*** Official PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Brian W. Ralston, Dec 9, 2004.

  1. Brian W. Ralston

    Brian W. Ralston Supporting Actor

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    Well...I saw a screening of this film a few weeks ago. I work in the industry and this was a private screening for the Society of Composers & Lyricists. Andrew Lloyd Webber was in attendance and held a question and answer session afterwards.

    I have to say. It has been a long time waiting for this popular stage musical to finally hit the big screen. Apparently the rights to the film were held by someone other than Andrew Lloyd Webber back in the 90's. (I remember reading articles about a Phantom of the Opera movie back with the original cast a long time ago and that when Lord Webber and Sarah Brightman's marrage ended, the movie pretty much stopped production as well). Since a movie was not made in a specified period of time, the rights for the film reverted back to Andrew Lloyd Webber and here we are today. That was then, this is now.

    The Film [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] (out of four)

    The film is utterly amazing. For the most part, the film is sung through the entire way as it was on stage, but there are some lines spoken. These were carefully chosen by Webber. Everyone in the film sings their own lyrics except Minnie Driver. She is an accomplished singer in her own right, but just not an operatic soprano. Her singing voice is dubbed with that of Margaret Preece. Ironically, a new song was written for the film by Webber that was to go in the Mascarade scene. In the end, they cut this new song from the film because Webber said it just didn't work. But the decision was made to put the song in over the end title credits. And the person who sings the song on the end credits is none other than Minnie Driver. SO...the only person who was over dubbed in the film, is the singer who is singing on the end title credits. Go figure.

    If PHANTOM does not get an oscar nomination for set design and/or costume design, there is truly something wrong in the world of film. The film is georgious. Visually stunning in every way. I was in awe of how this amazing muscial, which I had seen on stage many times, came to life on the big screen. Don't let the fact that Joel Schumaker directed this film scare you. Webber was in control of a lot of this production and it shows. Schumaker was Webbers choice for director and it seems their collaboration in bringing this story to the big screen has paid off.

    The film is pretty faithful to the stage musical. There is just one section that delves into the history of the Phantom and how he came to be. This is new to Webber's story. Also, interesting to note that according to Webber, about 60% of the songs vocal performances were sung on set, recorded in real time as they acted out the scenes. Only certain spots of the film had to be re-recorded later to get better vocal performances.

    Emmy Rossum's voice and performance as Christine is amazing. Hard to believe she was only 16 when she did this last year. I equally enjoyed Patrick Wilson's performance as Raoul. Minnie Driver is funny as Carlotta...a bit over the top...but funny. The orchestral score is huge since the revised orchestrations and arrangements of Webber's score were recorded with a full symphony orchestra. (There is a 2 CD limited edition Soundtrack of all the music out. I highly recommend you buy that one instead of the 1 CD highlights album).

    There is but one gripe I have with the film and it is a big one unfortunately. Gerard Butler looks and acts a pretty good Phantom...BUT I HATE his singing voice. I just don't like it. It is too "rock and roll" of a voice for the Phantom of the Opera in 1800s Paris, France. At times, his angry Phantom voice sounds like he is screaming. But who am I to second guess the casting of a Phantom when it is supervised by its creator? But, I yerned for the sweet tenor voice of someone like Anthony Warlow (the original stage Phantom in Sydney, Australia) or of course Michael Crawford. But alas...they are too old now, especially with the role of Christine being cast so young.

    If you are looking for a wonderful film to see around the holidays, the PHANTOM OF THE OPERA should definitely be on your list.
     
  2. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    I too saw the film a few weeks ago at a WGA screening. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Joel Schumacher were in attendance and I found them to be very entertaining, as one would expect. Upon listening to them, I warmed up a little to the experience that preceded their talk, namely the film, which I thought was adequate but in no way extraordinary.

    I must confess I've never been a fan of the musical, even though I am a huge fan of the musical genre. In some ways, I was hoping that PHANTOM would one day become a memorable film experience in the hands of a great director. Now, in my opinion, JS is not a great director. He's an adequate craftsman, and that's not an easy thing to be, but he's not a visionary director, and the film reflects that.

    PHANTOM is not a bad movie by any means, and I'm sure that most fans of the musical will probably not be very disappointed. But I found it to be an unimaginative movie, kind of conventional and impersonal, which to me is not at all surprising from JS.

    Perhaps that's what ALW wanted -- a movie that would not distract from his original. At the chat, ALW said he wanted JS to direct the picture since he first saw THE LOST BOYS, which he considered one of the best films he's ever seen. I was rather stunned to hear this and silently prayed that Schumacher wouldn't be Webber's first choice when they get around to making SUNSET BOULEVARD.
     
  3. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    Watched it this afternoon and enjoyed it. Pretty much a straight up adaptation, not a revisioning of the stage show. While it took awhile to get used to the big old close ups of the singers (never could afford really good seats when I went to the stage version), and a somewhat shaky first song from "The Phantom," it turned out an enjoyable experience. I think if you liked the stage show, you'll like the movie. I give it a solid [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of 5[​IMG]
     
  4. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I thought this adaptation from the stage to the cinema for "The Phantom of the Opera" was a little on the long side, clocking in around 140 minutes, I did think the 3rd act was pretty good, but the middle act just sort of sags with an unfocused narrative pushing the story along.

    I disliked Gerard Butler's singing voice as the Phantom, and with the mask on, he reminded me of John Travolta. I also wanted more operatic singing from the Phantom, but Butler's gravelly rock voice wasn't as pleasing to the ear has the rest of the cast. If that was Emmy Rossum's voice, then I'm pretty impressed, very nice, pure voice, pleasing to the ears. Usually I can't stand Minnie Driver, but her hammy/diva-like Carlotta was pretty funny. Patrick Wilson's singing voice was adequate, nothing outstanding, though.

    So, good opening act, slow 2nd act, but the 3rd act is pretty involving.

    I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.
     
  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Phantom of the Opera". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



    Crawdaddy
     
  6. David*P

    David*P Supporting Actor

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    I thought this movie adaptation of the musical was disappointing. I felt that Emmy Rossum was totally the wrong choice for Christine. I didn't like her singing at all. To me it sounded as if she had a stuffed nose the whole time. And Gerard Butler growled out most of his music.

    I felt this movie lacked the magic and heart of the stage musical. Rather than empathizing with the Phantom I felt weirded out by him, like he was a crazed stalker, rather than a man who was truly in love with his student.

    I will say that the costumes were awesome, with the exception of the rather streamlined Mask of the Red Death costume at the Masquerade. And the sets were breathtaking too.

    Overall though I give it a grade of C-.
     
  7. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    Everything but "The Phantom" ---- 8.5
    Including The Phantom ---- 6.0

    "If that was Emmy Rossum's voice"

    Emmy Rossum has been training as a singer since she was 7.

    Brent
     
  8. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    Probably one of the three best films I've seen all year. I was expecting to hate Gerard Butler's voice, but I found it pleasant, and not all that dissimiliar to the other Phantom voices I've grown used to over the years. His Phantom was sexy yet threatening; he did very well in the part. Emmy Rossum is sparkling as Christine, with enough beauty, charisma and poise to make anyone fall in love with her. The supporting cast is enchanting, the sets are exquisite, and the music is glorious(if you like Andrew Lloyd Webber, and I do). This film completely surpassed my expectations.

    I saw it digitally projected, and the picture had real depth; the color was perfection. And what a glorious soundmix! I can't wait for the DVD. Joel Schumacher has redeemed himself.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  9. MikeGee

    MikeGee Second Unit

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    i've heard some horrible reviews of this movie.. i've seen the opera before and it was awesome. The new movie being directed by ALW surprised me that it got such low ratings by some critics... i thought it was well done.
     
  10. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    My review in one sentence:

    The best movie of 1983.
     
  11. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    Not sure what Ernest is getting at (just dense, I suppose)

    But I went to see a screening of Phantom today and, having previously enjoyed the Opera, hoped for that kind of magic on screen.

    While Phantom gets many of the technical merits in staging right, it lacks a lot of the heart that the stage prescence provides, and often feels forced rather then involving.

    What Phantom fails to do is really get across the "small" things, the minor moments that help sell the musical, and instead, it goes silent in those areas and the acting seems cold.

    This is a film that had a lot of promise, but as an almost scene-for-scene recapture of the stageshow, it pales in comparison to it's counterpart and never really gets off the ground.

    There are some great moments, but not enough to make it a great film. This is one of those films where maybe they should have just said "leave it the way it is" instead of undertaking a film version.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] 1/2 : [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  12. David Williams

    David Williams Cinematographer

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    My simple review:

    It exceeded my rather high expectations completely. The only thing I would have changed is the rather jolting Vogue moves from the lead male dancer in the Masquerade sequence. The opening scenes of the movie gave me giddy goosebumps and it's my sincere hope that this film will win Best Picture come Oscar night.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  13. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Joel Schumacher’s Phantom Of The Opera is a very faithful adaptation to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical. In fact, it is too faithful. That may or may not work for some. Certainly, those who are looking for a re-imagination by Schumacher of the stage musical will find very little new added to the operetta stage version.

    Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom Of The Opera is currently enjoying its 16th year on the Great White Way after premiering on January 26, 1988. Schumacher’s version works well on its own but with two glaring problems, at least from my point of view. Emmy Rossum and Patrick Wilson are both strong as Christine and Raoul, respectively.

    Gerard Butler, on the other hand, as the Phantom, is another matter. He just does not have the vocal presence required of the role. He has problems hitting the high notes. He shouts and ends them very abruptly. While others may say this is his own interpretation of the music that is really more of an excuse rather than a reason to compensate for his non-accomplished singing. But the biggest mistake of all is casting Minnie Driver as Carlotta, the operatic soprano singer. This is worse than the Milli Vanilli fiasco of the early 1990’s. I’m not really sure what Schumacher and Webber were trying to achieve by casting her in this role. Certainly, there are other actors other than Ms. Driver who can act and sing the part at the same time. The understudies must have gone on strike.

    Even on Broadway, the musical’s strength has always been its music, staging and costumes. Schumacher replicates these same strengths exactly in that same order.

    However, in the end, Schumacher’s version looks and feels more like a “remake” of the original stage musical. But if the stage version is already as good as it is, what is the point of making a cinematic version other than preserving it on film so that one can hear and watch their favorite songs/segments over and over again or others can experience it without the need to pay today’s top price of a Broadway ticket of $100? It is for this reason that one can say, “Just see the film. It is cheaper.”

    Schumacher is very good in replicating almost every single aspect of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical. However, the theatrical experience of a live orchestra, the atmosphere, and actual performers on stage is simply unmatchable and one that cannot be easily replicated on film.

    ~Edwin
     
  14. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Saw Phantom this evening. The past couple of weeks I have really seen some great films. Finding Neverland 2 times, The Aviator and Elektra [​IMG]

    Phantom Of The Opera is a difficult film for me to review since I'm really not that familiar with it and so I kind of went in as a novice. With that as my disclaimer, I can only say it was ok. The lead actress (Rossum) was spectacular and has tremendous screen presence. I hope we see more of her in the future. Butler was younger than I imagined and his voice was not very good. While most of the songs were beautiful and moving, his voice really took me out of the film many times.

    The sets were pretty good and the story was told well.

    But in the end I just didn't have much warmth for it. Didn't hate it, just didn't woo me like I had hoped.


    I give it a generous
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  15. JasonB

    JasonB Agent

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    I've seen the musical production several times and it's one of my all-time favorites.

    That being said here's a brief synopsis of my thoughts from my experience:

    Opening scene:

    OMG, jaw hits the floor. I absolutely loved how they handled the raising of the chandelier and "removing" the age of the theater. I loved the camera flybys as the cast hurridly gets ready and the famous song blares throughout the new THX certified theater (Century Theaters Cedar Hills Crossing 16--highly recommended!).

    Hey is that Minnie Driver?? Yeah it's her. But there's no way that is her voice.

    Christine sings:

    Wow--I'm VERY impressed! This is gonna be great! She has a great voice and while it isn't Sarah Brightman it's good enough for me.

    Raul sings:

    Not bad either! Looks the part for sure and at least his voice won't be a distraction.

    OK, the Phantom is coming up....here's his first appearance.

    OMG. What the hell was that??????????????????????



    Ugh. The movie has fallen from potentially being one of my all-time favorites and been reduced to slightly above average mediocrity by this voice.

    So that's it. I did "get used" to the Phantom's singing voice but in the end I found it so lacking. He was totally outclassed and while I wasn't expecting (hoping, yes) for a performance equal of Crawford I was expecting a strong performance. I found it seriously lacking. It's as if they hit a grand slam with Christine but struck out looking with the Phantom.

    Now it didn't completely take me out of the film and in the end, I still really liked this film and would recommend it to anyone. The set and costume design were a marvel to behold. I recommend seeing it and will see it again in the near future but I think about what could have been had they identified a Phantom with stronger vocal abilities.
     
  16. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Reminder: This is the Official REVIEW thread. It's for reviews, not discussion. If you want to comment on someone else's review, or if you want to do anything but post a member review (one per member), go to the Official DISCUSSION thread. Thanks for your cooperation.

    M.
     

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