Phantom Of The Opera

Category: Phantom of the Opera Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: January 2, 2005 | Publication: ABC Online (Australia) | Author: Megan Spencer
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Phantom of the Opera
director: Joel Schumacher
country: USA
rated: 3.5/5
review date: 02/01/2005
Phantom Of The Opera
cast: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Miranda Richardson, Minnie Driver, Patrick Wilson

Well done Joel Schumacher, you have finally found your calling. Not as the director of half-cocked, trashy exercises in 'seriousness' such as 8MM (1999), Tigerland (2000) or Phone Booth (2003), but as the man behind the full-blown trashy exercises in musical theatre. Your adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's iconic stage musical The Phantom of the Opera, one of the most celebrated pieces of mainstream pop culture ever, the uber-daggy, hopelessly cheesy stage musical, is the best move - and movie - you've made in years. Thank God! I was losing hope in you post-The Lost Boys...I mean it.

Scottish actor Gerard Butler (Reign Of Fire) plays the disfigured Phantom who haunts not only the Paris Opera but Christine, (The Day After Tomorrow's Emmy Rossum), his protégé and desired partner for life. What a stalker! They, and a cast of good performers including Simon Callow and Miranda Richardson, sing their ode to Gaston Leroux's 1925 novel in just under three hours.

The sworn enemy of the classical music fan, Andrew Lloyd Webber also evokes terror in those utterly sick of the tyranny wrought by his 80s musicals Cats, Starlight Express and the like. As someone who involuntarily suffered through years of Cats and Phantomania (was too young to move out of home), I don't understand how I arrived at the following reaction to the one film I should truly detest.

I don't know what it was about Phantom but I found myself really liking it in spite of my own well-developed Lloyd Webber-phobia. It was so genuine, authentic, in and of itself as a movie, I just couldn't help but admire it, even though it dragged hopelessly in the second half (Phantom fans won't mind a damn).

Or perhaps I'm just a sucker for a drum machine and a ramped up synth, which kicked in in Phantom's soundtrack when the enigmatic and fatally attractive Phantom managed to get Christine onto his boat and into the underground sewer that was his home. Oh my God, what's happening to meeeee?!!!

It can't be the 'so bad it's good factor'. There is something so on-the-money about this thrilling, romantic and beautifully executed 'dag-city' musical that I just couldn't resist it. Mind you, if Michael Crawford was playing the Phantom this would be a very different review.

Phantom fans are going come out of the woodwork for this, I just know it.

And I'm going to lose friends for liking it.

3 ˝ stars