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Special editions' frills more than just costly excess baggage

Category: Phantom of the Opera News
Article Date: August 26, 2005 | Publication: asahi.com (Japan) | Author: PHILIP BRASOR
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The extras that come with the limited Collector's Edition of the movie version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical ``The Phantom of the Opera'' are so numerous that they extend to two extra discs.

The movie was not a big hit in the United States, but it was a smash in Japan. At least part of its success can be credited to the huge promotional campaign carried out here, much of which is featured in the package.

For those who are curious about the film but aren't about to drop 10,000 yen for three discs, it should be said that director Joel Schumacher succeeds in making a movie out of a work whose worldwide success was based on its reputation for theatrical spectacle.

The costumes and sets are impressively deluxe, and the supporting performances, especially Miranda Richardson as a ballet coach, Simon Callow as a nervous novice theater manager and Minnie Driver as a self-centered prima donna, are first-rate.

The three romantic leads are another story, though their lack of spark can probably be blamed on the fact that they are forced to develop their characters through Lloyd Webber's bombastic and mostly indistinguishable songs.

Lloyd Webber reportedly chose Gerard Butler as the phantom because he thought he sang like a rock star, which makes sense. One can easily imagine Freddie Mercury belting these tunes. Butler serves them better than does Emmy Rossum, who plays the ingenue Christine. Patrick Wilson, the dashing hero, is practically invisible, whether he's singing or not.

* * *

The Japanese success of ``Phantom'' made Butler a minor star here, which is why his 1999 British movie, ``One More Kiss,'' is being released here on DVD.

Butler plays a happily married man who runs a restaurant with his wife. He's visited by his childhood sweetheart, who's just learned she has an inoperable brain tumor and wants to spend her last days with the only man she ever really loved.

``One More Kiss'' avoids most of the cliches of the ``dying-too-young'' genre, opting instead for an intelligent and often funny character study of three people in an awkward situation.

``The Phantom of the Opera.'' 3,990 yen. ``Collector's Edition'' 9,975 yen. Media Factory. Released today.

``One More Kiss'' 3,990 yen. Media Factory. Released today.

 


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