Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Phantom of the Opera |
Actors: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, Miranda Richardson, Minnie Driver
Director: Joel Schumacher
Genres: Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
Musical Drama based on Andrew Lloyd Webber's celebrated musical phenomenon. The Phantom of the Opera tells the story of a disfigured musical genius (Gerard Butler) who haunts the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera, waging a... more »
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PHANTOM is a solid and spectacular film musical
Hazen B Markoe | St. Paul, MN United States | 12/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many people will look at this film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic musical spectacular, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA with mixed emotions. There are people who will be upset that Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford, who played the original Christine and Phantom respectively, were not allowed to recreate their signature roles. There will also be people who'll be disappointed that this version is not a literal translation of the stage musical. Finally, we have the critics of both Webber and director Joel Schumacher, who have both been accused of wretched excess in previous projects in their individual careers. Taken as a film version however, this PHANTOM stands the test of time, not only as a wonderful musical film, but as one of the more faithful versions of Gaston Laroux's romance/horror novel.
Starting with a black and white prologue, the film tells the story of budding opera star Christine Daae and the two men who fight for her heart: the noble Viscount who she knew in childhood, and the mysterious Phantom of the Paris Opera House who hides his ugliness behind a half-mask while sponsoring Christine's career. Like the stage production, this film is awash in glorious colors and sets that would put many epics to shame. It's well balanced by solid performances that help propel the romantic, if melodramatic, story along.
Gerard Butler makes for a wonderfully dark and obsessive Phantom, while allowing the character to retain the audience's sympathy. Miranda Richardson is solid as the dour Madame Giry, who knows the Phantom's secret. Minnie Driver easily gets the most laughs as the over-bearing diva, Carlotta. (It's interesting to note that Ms. Driver's singing is dubbed in the film proper, while she actually sings the new closing credits melody "Learn to be Lonely.") Patrick Wilson makes for a stalwart, if somewhat bland, Viscount. But the strongest impression is made by the lovely Emmy Rossum. Only in her late teens when filming, she turns in a fantastic performance with a crystal clear voice that does justice to Webber's score. Joel Schumacher does a strong enough job in directing this film, allowing the music and the screenplay that he co-wrote with Webber to shine.
In the end, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is a delightful spectacle that does justice in its own way to both the stage original and Laroux's book. As such, this is a film I highly recommend.
Haunting, romantic and truly memorable............
Marcy Gomez | Kansas City, USA | 02/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You know that a movie works when it follows you long after you've left the movie theater. I saw the Broadway tour of "Phantom of the Opera" a few years ago and it has been my favorite musical since. I love it more than Cats, 42nd Street, West Side Story, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon...you name it. Its romanticism and beautiful songs just blew me away.
I was then somewhat hesitant to see the film version, fearing that it would not live up to my expectations. A little over two hours later and I found myself crying over the Phantom (Gerard Butler) and his love for the young Christine Daae (Emmy Rossum) as she decides between him or the nobleman Raoul (Patrick Wilson).
In short, I love this movie! It was everything I had hoped it to be and more. The story is faithful to the stage version but it also gives the audience a closer look into the lives of the three main characters. The art direction, sets and costumes are resplendent and breath-taking. And the songs are brought to life superbly by the talented cast of young newcomers (Rossum, Wilson) and film veterans (Miranda Richardson, Ciaran Hinds, Simon Callow).
I know many would argue that Michael Crawford was a superb Phantom...that is, except for me. I always felt that Crawford's voice was too high-pitched and not manly enough. To me, Gerard Butler is more effective Phantom. Apart from being incredibly handsome (under that make-up), tall and well built, he also has this rough and raspy voice that is very masculine and full of passion. He IS the Phantom! Emmy Rossum has a hauntingly beautiful voice and has an innocence and sweetness that fits perfectly for Christine. Her voice gives me goosebumps! Patrick Wilson's romantic voice contrasts well with that of the Phantom's. After all, one is supposed to be a nobleman and the romantic hero while the other is dark, mysterious and brooding (like the misunderstood Quasimodo of "Hunchback of the Notre Dame.") But even without the singing, Gerard Butler turns in a memorable and passionate performance as the Phantom and you really do feel for him in the end. If there was one fault to this film, for me, it would be Minnie Driver's Carlotta. She was so over the top that I sometimes found her grating.
All in all, however, I walked out of the theater wanting to see "Phantom of the Opera" again and again (I've now seen it twice and counting). I couldn't get the music out of my head and have since purchased the CD. I can't wait for the dvd to come out so I can watch it over and over. I highly recommend it to fans of the stage version, music lovers and incurable romantics everywhere. And if you loved the songs, be sure to pick up the equally superb soundtrack. This phantom will haunt you long after you've left the movie theater....and I have gladly fallen under its spell. Superb!
Don't let the critics fool you!
Anonymous | 02/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is superb! I really loved the stage musical but this is ten times better...no, a hundred times better. I even had people who said they disliked the stage version comment on how great this film is. I don't understand why the critics are so harsh when the viewers are enjoying it. I should know, I've seen it nine times already...and I'm not the only one.
There are some prominent changes from the stage version, but if you've never seen the stage version this movie is just as enjoyable. Gerard Butler did a phenomenal job. I myself was a little leary of him, knowing he's no Michael Crawford, but now I like him a lot better than Michael Crawford. He makes the Phantom more emotional, powerful, and more easier to sympathize with. Gerard definately deserved an Oscar nod for his role, but that's neither here nor there.
I won't give away any of the surprises of the film, but I will tell you something...you won't be disappointed. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll get mad, you'll feel sad, you'll want to jump for joy, then you'll want to throw things...it's a very emotional piece and not just for women (believe it or not, more men have cried in the theater than women).
This is a must buy! You may even want two copies because you will wear out one of them for sure."
A visual powerhouse and a musical delight for anyone willing
J. Irwin | chesapeake, va | 01/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a qualifier, I am an avid musical theatre fan and classically trained singer. Back in the 80s, I couldn't be bothered with seeing Phantom, partly because I was too busy going to show after show of Les Miserables, but mostly because I couldn't picture Michael Crawford as anything other than Cornelius, the wussy shop boy in Hello Dolly. His voice is nicely trained but his upper register is just simply annoying. I'm sorry to all his fans, but in my musical mind tenor does not equal dark and mysterious and emotionally tortured. The anger expressed by phans over casting the originals is just silly! Who wants to watch a 61-year old lusting after an older teenager? That is not entertainment, that is just gross...anyway, after relentless hounding by my niece, I broke down and took her to NYC to see it. It was wonderfully entertaining and I was glad to have gone.
Ranting over, on with the good stuff. The movie is an absolutely over-the-top, spectacle in everything (AS IT SHOULD BE, FOLKS!) We're dealing with 19th century, gothic romance and a musical score that is closer to opera than not.
Honestly, what else could you expect?
The visual aspects of the movie are rich and sensual and draw the viewer into 19th century Paris. From the opening crack of the auction gavel to the end scenes of phantom disappearing into the emptiness of his life, I found myself ignoring the actors to "let the spectacle astound" me.
The performances were very good with moments of brilliance for some. I'll save the best for last, so...
MIRANDA RICHARDSON-MADAME GIRY-wonderfully mysterious, has great empathy for phantom, yet realizes he must be stopped. Any cast is improved by her presence.
CIARAN HINDS/SIMON CALLOW-MONSIEURS ANDRE/FIRMIN-light comic relief from two veteran actors with good voices.
MINNIE DRIVER-LA CARLOTTA-completely campy and completely hilarious. Eventhough Driver is a trained singer, her singing parts had to be dubbed by a true operatic soprano. The closing credits song is nicely sung by Driver, though. SIDENOTE: I have read some reviews that criticized the dubbed voice of the soprano as overblown and baudy-umm, hello? Carlotta is SUPPOSED to be past her prime and painful to hear-enough already!
Now for the big three:
PATRICK WILSON-RAOUL-Let's face it, the part itself is not exactly meaty but rather insipid. Wilson handles it competently and even ups the hero factor. An accomplished Broadway actor, he has a wonderful lyrical tenor voice, but it does get drowned out at times by the dynamic swells in the orchestrations, a mixing problem, not his. That hair was awful, though!
EMMY ROSSUM-CHRISTINE-In a word, angelic. Again, the critics drive me insane with reviews stating her young voice was not polished enough. DUH!!! She was 17. The storyline clearly implies that Christine is very good, but to excel she needs to return to her teacher. Rossum's upper register did sound a bit pinched in a couple of spots, but the quality in general was pure and open especially during the boat ride to phantom's lair as she is essentially vocalizing on an open "ah" that ends on E above High C-yikes!
Her acting performance was average-it would have been better to see a little more confliction/emotional stress in her facial expressions. The graveyard number was beautiful and poignant-lovely. However, the instant costume change from white dressing gown to black irked me.
GERARD BUTLER-PHANTOM-In a word, sublime! As the critics have said-he's no Michael Crawford-THANK THE GOOD LORD!!! This talented Scot absolutely commands the eye to watch every move he makes. His phantom is emotionally wrecked, sexy, dark, edgy, tragic, soulful and ultimately heartbreaking. As others scoff at the frilly costumes and assume the bared chest shots are purely for female viewers, I feel his vulnerability is made even more apparent by those ruffled shirts which seem to lay wide open his aching heart that waits for someone to take care of it.
Butler's singing performance is quite good for someone with so little training. Yes, a couple upper notes seem shouted and/or strained, but I do not think it detracts from the performance, but rather adds a sense of desperation that he no longer has control over Christine and his efforts to do so are futile. Butler's performance highlight is, without a doubt, Point of No Return; it is simply mesmerizing.
Butler's phantom is raw sensuality and emotion. He could not possibly be more in love with Christine and it is heartbreaking to watch him be denied and ultimately defeated. If you can watch the last 30 minutes without crying, you have a cold, dead heart! Butler is so captivating and convincing that it is inconceivable to me how Christine chooses Raoul over phantom.
Do yourself a favor, get a bottle of good Italian wine, settle in for a couple of hours of shameless romance and let your fantasies unwind through Gerard Butler's phantom."