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Plot: Begins when an opera ghost terrorizes the cast and crew of the French Opera House while tutoring a chorus girl. He finally drives the lead soprano crazy so she and her friend leave. The girl is able to sing lead one night but the soprano doesn't want her show stolen so she comes back. The ghost demands they keep giving his protégé lead roles. Meanwhile, His pupil falls in love with the Vicomte de Chagny, but the Phantom is in love with Christine, his student. The Phantom is outraged by their love and kidnaps Christine to be his eternal bride. Will Raoul, the Vicomte, be able to stop this dastardly plan? Runtime: 143 mins Release Date: 20 Jan 2004
This is what I found myself saying when the end credits started rolling. I have seen the Stage Play 12 times. I have read the Book so may times I can not count it LEaroux AND Kay's books . I will not put spoilers in here. All I'm going to say is go INTO it with an OPEN MIND. Some of the scenes are different from the Stage play. IT IS NOT a shot by shot remake. Bring Kleenex. Your going to need them. Butler plays Phantom with so much Intensity you CAN'T help but love him. I am NOT a fan of Minnie Driver by any means, but I have to say I liked her in this movie, she was even funny <more>
in it. As for Rossum she makes a good Christine. The costumes and the scenery were Beautiful. 2 days after seeing it, and I'm STIL IN AWE.
So, I usually don't qualify my reviews, but this movie is sort of special, and the comments I've read are from all over the map so I feel I should give some idea of where I'm coming from too. I've been an playwrite, actor, and director for years, with work of mine have been doing both domestically and internationally, and having appeared in plays both amateur and professional and every level in between, including a professional opera and many a musical: whenever I watch anything, I approach it on three levels: artist, critic and audience. Also, I grew up seeing shows on <more>
Broadway, both mega-musicals and little indy plays in the Village, and while generally speaking my tastes lean more towards "arty and indy", I do have a broader pallet and it would be more accurate to say that my real interest is piqued by anything that is genuinely good at being what it is- which is one way of describing "Phantom of the Opera." Because yes, it's not as complec and intelligent as the work of Sondheim, or Kander and Ebb, but for what it sets out to be, an enthralling and absorbing Gothic romance a genre that is rarely done well on stage, let alone as a musical , it achieves on every level: the score which is soaring and crashing and large, just like the emotions of the characters who sing it , the design ornate and overwhelming and grand guigol to the hilt , the story which is totally ridiculous on some level, but since gothicism and romance are both genres which celebrate the extremes of our minds and imaginations, this is totally appropriate . "Phantom" is a brilliant example of art where the content and the style of the rendering of that content fit each other to a tea, and while it may not be YOUR cup of tea I sort of feel that anyone who thinks it's crap has basically missed the point or is just sour grapes because the thing is so damn popular and so damn good at being what it is and lets face it, it's hard not to resent a success sometimes . Genius is often ridiculed, especially genius of an unusual nature or in a somewhat unconventional field and Gothic romance, be it novel, film or musical, is looked down on in general, usually for the very qualities that make it interesting and Webber's work is genius, because "Phantom" is, for all its faults, tightly written, a brilliant balance of camp, melodrama, satire and fairy tale, and while the style of music might not work for each listener, it effectively illuminates the story and conveys what is most important about the characters: their titantic albeit, somewhat simple-minded emotions, desires, fears and obsessions.*SPOILERS*The movie, in my opinion, takes what is best about the play and does it even better. Though some of my favorite bits from the stage show the rehearsal of Don Jaun where the piano plays itself, Raoul's part in "Wondering Child" are gone, they have been dropped in favor of brilliant improvements, namely having the chandelier crash at the conclusion of the film it really brings the whole thing full circle , and allowing more glimpses of Paris 1917, finally explaining why it is Raoul returns, what happens to the Phantom, etc. Other good bits that we see now but never saw onstage: an affectionate moment between Meg and Madame Giry, some history of the Phantom, a deeper sense of what Meg may know or not know about the Phantom's presence, the stalking of Josephe Bouquet, the life of the underclass of the opera house, the Hall of Mirrors from the book, etc. Also, the music has been beautifully re-orchestrated, and never sounded better. I'll take orchestra over canned synths, any day, thank you.The cinematography is beautiful and the "opera" moments are well done- complete with the cornball, almost intrusive dancing and vibrant but totally unrealistic sets and costumes that characterized "grand opera" at the time. The sense of constant claustrophobia back stage is great, and adds to that sense of what it was like to live and work in this tiny world where everyone is a performer and half your wardrobe comes from the costume department did anyone else catch that moment where Christine takes her dress from the wardrobe? , adding to the central question at "Phantom's" core- what who is real, and what who is an illusion- and is real preferable to illusion, or vice-vera? The bleedingly bright colors and deep shadows of the movie help echo all of this- reminding us always, this story is not real, hero on white charger and all, but we don't want it to be: it's a legend, it's a fairy tale, it's a farce... it's a masquerade. It's, as the Auctioneer says, "a strange affair." "Phantom" told and acted realistically, totally wouldn't work, so don't ask it to, or judge it that way.The best thing about this movie is the performances, and the director has done a wonderful thing by moving AWAY from Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, both of whom gave role defining performances, neither of which are any more "correct" than any other. The question isn't, are Butler and Rossum as good as their predecessors, but rather do their versions of the characters work, and the answer is: yes. Return to "Phantom" as a text, not as a show with a history, and you'll see that Christine is supposed to be dreamy, lost, emotionally unstable and young, just as Rossum plays and sings the role. Butler, with his harsher singing and deeper range, is much more believable as a madman who is sometimes pathetic and pitable, but still ultimately a deranged egomaniac who lives underground and makes wax statues of the woman he loves. The rest of the cast is equally good, with Minnie Driver giving a heroically hysterical performance, Jennifer Ellison combining strength and curiosity with innocence and a certain grounded quality I've always believed the audience is ultimately supposed to identify with Meg, who is the only character who never panics and maintains a healthy sense of "reality that contrasts nicely with Rossum's morbid dreaminess, and Patrick Wilson doing much more with Raoul than any of the actors I've seen on stage. I wish Simon Callow had had more to do, but such is life- at least he was there. Miranda Richardson continues to prove she can play anything, and conveying more with a look than most actresses can with a full script of dialogue. Her accent is totally brilliant: it sets her apart, makes her glamorous and mysterious, and at the same time, is another sly tongue in cheek reminder that what we are watching should only be believed to a point: it is, after all, just another version of beauty and the beast.
Stunning!!! Magnificent!!! Powerful!!! Beautiful, Sexy, and Tragically Heartbreaking (by LadyBeth10)
I can't believe I waited so long to see this movie. I've never seen the stage play. I lived in L.A. for about 17 years, attended acting school, and performed in some musicals before, but was never that crazy about seeing them, so I really didn't know what to expect. I thought "Chicago" was okay. I went to see it on a whim. But when that chandelier went up and the sweeping transformation happened to the opera house from black and white dusty ruin to a lush landscape of red velvet and gold ornate statues to the equal sweep of that unimaginably beautiful music, I literally <more>
forgot to breathe. Every time I see it I still get goosebumps. You feel that you've just been magically transported to another world. I loved every frame, every note, every performance from the very beginning to the very end. The critics must be crazy. This movie should be up for every award ever made!! I can't stop watching it. I've seen it ten times already and can't wait for the next time. It's definitely now in my top ten of all time. Joel Schumacher, and Andrew Lloyd Webber have created a MASTERPIECE!!!What can I say about the performances that hasn't been said, they were superb. Emmy Rossum was innocent, beautiful, and angelic with a voice to match. Patrick Wilson was perfect as Raoul; handsome, and with a voice as smooth as silk. However, I can't say enough about Gerard Butler. His emotional range is absolutely stunning. Not since Richard Burton or Larry Olivier in Richard III have I seen an actor who can encompass so many different levels on the turn of a dime: Murderous rage; intense sexuality and longing; incredible vulnerability. I can't believe the comments I've seen on his singing. His voice was beautiful, sensuous, and the amazing thing was his singing matched every emotion he was feeling from highest to lowest. In the beginning we see a very confident, strong, domineering individual partial to strangling people when cornered, not the most sympathetic of individuals, who nevertheless shows a sensitivity and sweetness despite all of his extremely fatal faults; that is, in the more than competent hands of Gerard Butler. His performance is so beautifully and deftly drawn that gradually by the end of the film we see what's been behind the mask all along: He's just a lost little boy who never grew up. I also have to comment on the "Point of No Return" number. That has got to be the sexiest scene I've EVER seen. And neither of them lost a stitch of clothing. Well, accept maybe a cape and a mask. But I digress. I'm sorry, but I would have dropped Raoul like a hot potato just to lie in that swan bed and let him sing to me ALLLL day, and ALLLL night, among other things.....use your imagination. So he lived in a sewer and had a little anger management problem. We could have worked through it with a good therapist. I mean this guy gave Christine what every hot blooded woman wants: Total and obedient worship. Am I right girls? Anyway to all you naysayers, I say this movie would have been nothing without him. To tell you the truth I kept wondering, "Who is this guy, where did he come from? So I did what the rest of you do and looked him up on "imdb." I'd seen "Dracula 2000," and "Timeline," but I didn't recognize him at all. Since then I've seen his other film roles, to be honest the films weren't that great, but that's not his fault. You've got to take what you're offered. So I just have to note another of his astonishing talents: I swear he changes with every role. His voice and his face, even his body molds to whatever character he's playing. I cannot believe that he is not up for Best Actor, or that this film is not up for at least ten Oscars. Incidentally, I shall be boycotting them this year, and I urge you to do the same. Compared to this film, the rest is just drivel. Anyway, Mr. Butler is an amazing actor. I'm so glad Mr. Schumacher had the tremendous insight to cast him. I hope now he will get the roles he so richly deserves. I'd pay admission to watch that man walk across the street. I can't believe he'd never had a voice lesson before. I hope he does more recording. I still can't get those songs out of my head, got the CD and still can't stop playing it. To all those spoil sports, GET OVER IT!! This is a MOVIE, it's not the stage play. You must embrace it on it's own turf. And WHAT a movie, I can't wait to purchase the DVD so I can savor it like the finest wine that it is to my hearts content. If you haven't seen it yet, you've missed something extremely special. It's one of the finest and most beautiful films ever made.I have to thank you "imdb," at least we, for once, get a chance to air our opinions. I will never see another movie without consulting my fellow "little people" again. Thank you so much for this opportunity.
Superb Film - but stage to screen comparisons inappropriate. (by derekdaze)
I think some other comments here are harsh, especially towards the performance of Emmy Rossum, who I thought made the film. Her performance visually i.e. expressions etc is mesmerizing. I'm sure a lot of this is down to Joel Schumacher who successfully steers the film away from just putting the stage show on to film, but has actually created something powerful in its own right, so I believe comparisons of the stage show to film are unreasonable.My only niggles are technicalities, the Phantom wears a mask which only goes just above his eyebrows in the Ball scene and shows no deformation <more>
and yet when the normal white mask is removed later the entire left side of his face is deformed. The lip sync hing is often poor, especially in 'Think of Me' which is disappointing, especially in the knowledge that all but Minnie Driver recorded their own singing parts anyway.The Soundtrack has been given a spring clean and it really benefits from it, removing some of the synthesized feel of the original and giving it much more of an orchestral grandeur.All in all, this film really took me by surprise. As I said above Stage to Screen comparisons do feel somewhat inappropriate with this film, but I was never that fussed about Phantom before or after seeing it on Broadway. I can safely say that this film has converted me.
I was able to view this at a special screening and was very impressed. It is a visually stunning movie - the costuming and sets are as extravagant and lavish as the music. Gerard Butler gives a particularly anguishing and sympathetic performance as The Phantom. Emmy Rossum is beautiful portraying Christine and her transformation from a young innocent to a woman who is aware of herself, her sexuality, and the world of love. Patrick Wilson is a particularly dashing, heroic and protective Raoul and Minnie Driver provides hilarious comic relief as Carlotta. I particularly enjoyed the film's <more>
ability to delve deeper into the lives of characters. It provided depth and context and layers to all of the characters that the stage production cannot do. The entire cast was magnificent and I will be hearing the "music of the night" in my head for the next several days. I would definitely recommend it and can't wait to see it again.
So good I've seen it twice!! (by freddievalentine)
Having not seen the musical before, and only being familiar with some of the well know songs I had no preconceptions, but was eager to see the film being a lover of all things musical. From the black and white opening scene I knew it was going to be visually splendid and from the atmosphere created knew I was in for something dramatic. Then the theatre turned to colour and all was sent spinning back in time and the busy backstage frolics of the cast at the Opera House were bought to life. It was not apparent who the leading lady would be for a while until the chorus girl Christine was <more>
encouraged forward to sing replacing the Diva and was transformed from rags to a Cinderella style dress and sang with a pure beautiful voice and made me feel all magical and warm inside especially when she hit that note at the end!! Anyway the film went on and she was re united with her childhood sweetheart who was very charming and although most say wet, I think was very caring and charming any girl wants prince charming on a white horse despite what they say :- There were lots of dream like scenes to follow and the film heightened emotionally all the way to the end, I've heard the song "Wishing you were somehow here again" but never knew its context, but the song and scene merged beautifully together for a very sentimental moment in the film enhanced by the angel statues covered in misty snow and a very Tim Burton moment. The phantom was a mixture of anger/sadness/genius and you could understand why Christine was very weak willed in his presence. I loved it, saw it twice bought the soundtrack and rate it 9 out of 10. Karen Freddies girlfriend and he liked it too!
A great musical spectacular of a scale not seen since the fantastic Chicago a year ago.If you only know the main Phantom theme tune, you will quickly learn to love the other beautiful tunes throughout this film.I had never seen the stage show, nor knew the story before seeing this film, so everything that happened was a surprise including the wonderful ending.Take a tissue or two with you as it's sad...I won't say any more about that.The ONLY thing that slightly annoyed me during the film was that the solo musical numbers were not perfectly in sync to the person singing it and it <more>
spoilt the illusion that the person was actually singing it and not just miming.Nevertheless, one of the best films of the entire year, and I've seen a lot of films! An easy 8/10 vote for me.
Overall and thats all that counts this was a HIT!!!! (by wildmanta)
I'm a huge fan of the musical Phantom of the Opera and feel that, after seeing the stage show twice in London, once on Broadway and once in Toronto that I am equipped enough to offer a fair and balanced review of the movie production. I don't see how people who are unfamiliar with the history of the Phantom story can post such rigid reviews I've even read the unbelievably boring Gaston Leroux book and not even know the ins and outs of the story. Anyhoo, I am at peace with the overall choice of the cast. Simon Callow and Ciaran Hinds are hilarious as the comic relief characters <more>
of Firmin and Andre and even more so, they are actually um-annoying for once due to their limited screen time for anyone who has seen the musical, Lloyd Webber cut the amount of "Notes" numbers there were...good thing he did or I would have gone mad and maybe cut the chandelier myself . I never have been a big fan of Carlotta, but Minnie Driver's performance was astounding and commendable. So what if she didn't sing the role herself...Carlotta's screeching first soprano voice is hard for any trained singer to handle. Her Italian accents are hilarious and she is a star to watch. Her scenes kept me smirking and giggling. Kudos to Carlotta!!! And now we come to the principles. I'll go ahead and admit my prejudices against Raoul. I offer no apologies in calling him "a wimp and a wuss" and sitting in the theaters for the stage show, I've almost wished the Phantom would have strangled HIM and not that fat guy. I just hate Raoul the character, but Patrick Wilson of "Angels in America" really brought out the best in the character and made me reconsider my opinion of Christine's gentle-but-whiny beau. He has a wonderful voice and it reaches its full potential in "All I Ask of You". Some people haven't liked the extra footage of the sword fight between the Phantom and Raoul in the graveyard scene, but I enjoyed it: it really made Raoul more of a fighter and not just some push-over. Alright, now I'm going to get a little negative but if you've really read this far, you must care enough about my opinion to endure a few criticisms about our star of the show. Emmy Rossum should not have been cast. There. I said it. First off, she's way too young to be Christine. The book had the role at 24 years, and Sarah Brightman the original West End Christine was in her late twenties. Emmy is only 18 which I think that Christine's role deserves a bit more maturity, though Emmy is a good actress. I can't say anything against Emmy's voice, because I think its commendable and personally, far better sounding than Sarah Brightman's nasally, whiny air-pipes but that doesn't really serve as an automatic whammy for casting. I was disappointed that Joel Schumacher put such a neurotic emphasis on beating down the ages to make this movie more appealing for young people. Emmy just kind of stood out like a sore thumb and didn't bring Christine to life but just kind of floated between two gorgeous men emotionless and pathetically. And now on the the star of the show, Gerard Butler as the Phantom of the Opera. Yes, this is Butler's first major headliner film. Yes, he doesn't have musical theater training. His deep, baritone voice sends chills down my spine and my girlie hormones where out of control when he sang "Music of the Night" and by the time we got to "The Point of No Return" I felt like just ripping my bra off. A lot of reviewers are bitching because he's too young 34 in real life, I believe and the Phantom is technically supposed to be like in the 50s or 60s Michael Crawford, the original Phantom god, was 42 but this is one exception I will make in Joel Schumacher's quest for the casting fountain of youth. I think that by making his age similar to Raoul's, it creates more of the scenario that the Phantom is just a man, scarred by his past, who is hopelessly in love but confused in how to express it. I actually tried making sense of the whole "angel of music" bit and how I'm left to infer the Phantom is like a fatherly mentor...I have studied the book and find no age details for the Phantom, nor any description of him being some kind of incarnation of her father, and Andrew Lloyd Webber doesn't go into detail in the stage script which I own a copy of so I'm left to deem it acceptable for the Phantom to be young and hot. After all, his face may be scarred, but he has one sexy bod. The whole thing about the shrinking mask is amusing but not harmful to the story. In the early movie versions, the mask covered the whole face like Zorro's. In the musical, it splits right down the Phantom's face. In this movie, it covers his right cheekbone and eye, that's about it. Anyone who complains about that ruining the portrayal of the Phantom needs to quit sucking their thumb and grow up. Gerard Butler's performance of the Phantom really brings out the sensitive, confused lover and not some tyrannical hunchback-of-Notre-Dame character. While Gerard's other movie credits have been a bit dull, I would recommend the 2001 USA film "Attila". Hey, if he can make the Scourge of God into a humble, sympathetic character, why not the Phantom? Kudos to the casting of Gerard Butler and yeah, he's not Michael Crawford...but who is? I think he does an excellent job. Overall, I think this is one of the best movies I've ever seen, and right up there with the highly acclaimed musical itself. Andrew Lloyd Webber has done it again!!
Was expecting to be disappointed with this film as I love the stage production. However, I was very pleasantly surprised! It works very well on screen and Christine and the Phantom are fantastic. The music still sends shivers down your spine. The emotion comes across much better in the film than on stage and none of the dazzling splendor of it being based in a theatre is lost indeed it is added to. If you like the stage production you won't be disappointed. If you've never seen it before it may take a bit of getting used to but enjoyable all the same. Well worth seeing!