The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Phantom Of The Opera

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Judy Thorburn

Phantom Of The Opera

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

"PHANTOM OF THE OPERA - IS A HAUNTINGLY BEAUTIFUL MUSICAL

Although I never had the opportunity to see Andrew Lloyd Webber’s much acclaimed, award winning staged musical Phantom of the Opera, count me as one of the many fans familiar with the story and music anxious to see the movie adaptation. According to others at my screening who said they saw the stage production, word is that Webber’s film version is loyal to his play. On that note, I now realize why the play is so popular having reached an audience of over 80 million theatergoers in 18 countries around the world, and why it earned over 50 major awards including seven Tony Awards when on Broadway.

Writer/composer Webber’s winning collaboration with film director Joel Schumacher (Phone Booth) results in a hauntingly beautiful film with much to rave about.  From the lavish period set designs to the sweeping camerawork, the stunning costumes, mesmerizing score and the fabulous cast, this film is enthralling from beginning to end. Some of the scenes simply took my breath away.

Loosely based on Gaston Leroux’s novel The Phantom of the Opera, Webber’s operatic musical tells the tragic story of a love that could never be realized between a facially disfigured musical genius that lives in the catacombs of a Paris opera house, and the young beauty, Christine, he mentored in the shadows of the dark. When Christine (Emmy Rossum) and a former childhood friend, Raoul (Patrick Wilson) fall in love, it sets the stage for a dramatic series of events as the result of jealousy and feelings of betrayal.

The story opens in 1919 Paris at an auction inside a run down opera house, where a wheelchair ridden elderly man and woman show some special interest in the chandelier and a music box that has a cymbal playing monkey doll sitting on top. Eventually at the end, we find out the significance of the items.  Flashback to 1870, when the Opera Populaire was in its heyday, and we learn about Christine’s background and how Madame Giry took her in after her father’s death.  Christine is unaware that the unseen force she believed was the Angel of Music who trained her to sing, is also the Phantom of the Opera, a hidden presence who has put a lingering fear into the performers and patrons of the theatre.  Although he had power over the opera house with demands that are met, the obsessive need to possess and control his beautiful muse when she falls for another man, would eventually lead to violence and disaster.

Gerard Butler’s voice does not have the distinctive vocal prowess of Michael Crawford’s, who originated the role of the Phantom on the musical stage. But, he does possess a good voice able to deliver challenging songs such as the beautiful and moving “Music of the Night”, with passion and intensity. Whatever he might lack in vocal magnitude is compensated by his powerful, emotionally riveting, sympathetic portrayal of this tragic figure.  Butler (last seen in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) is charismatic as the troubled Phantom, conveying both a threatening air and amazing sexiness to the character. His scenes alone with Christine (Emmy Rossum) are so sensual and steamy that I wanted to be in her shoes.  Never mind his facial scars.  This guy is hot!

As for Emmy Rossum, she is splendid, evoking a mixture of innocence and strength as Christine. She is a delicate beauty with an angelic voice to match, quite similar to Sarah Brightman’s, Webber’s original Christine and former wife.  And, that says a lot!

The impressive supporting cast includes Minnie Driver, hilarious as Carlotta, the temperamental Italian opera diva, Miranda Richardson as Madame Giry, the ballet mistress who hides the secret to the Phantom and his past, and Patrick Wilson (The Alamo), as Raoul, Christine’s handsome, romantic suitor.

As you can tell, I really, really liked this musical. In fact, I think it is far better than Moulin Rouge or the filmed adaptation of the hit musical Chicago, which, as I see it, was way overrated and didn’t deserve the Best Picture Oscar nod a few years back.  Phantom, the movie, is a cinematic and artistic triumph for Andrew Lloyd Webber and director Schumacher.

I love musicals, and this one fits the bill.  Trust me - the Phantom’s story and music will haunt you for days after leaving the theatre. In this case, that experience is a good thing!