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 t... more »o 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« less
A comic book action hero movie with many Indiana Jones-type moments. Not much re-watch value – everything was predictable – may be good for 10 year olds. But sill better than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
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EXCELLENT ADAPTION OF A TRUE ORIGINAL
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is rare when a movie is so close to the book or comic on which it is based. Even Phantom creator Lee Falk was proud of this baby. Both the portrayal of the characters and the storyline follow closely the 63 year-old newspaper strip on which it is based. Billy Zane IS The Phantom, a character as mysterious as Michael Keaton's Batman, but as much fun to be with as Christopher Reeve's Superman. Treat Williams gives an all out performance as villainous Xandor Drax. And Kristy Swanson is great as tough, smart Diana Palmer, the Phantom's girlfriend. This woman is no stereotypic sceamer like Lois Lane. She gets in her own punches with the bad guys and figures out who the masked hero is on her own. The story has it all--chase scenes, explosions, sword fights, and the search for a mysterious supernatural power. But like the Indiana Jones movies, it's the characters that make the movie. Plus, it's a movie the whole family can enjoy!"
Entertainment the whole family can watch!
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My wife and I saw this movie when it was in the theater. When we left, we regretted we had not taken our then 11-year-old child to see it also. Is it the greatest movie ever made? No, but it doesn't try to be and that's part of the appeal. Unlike the top-heavy Batman and Superman films, The Phantom is a fun, simple movie. It's got a lot of action, very little profanity, and a sex-and-violence level that would be hard-pressed to offend anyone. Billy Zane is terrific as the title character, tongue firmly in-cheek and looking like he's having a great time. Treat Williams chews scenery like a dog gnawing on a bone as the over-the-top villain. And yes, that is Catherine Zeta-Jones as the femme fatale. The action sequences and special effects aren't up to the level of Indiana Jones, but I doubt they were given the budget of an Indiana Jones film considering the source material--a comic book character no one under the age of 21 has ever heard of--but it doesn't really matter. It's a fun movie that stays true to the source material (which explains the purple costume criticized by so many other reviews here). This movie, just like Alec Baldwin's underrated "The Shadow" (another superhero no one under 21 has heard of), is worth a look."
The Phantom is an enjoyable movie, and true to the comics.
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Phantom is an enjoyable movie and true to the comics. The film's setting being in the 1930s really captures that time period, from the costumes to the vehicles. Billy Zane was just excellent in the role of the title character (with real muscles not fake rubber muscle suits like the Batman movies). He brought this classic comic book character to life with great personality, from humour to the serious, making a great superhero. Kristy Swanson (the original "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") plays the Phantom's love interest, Diana Palmer. She was just great in this movie as well, reminding me how underrated this actress is. This movie also stars Catherine Zeta Jones (the sexy lady in 1998's "The Mask of Zorro" film). She didn't have much to do here unfortunately. Treat Williams is the bad guy in this film, who, for some odd reason, portrayed it campy. This movie has some great stunts and action scenes but fails to be an Indiana Jones movie wannabe (ironically written by "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" writer Jeffrey Boam, who's also written "Lethal Weapon 2" and "Lethal Weapon 3"). The film's story could have been much better. Overall though, its still enjoyable to watch. Film director Joe Dante served as one of the executive producers on this movie."
A Wonderful Adventure Tale
K. Fontenot | The Bayou State | 07/06/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It doesn't surprise me that "The Phantom" failed at the box office. It lacked the star power of other films of that time, relied on the name recognition of a hero who isn't as flashy as Batman, Spiderman, or a multitude of other characters, and, honestly, it wasn't summer blockbuster material. Perhaps if it came out in the dead of winter when most studios toss out their artsy flicks hoping for Oscar recognition, it would have done better.
With that said, I have to admit that "The Phantom" is a wonderful flick to watch. Granted, it doesn't have flying heroes or webslingers, but it does have a wonderful story to it in the classic vein of those old 1930's cliffhangers. Billy Zane is game as Kit Walker/Phantom. He has that classic Hollywood look to him that makes him perfect for the role. Kristy Swanson (the original Buffy) does a wonderful job as Diane Palmer, the damsel in not-so-much-distress. Catherine Zeta Jones, James Remar, and the underrated Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa head up a stellar supporting cast. The real "treat" here, however, is Treat Williams as Xander Drax, the evil mastermind behind all of the Phantom's problems in this film. He's completely over the top, delivering smug lines like, "Show me the power!" with enough cinematic flair that you can't help but love his devilish character.
The story involves the search for three skulls: one of bronze, one of jade, and one of gold, that will give their owner ultimate power. Drax, being the power-hungry man that he is, is on the hunt for these three skulls. The only things in his way are the Sang Brotherhood, who are responsible for creating the Phantom many centuries ago, and the Phantom himself. The tale bounces from the lush jungles of Africa (but actually Australia and the backlots of California) to the mean streets of 1930's New York City, and then to the dreaded Devil's Vortex. It's full of swashbuckling, gunplay, high adventure, and a few explosions.
The cinematography is brilliant, capturing the beauty of the Australian locations it was filmed on. The blues and greens fill the TV screen wonderfully, and the vibrant purple of Phantom's suit supplies a wonderful contrast to the deep greens and browns of the jungles.
Overall, there isn't too much that's offensive in this flick for youngsters. The language does get a little bit strong for the younger lot, but if you let your kids watch recent the recent PG-13 hero flicks, I'm sure they can handle this one. There is quite a bit of violence, including a couple of impalings, but all of it is done in a way that is no worse than most other superhero films.
I highly recommend this flick to fans of films like "The Shadow" and "The Rocketeer," as well as most other superhero flicks. It might take awhile to get beyond the VERY purple outfit that our hero wears in this flick, but it's all played out with great intentions and a nod to the classic cliffhangers from long ago."
An unexpected treat
Miss Hater | Kentucky,USA | 08/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this movie just because of Billy Zane. I really didn't expect much else from it. But I found myself really enjoying it. The sets were fantastic.They really captured the 1930's feel.The jungle shots were beautiful.I thought Billy made the perfect Phantom. I only wish they had showed more of the romance between Diana and the Phantom.I really loved that part."