on May 5, 2005
I fell in love with the music of "Phantom" when i bought my 1st Sarah Brightman cassete many years ago. I have waited these many years for the play to make it to film and at long last it has.
There will be many who grumple that "Webber" deliberatly delayed the making of this film to deny "Brightman" her film immortality in a movie adaptation of the greatest play and greatest music she has had or ever will have in her astonishing career. Maybe there is truth somewhere here a lingering bitterness of their failed marriage or what ever. I too would have liked to have seen the original Broadway cast reprise their roles on the big screen, but for whatever reason that window was closed forever.
However, that being said it in no way lessens the visual & audio impact of this new movie. Gerald Butler captures the essence of the troubled and lonely Phantom and his vocals of "music of the Night" and indeed throught out the movie leave nothing to be desired. Emmy Rossum is young , fresh and the perfect Christine. Her voice is true and crisp and she need never feel she failed to raise to the challange left her by Brightman, she met that challange head on and matched it beautifully. Her rendition of "wishing you were here" performed in the grey mist of a cemetary will reach down deep in anyone who loves good music well performed. Her duet with Patrick Wilson "say you'll love me" well it just dosen't get any better then that.
If you don't have your copy BUY IT you will never regret the purchase price. However, one cavet of advice buy it it "wide screen" NOT full screen for the sheer grandeur of the visual aspects of the film.
on May 26, 2005
I will never thank enough the person who gave me the DVD as a gift! As an avid fan of Gaston Leroux's work, I was a bit apprehensive regarding this version. I don't think I have ever been happier to be so utterly wrong! Patrick Watson (Raoul) is a delightful lyrical tenor and makes a great romantic lead, while Emmy Rossum is the definitive Christine (sorry Ms. Brightman, I adore you but Rossum was perfectly cast), she conveys the perfect mix of purity, youth and innocence and comes of age right before our eyes. Brilliant. But my main appreciation has to go to Gerard Butler (the Phantom), who makes us feel his pain very keenly. You empathize with him big time. I was totally blown away by his ability to convey so much emotion while signing. Whoever made the final decision to cast him instead of a trained singer deserves all my admiration. It was a gutsy move, but a very brilliant one. He delivered every single note to perfection in terms of emotion and of vocal performance. He creates the perfect contrast with Watson and Rossum (intense and passionate compared to lyrical and romantic). "The Point Of No Return" is a particularly poignant number. Supporting actors are also very well cast and provide an interesting comic relief to the drama that unfolds, particularly in the case of Minnie Driver, Ciaran Hinds and Simon Callow. I highly recommend this DVD to everyone. You don't even have to be crazy about musicals to appreciate it.
on June 6, 2005
Having seen the stage show in Toronto several times, I found myself hoping a film would be made that managed to capture the romance, excitement and drama of that excellent production. It was, therefore, with great anticipation that I watched this movie for the first time. To my delight, it met and even surpassed my highest expectations. The casting was inspired, and the producers managed to make the transition from theatre to big screen flawlessly, adding just minor embellishments that only enhanced the story.
I suppose some might say that the voice of Gerard Butler as the Phantom may not be quite as polished as those before him, but it has a raw, sensual edge to it that exudes all the passion and longing of that tortured soul. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I am adding the soundtrack to the Toronto cast recording CD that is already in my collection.
As I watched the DVD, excitement began to course through me, and I realized that half way through I was feeling the same emotions that I had in Toronto, once again thinking "I can hardly wait to come back." Indeed, I have come back many times since, and if I don't eventually wear out the DVD it won't be for trying.
I LOVE this movie!
Sumptuous, rich, lush and inviting. Like a gilt-edged dream, Joel Schumacher's "Phantom of the Opera" is a triumphant love note to beauty, song and scenery.
Adapted from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical (and Gaston Leroux's novel), this movie ends up being beautiful in every scene, with solid acting and and a tragic antihero. The singing, the sumptuous sets, the acting -- all are the ingredients of a musical tour de force.
In 1870, a Paris opera house is under new management -- just as diva Carlotta (Minnie Driver, a glorious diva-from-hell) is almost killed by a stage curtain, and stomps out. Fortunately Christine Daae (Emmy Rossum), taught by a mystery tutor, can take over the soprano's role, and soon becomes famous for her singing. Even better, it catches the attention of her childhood sweetheart, Vicomte Raoul (Patrick Wilson).
But Raoul doesn't realize that Christine was taught by a disfigured, tortured genius who hides under the opera house. And the Phantom of the Opera is not only determined that Christine should be the star, but also be his wife. And he's willing to kill for it. Can Raoul break the Phantom's hold over Christine, or will she embrace "the music of the night"?
Watching this, it's hard to believe that it was directed by the same guy who did "Phone Booth" and the awful "Batman and Robin." Instead it looks as if the love child of Jean Cocteau and Peter Jackson decided to direct a musical, swathed in masks, roses, gilt angels, snow and velvet.
And it all wraps around Webber's solid songs ("Turn your face away from the garish light of day/turn your thoughts away from cold, unfeeling light/and listen to the music of the night!") from the stage musical. Most of the lines are sung, which surprisingly doesn't detract from their believability. And there's plenty of fun with the cameras, whether it's the dizzying views of the backstage, or a zoom through a stone floor to the Phantom's face.
Schumacher also adds a few extra scenes, including a sword fight between Raoul and the Phantom, which makes the vicomte seem more passionate; and a flashback to the Phantom's horrific childhood. What's more, the story is framed by scenes from forty years later -- sepia-toned scenes in the dusty remains of the Opera.
The three most prominent roles are what make or break this movie, and in this case, the casting is nearly ideal. Rossum has the ingenue looks -- and the powerful pipes -- to carry off the role of Christine, torn between her love and her passion. Similarly, Patrick Wilson gives some brains and strength to Raoul, and despite the romantic appeal of the Phantom, Raoul isn't hard to cheer for.
Gerard Butler is a bit more difficult. Most of the time his singing is solid, and his acting is powerful and tragic as the "loathsome gargoyle, who burns in hell, but secretly yearns for heaven." The scene where he tries to seduce Christine is deeply sensual. But occasionally his performance gets really hammy, such as the unmasking, where he flings himself around screaming, "You little prying Pandora! You little demon!"
Lush, exquisite and passionate, "The Phantom of the Opera" is a solid adaptation of Webber's musical, with good acting and excellent direction. A triumph for "the music of the night."
on May 31, 2005
I LOVE this movie so much. I saw it in theatres twice, bought the special edition soundtrack, and now have added this movie to my collection. It is amazing! You probably already know the storyline. Gerard Butler plays the Phantom, Emmy Rossum plays Christine and Patrick Wilson plays Raoul. I think they all did a superb job, I love Gerard Butler as the Phantom. He has an edge to him that makes him a good phantom, and he is a good singer. It is hard to believe that Emmy Rossum was only 16 when she made this movie, she has the voice of an angel! Patrick Wilson plays a good knight on a white horse. In this movie, Raoul has a more prominent role, and actually IS a hero on a white horse. You get more of a sense of why Christine is so torn between these two men. In the play, Raoul wasn't that noticable!
On the second disc, there are some interesting tidbits. There is a history of the Phantom of the Opera itself. It mostly shows the London musical play though, which is disappointing. I admit, I did not watch all of it. There is also a Making Of Phantom of the Opera, the movie, which is really interesting. It's at least half an hour, and talks about all aspects of the movie including the dancing, costumes, sets, props, and actors. That is a really interesting bit. Thirdly there is a additional scene featuring the Phantom. It has Gerard Butler singing a version of "Learn to be Lonely", except personalized for the Phantom. It is an interesting scene, because it shows more of the phantom's lair, and an inside look at his world. It shows his sentimental side :) Also, some people may not have noticed, but below the scene there is another button you can highlight, and if you click it it opens a sing a long. You get the whole backstage crew and some of the cast singing The Phantom of the Opera. It is quite funny to watch!
All in all, this is a great addition to any Phantom Phan's collection. I hope this has been of help!
on March 20, 2016
Opera. I didn't like it.
The story needed more character development.
The Phantom, for example, shunned society and remained in the opera house plus sewer, below it. So, implicit was that he never had schooling. Yet, he was portrayed as a "genius". Why? How?
There were lots of opportunities for people to kill the bad guy (the phantom), but nobody took advantage of them - not even the lead woman as the phantom was acting as though was hanging her fiance. She was totally useless! Scene was one of numerous frustrating ones.
In addition, the girl, was a cheater; she promised to marry one guy, but, soon afterward, got the hots for the phantom - who, he complained, she also betrayed!
So, what was wrong with those guys? I thought the Phantom, at least, was a "genius". Yet, why was he plus another wasting their time, on that girl? Why not choose some one reliable?
As already pointed out, the Phantom lived in sewers, located under the opera house. Yet, they were decorated with large statues plus elaborate candle holders which held hundreds of candles. Why?
Who decorates a sewer? Who lights the candles?
During one scene, some tall candle holders rose up out of the water, with their candles already lit. Yet, how did that happen? Candles won't burn under water. (I know. The action was shown, in reverse, but why!) Also, why build such contraptions, into a sewer?
During a couple of other shots, though, water was pouring, but it made no sound. Why? How? (Seemed odd!)
Somebody built what appeared to be an endless spiral of stairs, under the opera house, but why? It wasn't explained.
Despite the phantom used a hand-powered boat, to get around through the sewer, the water was only about 1 foot deep. The audience learned that when people plus the Phantom walked through it. So, why use the boat? Why not just wear a tall pair of boots?
In one scene, the girl and her boyfriend were standing in the water. Yet, a moment later, they were slowly escaping in the boat. Yet, why, given they were already wet and the water was only about 1 foot deep? Weren't they in a hurry?
People were singing in the sewer. Yes. The sewer - where there was supposed to be a lot of bad smells. Yet the odours didn't seem to bother anyone or interfere with their songs. Implausible!
Several times, the movie showed an old man being driven around town. In one scene, he saw an old woman and she saw him. They looked at each other as his car drove away. I guess they were supposed to be the 2 young lovers, during their later years. Yet, who knows. Such was not clearly explained.
The voices of some of the singers were impressive, but that didn't make up for the stupid and boring stuff.
"The Phantom of the Opera" (2004) is a visually spectacular film which remains loyal to the stage production despite some changes to the characters and story. The set design and costumes are sumptuous and Webber's music is beautiful..
The cast, for the most part is excellent. The standout performer is Emmy Rossum who gives an praise worthy performance as the young soprano Christine Daaé. Although her voice is no match to the others who have played the role on stage such as the sublime Rebecca Caine, Sierra Boggess, Rebecca Luker, Claire Moore to name a few it is still lovely. Her tone is delicate and sweet ("Angel of Music") and at times powerful (the cadenza at the end of "Think of Me") and many times throughout the score, she achieves moments of great vocal beauty (the rooftop scene). She breezes through most of the score effortlessly with a few exceptions (there are moments of strain during the "Think of Me" and during the Phantom's "Point of No Return"). I always keep in mind that she is probably one of the youngest sopranos to ever perform these songs. All the other (stage) Christine's have been at least 10 years older than Miss Rossum and to have someone this young sing these songs is impressive as the score calls for the singer to jump octaves and sing high B's, C's and E's (in this case an E flat). Her physical presence is also worth noting. Physically she is the perfect Christine as her age and look is suited well for the role. Admittedly, I have not read the original novel but I am suspecting Ms. Daaé of Leroux's imagination was close in age to Rossum. If not, she should have been, as it is far more believable to have a young girl, not yet reaching true maturity, succumb to the Phantom's influence.
The title role was given to Gerard Butler who gives a strong dramatic performance but vocally, he is the weakest singer in the bunch. His voice is still competent in parts but many will argue a Phantom with a weak voice is not believable to which they have a point since it is he who teaches Christine how to sing however, like in Rossum's case and since film is a different medium, suspension of disbelief must come into play. If not, the hard-nosed critic will most likely have a difficult time listening to Butler struggle with most of the score. Another distraction that may or will arise is Butler's looks since his Phantom looks more of a Harlequin romance version and not the grotesque creature originally portrayed in the novel or the countless horror films the book inspired. Since this is the musical "Phantom" and not the horror-esque version of the 20's, 40's, 60's and 80's, it works for me. He is not suppose to scare the pants off the audience. If it's scares you want then I suggest you stick with Lon Chaney. Lloyd Weber's Phantom is suppose to seduce the audience and make the audience sympathize with him and Mr. Butler succeeds. Webber himself has stressed in earlier interviews that what attracted him to this piece was the romance, not the hokey horror tale. So while other versions focus on the horror, this one focuses on the romance.
Others in the cast include Patrick Wilson who turns in a solid performance as the love-struck but rather wooden Raoul. His voice is good yet his character remains the least sympathetic despite the film-makers attempt to make him more interesting than his stage counterpart. Minnie Driver's over-the-top but hilarious portrayal of the diva and Christine rival "La Carlotta" is a scene stealer. Driver was the only cast member who did not do her own singing.
Directed by the now infamous-for-putting-nipples-on-Batman-Joel Schumacher, the film is an assault on the senses. The elaborate sets, the glittering costumes, the cinematography are all spectacular and beautiful to behold and Webber's score is gorgeous. Many of Webber's simplest tunes turn out to be his most beautiful works. In the case here, the hauntingly beautiful "Angel of Music" is a standout. This song is repeated throughout the musical and the lovely tune is enhanced by Rossum's delicate soprano and fantastic orchestrations. Other musical highlights include the title track (although many have expressed disappointment in the omission of the last verse), the energetic "Masquerade", the lovely duet "All I Ask of You" (which is spectacular on film) and the Phantom's opera "Don Juan Triumphant" followed by what many call one of Webber's best tunes "Point of No Return".
The film was nominated for "Best Cinematography", "Best Song" and "Best Art Direction" at the 2005 Oscars. Surprisingly, it was not nominated for "Best Costume Design".
The 2 disc DVD contains a making of documentary which is interesting enough, the theatrical trailer and if you do some investigative work, you should discover an Easter egg. The one disc DVD's contain only the trailer as an extra.
For the millions of fans who have not experienced Schumacher's vision of Andrew Lloyd Webbers musical, do not hesitate. It is a glorious production that does the stage show justice despite some cast controversy and narrative changes. It is a remarkable documentation of the show and as a movie musical, it is almost perfect. Musical theatre has never been this spectacular.
on April 17, 2012
I love the Phantom, and since I saw it live a few years ago I thought I would give the film version a chance. So, I bought the bare-bones Full-Screen DVD and watched it. I was very impressed with the visuals, the score (of course) and the effects. But the casting was WAY off. Gerrard Butler is a terrible Phantom. He cannot sing, and I do applaud him for giving the role his best, as it was not his fault he was casted poorly in the role. Emmy Rossum does decent, but I can't help but wonder how someone else may have performed the role better. They really missed the boat with this - none of the original cast made cameo appearances, as seems to be the norm in these types of films. There could have at least been a scene with Michael Crawford & Sarah Brightman, but it was for naught.
This Blu-ray (Which I have just purchased to get a better look at the film) does somewhat renew my interest. The visuals look absolutely stunning in full 1080p HD, and the sound has never been better with the audio track supplied. The real gem here is the documentary, "Behind the Mask" which showcases the history of the stage production. It make for a very interesting view.
All in all, they did quite well with what they had to work with. I think that this could have been a Oscar contender, had it been partially financed by a major studio and have had a few different casting decisions, but, alas, it is what it is. Just a heads up - the blu-ray is, at least for me, in a slim pack case (which I had previously not seen before).
It is the 1870s, and living beneath the Paris Opera House is a mad, disfigured, musical genius known as the Phantom (Gerard Butler). He has been secretly tutoring Christine (Emmy Rossum), an orphaned chorus girl, and arranges for her to replace the unpopular leading lady. Christine is grateful, but when she rekindles her childhood romance with the Opera's patron (Patrick Wilson), the Phantom is outraged and declares war on the couple.
I love the magnificent musical score and opulent sets and wardrobe; the film is a visual masterpiece. The story is, at turns, passionate and poignant, dangerous and tender, and is well-directed. At age 16, Rossum is sweet and innocent and gives a good performance as the conflicted Christine, but I felt the other two leads were miscast. For me, Butler's lisp and overbite are too prominent and distracting (since the rest of his face is covered) and he lacks the power and confidence needed to pull off the role. Wilson's American accent makes it hard to believe he's a French nobleman and I didn't find him appealing at all.
Fans of the show may overlook these quibbles, however, as the production is first-rate in every other way. Minnie Driver's performance as the reigning diva is one of the highlights. If you're looking for lavish production values and a beautiful musical score, you'll enjoy this "Phantom."
The Paris Opera House is being sold to a couple of junk... oops scrap metal dealers. They inherit along with the opera and Opera Company but also an unwanted guest. Yes it is the Opera Ghost or Phantom. The ghost falls in love with a voice and before the story of a love triangle is over we see that genius has turned to madness.
Loosely base on a story written by Gaston Leroux in 1911 "LE Fantôme de l'Opéra" (with many improvements) and more than 10 movie adaptations, "Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera" is brought to film with only scenes and sights and full orchestral music at can only bee seen and heard on film (best in Blu-ray).
As with many movie adoptions this film pails compared to the famous stage productions. Yet is much better than the stage version I watched locally. We also are treated of insights, which even though lack the mystery of stage, from flashbacks to carriage chase scenes.
The costuming and sets are impeccable and spectacular. Of course even for the time Patrick Wilson could stand to have a haircut.
Most of the actors, of course not the stage actors, were well chosen especially Minnie Driver as Carlotta. Emmy Rossum as Christine is cute as a button and could have been a Disney hereon. The only downside is that with all the choices of singers thy chose a lead Gerard Butler as The Phantom who is not a professional singer and you can hear it.
Ignore the fact that you can hear Evita creeping in many of the tunes and prepare to be wrapped in the story.
The Blu-ray DVD has a great back story of the Making of the Phantom that almost rivals the movie.