like the most inane poetry in the world, like Schumacker wanted to play Shakespeare for a while and failed miserably. Every reference to Little Lotte is spoken. Christine recognizes Raoul at a glance, before he even speaks to her or sees her sing. The chandelier
does not fall until the end of "Point of No Return," so that the Phantom and Christine can escape.

I repeat, THE CHANDELIER DOESN'T FALL UNTIL ALMOST THE END OF THE MOVIE!!!!! The very good triad in the graveyard between Raoul, Christine and the Phantom, the one where the Phantom shoots fireballs at Raoul, the one song that my dad, who loathes Webber, actually really liked? GONE. Now it's a swordfight. There's no real reprise of the notes, it segues from "Why So Silent?" into the Phantom announcing what were originally letters to the staff. THEN, later on, after
the swordfight, Raoul, Firmin, and Andre sing the little ditty about the doors being barred and men being armed, and Giry is practically left out of it.

Storywise, it's a little weird. It, much like Moulin Rouge, flashes back and forth between Raoul as an old man, and the main body of the play. It also has a little flashback to Giry saving Phantom from the circus folk. Also, the Phantom is far too attractive to inspire any sort of fear and loathing. Without the mask and with mussed hair, he looks like Brendan
Fraser with a bad sunburn over one eye. With the mask, he was actually pretty darn cute and i'm not ashamed to say that i would've picked him over Raoul in a heartbeat, cuz damn! Way too attractive. The accents are odd too. Driver is shallow but one of the bbeter people in the movie, and her accent is good. Other than that, Raoul, Christine, and the Phantom all have
American accents. Meg has a hint of a british accent, as do Firmin and Andre. And Mme. Giry has a thick french accent. At least in Moulin Rouge they all had British accents. It ends with Raoul at Christine's grave many years later (Loving wife, beloved mother, yadda yadda yadda), and he sees a rose with a black ribbon on it. Gasp! No dramatic lift of the mask by
Meg, nothing.

There were a few good points. For example, Butler doesn't totally butcher Music of the Night. And Point of No Return is the best number in the show. Notes and Primma Donna run a close second. Masquerade is fun and well done, even though Christine and Raoul speak their little discussion about being engaged, from "Think of it" to "Let's not argue." Yes fans, imagine that part, spoken. Think it would sound ridiculous? It did.

All in all, it's irritating enough to be talked about, and fun to see if you're not a musical theater fan. If you'd like to see a humorless action romance with some singing in it, this is your film. If you're like me, you'll get your hopes up in the first half hour, and then have them cruelly dashed when you realize the chandelier is not going to crash to the floor once the
camera finishes pulling away from an angry Phantom singing threats into the sky. But don't take my word for it. It's only about 7 bucks to go see, and it's entertaining, even if it's wrong. Like so many others who reviewed this movie, although i spent all my time criticizing, i still recommend it, solely for the experience of seeing. Walk out if you want.

Reviewer, Alexis Bobrik

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