Just saw the movie for Phantom of the Opera last night. Boy, I had to hold back on all the things I wanted to say during the showing. Let me first say that it is not a bad movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Weber's show- in fact, he had a hand in it. The special effects, cinematography, sets, costumes and "look" overall ranged from acceptable (the Phantom was supposed to be more grotesque under that mask, and his "Mask of the Red Death" costume where he busts into the new year's party at the start of Act II was decent, though if you are unfamiliar with "Phantom" you would not have made that connection.) to positively phenomenal (Emmy Rossum and Minnie Driver's gowns and corsets- also Patrick Wilson had the perfect look of Raoul, though I prefer a brunette Raoul to the quasi-"Lestat" Tom Cruise playing Raoul they put on him- c'est la vie).
Gerard Butler looked very good as the Phantom, excellent stance and his portrayal though a touch flawed at times (I'll get into that in a bit), he maintained the "air" as it were, of a classical mad operatic genius. Emmy Rossum. Emmy Rossum. I had a hard time watching her play Christine Daae, as it's a role I have sung a thousand times, (not to mention the entire opera score is permanently burnt into my brain) and I find myself to be very protective of that role. She was not a bad Christine, I can see exactly why Weber chose her: Christine is supposed to be gifted, though seriously naive, trusting, and since the character's father had died when she was young, she is very eager to please men who come off as fatherly. Emmy Rossum personifies these fairly well, however despite her training as an opera singer, she comes off with as much spirit and flair as Disney's "Ariel" in "The Little Mermaid". I wanted so badly for her to have more strenth and at least SOME vibrado in her voice. You'd think if you were singing about a Phantom who sings to you in your head at night, who is taking you down to his "lair" who seems to be your "Strange Angel"- you'd be a little more enthralled- I guess would be the word? She's got this "deer in the headlights" look through the whole movie, some of which is acceptable- Christine is supposed to be a little "dazzled" and naive. But Christine ultimately, is supposed to be a touch stronger- she sort of knows what's going on, but doesn't.
She follows the Phantom as if hypnotized and is supposed to be more torn between her loyalty to her teacher and her childhood friend, Raoul. The Phantom's "spell" as it were, should be shaken a little after he yells at her for taking his mask off, but quickly strengthens again- then finally broken during the ballet scene in which a stage hand Joseph Bouqet is hung from the rafters during the performance. This is where you have "All I Ask of You", after Christine comes clean about the Phantom, her joy and fear. I loved the scene with Gerard Butler and the rose at this point "I gave you my music...." absolutely beautiful! Later in the film during "Don Juan Triumphant" Christine is again supposed to appear hypnotized again, but reveals that "the jig is up" and for once asserts herself against the Phantom and his killings "Have you gorged yourself at last in your lust for blood?" This is supposed to be a poignant scene where Christine "stops playing with dolls" as it were and the Phantom lets loose his true madness, no longer the poor tortured and disfigured genius- but a bonified madman giving Christine the ultimatum between loving him to free Raoul or loving Raoul and sending him to his grave....
Christine needs to be the heroine her for both the Phantom's and Raoul's sake, because only she can diffuse the Phantom and save her lover. I was upset, because Emmy Rossum kept up her "poor man's Julia Roberts" look the whole movie! I don't think she put enough feeling into the scene. Granted it's the movie and not the musical, she should have had more spirit than that- you don't even understand why she opens her heart to the Phantom and kisses him- that and Gerard Butler after the fact isn't very convincing and as urgent as he should have been when he hears the police and the whole of the opera house are after him and tells Raoul to just take Christine and go- all in all, lacking..... :(
I was very pleased with the choral number "Masquerade"- as if any of you have even attempted it, know that it can be hard to get that many people to inunciate and memorize each word and do it WELL. This movie couldn't decide whether it was a musical or a movie and something was lost in the translation. Visually, I think all the actors and actresses were chosen well. Minnie Driver did a much better adaptation of Carlotta than I thought she would, but I think they could have made her look a little older- Carlotta is after all, supposed to be a snobby little Prima Donna who has passed her prime- wrinkles, people! There should have been some wrinkles! Because frankly, if you had put her in Emmy Rossum's costume, she would have looked more like Christine!
Here the Phantom looks a little wet behind the ears- though later after his mask is ripped off again he has white hair, though is face could have looked better-
Mr. Michael Crawford....
The interruption of the party scene- here he should be channeling "The Mask of the Red Death" It was nice, and worked for the stunts later, but below in the musical version it is more time appropriate:
"Mask of the Red Death"
Emmy Rossum as Christine- All the washed out lighting they used in this scene made her look more like a cartoon or some kind of fairy- she also sang the cadenza at the end of "Think of Me" lower than it's supposed to be- isn't she supposed to be trained?
Lisa Vroman as Christine- I don't know anything about Christopher Carl...
Michael Crawford "becoming" the Phantom
I wish I had a could find a photo of Gerard Butler's- but after all was said and done, Michael Crawford was a more disfigured phantom.....the director's wanted Gerard Butler to be a sexy Phantom that the girls would scream for- haha
Wow, I had no idea that "review" would take up so much space, let a lone time to write! Thoughts? Ideas? Ramblings of your own? Do you agree or disagree? If so, why?