Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera

Category: Phantom of the Opera Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: January 28, 2005 | Publication: LA Family | Author: Francine Brokaw
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The hit play comes to the silver screen bigger and better than ever. With the incomparable songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber and a mesmerizing story, The Phantom of the Opera is a phenomenal film.

The story is based on Leroux’s novel published in 1911. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway musical version opened in 1988 and has become the second-longest running musical in Broadway history. Selling over 40 million copies, the original cast recording is the biggest selling cast album in history. In 2006, the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas will premier a 90-minute version of the show in a state-of-the-art theater with ground-breaking special effects. The Phantom phenomenon lives on.

Andrew Lloyd Webber says, “Phantom is a very personal piece in my career.” He is pleased with the way it has transferred into a brilliant film. “In the stage musical, we touch on the Phantom’s childhood, but we don’t visually go back in time to explore it as we do in the film.” He goes on to explain about the movie, “While it doesn’t deviate much from the stage material, the film has given it an even deeper emotional center.”

The story focuses on the disfigured phantom (Gerard Butler) who lives in the catacombs of the Paris Opera House. He is a musical genius who has guided and taught a young chorus girl, Christine (Emmy Rossum). When the opera’s diva La Carlotta (Minnie Driver) throws a fit and walks out, Christine is cast in her place and goes on to wow the audience, to the delight of the Phantom. Meanwhile, the theater’s patron, the Vicompte Raoul de Chagny (Patrick Wilson) recognizes Christine as his childhood friend. They reunite and fall in love, to the dismay of the Phantom who also loves Christine. Butler explains, “All the Phantom wants is a companion, someone who understands him, someone to talk to.” He says Christine “has become the sole focus of his life.” She believes he is an angel of music sent by her father. Christine is mesmerized by the phantom.

With a rival for her affections, the Phantom’s genius turns to madness as he plots to undermine the theater and the relationship between Christine and Raoul. The film includes all the well-loved music of the play, along with a new song written by Lloyd Webber specifically for the movie. Along with lyricist Charles Hart, they composed “Learn to Be Lonely” which Minnie Driver sings over the ending credits.

A sound stage can show much more than a theater stage, making the film a more visually stunning version of the play. It took the filmmakers four months to construct the incredible chandelier that hung in their Paris Opera House. The film is both musically and visually stunning. The story, led by the songs, is an opera itself, and the sets are beautiful, taking the audience right into the catacombs and through the opera house.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera is nothing short of brilliant. It runs 2 hours 26 minutes (including credits) and is rated “PG-13” for brief violent images.

It’s not for very young children, but teens and above will enjoy the story, the music and the film.