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Phantom, the 96

Billy Zane , Kristy Swanson , Simon Wincer    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   VHS Tape
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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This plain-vanilla version of the old Lee Falk comic strip stars Billy Zane as a 1930s incarnation of the Phantom, an African-based, masked hero whose forefathers have all donned the costume at one time or another. Sworn to crush evil, the Phantom leaves his jungle lair to venture to New York, where he takes on a charming but criminal mastermind (Treat Williams). There's no oomph to this film at all. The very capable director Simon Wincer (Phar Lap) seems to be working with a leaden production and an inferior talent pool behind the camera. The talent in front of the camera do their best, but it isn't enough. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Phantom Crusader Oct. 9 2006
By R. Kirk
The Phantom is a superhero based on a South Pacific Island circa 1930. His mission is to fight pirateering, greed, and crime. I found this film (metaphorically) represented todays modern world - quite acurately. A modern world which is marred with white-collar corporate crime; featuring politicians, manager-representatives, and everday street-charlatans, out to swindle his fellow (hu)man. The Phantom also commutes to NYC to follow a crime.

The film has many great action-sequences filmed in the South Pacific, where the Phantom resides. The scenery is breath-taking, and The Phantom truly is a super-action comic book hero. I enjoyed this film. The Phantom has a great moralistic side. He is indeed human afterall. He is a friend of nature, and all it's animal friends. He is also out to fight for justice, and protect honest hard-working folks. In other words, this film still resonates with a minority today. Folk's who honour collective values, and not primarily - the self. This film would appeal towards this branch of people, and probably most comic book fans in general.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long-time PHANTOM fans couldn't be happier April 13 2003
To really appreciate the 1996 PHANTOM, it helps to know who he is: whereas other costumed heroes depend heavily on at least one super power and are forever in your face about it, the PHANTOM is the only one who relies on good genes, a white Palomino, a pet wolf, a loyal tribe of pygmy poison people (the Bandar), and a personal fortune to get him past bad times and bad people. He also has this stone fox of a girlfriend (Diana Palmer), a skull throne [THE Skull Throne], and the coolest home on the face of the earth, the Skull Cave.
Many "super"-type heroes have elements of the PHANTOM's lifestyle: Batman, for instance, ripped off the Skull Cave with his Batcave and his wealth; but unlike the PHANTOM Batman isn't saving the world 24 hours a day. Batman clocks in at sundown, works all night, then sleeps it off the next day. Presumably, too, crime in Gotham City isn't always afoot; Batman, as billionaire socialite alter ego Bruce Wayne, mixes it up with the nation's wealthiest 1% whenever possible. And who built the Batplane, the Bat-o-cycle, the Batmobile, the Batboat, etc? If Batman's got his own pygmies building this stuff for him, let's see 'em! And what kind of "hero" ADOPTS a teenage boy (Robin) and votes Republican?
The PHANTOM, on the other hand, would drop everything to come to the aid of some pygmy whose ox ate too many dung beetles. When the Bandar have a bake sale, the PHANTOM bakes a pie. Diana been away for a month and hasn't had a chance to write? The PHANTOM broods for about two seconds and puts on a hat, sunglasses, and a checkered trenchcoat, leaves town for the States, and breaks heads until he finds her and knows she's OK. Is that love or what?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nifty live-action comicbook May 13 2004
By Danno
This is the type of DVD that works best if you watch it on a rainy Saturday morning. I missed "Phantom" when it was released theatrically many years ago and discovered it on DVD. This is an old-fashioned comicstrip/movie serial sort of film that's perhaps too straightforward for most tastes. There's no irony or winking references here, which sets it apart from most other superhero movies. I liked it, but didn't love it, and I can fully understand if it's not to everyone's taste. I suggest you rent it, watch it on a gloomy weekend and see if it doesn't make you feel like a kid again if only for a few minutes.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Good-Looking if Otherwise Mediocre Movie Dec 17 2003
While the basic look of Simon Wincer's version of "The Phantom" is right, the film suffers from a sense of "liteness" that retards it from finding its legs as a swashbuckling adventure. The often-creepy Billy Zane turns in a decent "aw shucks" performance as The Phantom, the latest successor to a long line of superheroes who've donned a purple costume and black mask to serve justice. In this version, he's up against-predictably-a megalomaniacal millionaire (Treat Wiliams) who is bent on acquiring three skulls that will give him supernatural powers. Williams provides some laughs with his perennially excited villainy-he's like an evil, hyperactive six-year-old on metamphetamines-and the luscious Catherine Zeta-Jones does her turn as the dark-haired spideress that keeps butting heads with The Phantom's girl (a plucky if pouty Kristy Swanson). The story is Indiana Jones meets Batman, right down to caves, jungles, hidden fortresses, and pirates, with a little Jules Verne thrown in for spice (there's a cool mini-submarine that just screams "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea"). But even with the addition of the delightfully craggy Patrick McGoohan as an earlier Phantom, the films seems to lag, in part because it seems so derivative. And though it's set in the 1930s and imitates serials of the era, its playing to ugly stereotypes gets tiresome-the blonde being the "good girl" and the brunette the "bad girl," the Yellow Horde seeking to enslave the world, Italians as mobsters willing to double-cross their own brothers, etc. Sure, there are lots of Americans who actually believe such hoo-ha, but that doesn't make it worth putting in a film that seems aimed at impressionable kids.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great !!!!!!
Published 2 months ago by ej
4.0 out of 5 stars The Phantom Thrills.
DVD arrived in mint condition. Fantastic movie, I loved it in 1996 and it holds up well in 2014.
Published 3 months ago by B. Kirby
5.0 out of 5 stars great buy
best quality perfect condition and the item is as said on the ad
overall the purchase was amazing
thank you
Published 4 months ago by Paul Anton
4.0 out of 5 stars 1996 Phantom on DVD
This is great for what it is supposed to be: a comic-bookish sort of film. It has the flavor of the old 1960s comic books (I don't mean Phantom comic books specifically but just... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Old Film Lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Phantom
This film featuring the classic Phantom is a must have for any Phantom fans.

Fun film with action... adventure.... and pretty ladies. ;)
Published 8 months ago by Pierre Villeneuve
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad!
Nice little movie about a very intriguing comic book character...I do believe it could have been better but it's pretty good & well worth buying...especially at that price!
Published 15 months ago by Steff66
4.0 out of 5 stars Swashbuckling Superhero Adventure!
3.5 out of 5

A ship taken over by pirates. The death of a father. A young boy thrown overboard. Washing up on the shore of the Island of Bengalla. Read more
Published 17 months ago by A.P. Fuchs, author of The Axiom-man Saga
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!!!
WOW!! I had remembered seeing this flick as a kid and recently decided to look it up again. I was just as amazed by it now as i was then. Read more
Published on Nov. 24 2008 by C. Deloughery
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Not terribly memorable superhero action flick done much better in other formats. Billy Zane presented an unsympathetic hero and the villian seemed more of a boob than a threat. Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2006 by TND
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!
I thought it was an AMAZING movie! Sure it's not Catherine Zeta-Jones at her best, but hey! When DOESN'T she give a good performance?!?! :D
Published on June 28 2005 by CZJ Fan!!!
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