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12 reviews, 159 user ratings

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Phantom of the Opera, The (2004)
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by robertrosado

"A rapturous experience."
4 stars

When I was eight years old, my family and I took a train into New York City, and saw an evening performance of a Broadway musical. It was my first time seeing a show, and you could not have found a boy who was as excited as I was. Since then, that particular show has gone on to be one of my favorites of all time. As I got a little bit older, and more interested in the art of cinema, I said to myself: “What a movie it would make.” Almost ten years later, the film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” hits theaters. And it did, indeed, make quite a movie.

The setting is Paris, France. The time is the late 1800s. Christine Daae (Emmy Rossum) is a gifted, young singer who is given the lead role in a opera when the current lead, La Carlotta (Minnie Driver) walks out of rehearsal, due to alleged “technical difficulties”. Daae is a revelation, and is soon stalked by a strange figure, known only as the Opera Ghost. Is this the angel that her late father promised he would send to her? Or is it a madman, bent on using Christine’s talent to his advantage?

Gerard Butler (“Dracula 2000”) is fantastic in the title role. Going in, I was anxious to see how a non-singer would fare in handling one of the more difficult male parts of musical theatre. I was very pleasantly surprised. What he lacks in vocal experience, he more than makes up in passion. Butler’s Phantom is alternatively heartbreaking and threatening, as well as deeply sexual and mesmerizing. He is a tortured character that one feels sympathy for by the end. While Emmy Rossum ("Mystic River") displayed some spark in "The Day After Tomorrow", she gives a somewhat vacuous performance here. She is not bad by any stretch of the imagination, and her singing is nice enough, but there is very little going on behind her eyes. Ironically, she is the sole cast member to receive any awards notice whatsoever. While neither Butler nor Rossum are as good singers as Michael Crawford or Sarah Brightman (the original Broadway stars of the show), they have more charisma than I've ever seen from those two stage stars.

Christine’s lover, Raoul, has the potential to come off as flat, but Patrick Wilson (TV’s “Angels in America”) does what he can with a sketchily written part. Nevertheless, Wilson continues to impress me. He is a smooth tenor, and his performance in HBO's 'Angels in America' deserved an Emmy (you know what I mean). Miranda Richardson is solid as Madame Giry, the woman who may know a thing or two about the mysterious opera ghost. Ciaran Hinds (“Calendar Girls”) and Simon Callow (“No Man’s Land”) are hilarious as the clueless buffoons who run the theatre. Finally, Minnie Driver (“Good Will Hunting”) all but steals the show as Carlotta Guidileci, the opera diva who is constantly vying for attention.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has written many quality musicals before, namely “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “Evita”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “and “Cats”. Webber’s work on “Phantom” is his best. Standouts numbers include “Think of Me”, “All I Ask of You”, “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”, “Music of the Night”, and the exhilarating title song. The production design, courtesy of Anthony Pratt, is among the finest I have ever seen. Every detail, from the candelabras in the Phantom’s lair, to the gargoyle that sits atop the opera house, to the misty cemetery, breathes imagination. Credit must also be given to cinematographer John Mathieson, whose colors are practically tangible. On stage, the musical tends to drag a bit in certain spots, but Terry Rawlings’s fluid editing keeps the pace surprisingly fast, even during the ballads.

Despite his constant critical bashings, I have usually enjoyed Joel Schumacher’s work. His work in “Tigerland” “8MM”, “Veronica Guerin”, and “The Lost Boys” suggested a filmmaker with a sharp visual style and a sensitive touch with actors. Speaking of which, though I am in the minority, I must say that “Batman Forever” is my favorite of the Batman films. Just don’t even get me started on “Batman & Robin”. Certain sequences are borderline brilliant, and some images are unforgettable. Consider the scenes in which the Phantom first lures Christine through the mirror and into his subterranean home, the masquerade ball, and Christine’s visit to her father's grave. The first ten minutes are astounding. It is set after the events in the film, and is shot in the style of the silent era. Suddenly, the opera house magically goes back in time, to reveal its original glory. I don't know who came up with that idea, but it has the power to raise goosebumps.

At the end of the day, “The Phantom of the Opera” is a lavish, no-holds-barred spectacle. The emotions felt are not necessarily subtle, but they register perfectly. The climax and epilogue were especially moving. The final confrontation between The Phantom, Christine, and Raoul packs as much potency as most independent dramas. The stage show was entertaining and all, but I never felt much for the characters, even on the original London cast recording. This was no fault of Webber’s, as his show is as good as anyone could have possibly asked. Maybe it was the actors that I saw at that particular performance. Doesn’t matter. Schumacher’s vision of this popular piece is definitely sufficient enough to solidify its place in musical theatre history. Unfortunately, Rossum's performance and several plot holes are the only things keeping this film from a five-star rating. Who knew that a music box and a rose can induce tears from a person who has seen the show, and listened to the CD for ten years? Certainly not I…

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11360&reviewer=394
originally posted: 12/28/04 10:10:10
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User Comments

10/04/12 keith miron Buy the soundtrack instead ! 2 stars
5/09/11 Stephanie One of my favorites. Beautifully done and sung. Super moving. 5 stars
8/27/09 julie Loved it! Gerard Butler is so sexy! 5 stars
1/15/09 Anonymous. beautiful singing, emmy rossum really shines :] 4 stars
11/29/08 Samantha Pruitt great music, good acting, great visuals, the end was sooo sad! 4 stars
5/06/08 Luci<3 Gerard's way of singing so gutterally and beautiful made a great asset to the Phantom. 5 stars
4/30/08 Lillyshell I have seen this movie several time, I bought the movie. It is great, Music and acting. 5 stars
3/18/08 David Cohen Over-the-top tale of a whiny, murderous extortionist, what's not to like? Everything! 2 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann Remember,this comes from a man who made Jesus & cats sing in Broadway musicals.Be warned!!! 1 stars
10/14/07 fools&#9835;gold O, Webber in all his boringness and out-of-date-dness. 1 stars
9/04/07 shinn so brilliant ,awesome ,unique TO ALL: just understand the movie ,you1l see it!! OK!! 5 stars
8/13/07 Annonomiss Cinematography and lighting were spectacular.Acting overly dramatic.Bursting into song-Ug! 1 stars
8/12/07 Mary Beth Loved this movie! The reviewer is an idiot. 5 stars
8/04/07 TANCP It was alright. Phantom's make up and personality were too weak though. The stage is better 4 stars
6/24/07 R.W. Welch Good yarn and score but overlong and overdone. C+ 3 stars
4/28/07 clare this is the best movie ever, all the critics reviews are stupid. 5 stars
3/10/07 swtangel great movie, excellent music. 4 stars
2/27/07 Stanley Thai One great musical but not many interesting songs. 5 stars
1/15/07 Idina Badly sung, badly acted and TERRIBLY directed. 1 stars
1/09/07 Amanda Everything about the film was outstanding! Loved Every minute of it! 5 stars
1/03/07 sargon I watched this film stoned as fuck and I still realized it was quality, surefire shit. 1 stars
11/26/06 sirina good movie though why fight over her she is so ugly! 4 stars
10/24/06 Anne Well this was my first real exposure to Phantom, and I thought it was easy to understand. 5 stars
10/02/06 Danielle It sucked! They couldn't sing! Read the book it had almost no romance. 1 stars
9/22/06 marni The only problem I had with it is the fact that Emmy Rossum dosen't sing properly. 5 stars
9/01/06 Clare Michaud I thoought that this movie was fabulous the music was unbelievable. I am a huge fan. 5 stars
8/28/06 Griselle The movie was awesome, and the actors did a stupendes job. I'm a really big fan. 5 stars
8/15/06 xxx A beautiful musical! I absoultly loved it! 5 stars
8/13/06 Addi Sad Phantom fan here- liked 2 scenes; hated the off-key singing 2 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist 1st 1/2, exquisite,2nd 1/2, not how he became the phantom;took me out of the film. 2 stars
5/28/06 Ash I found the movie as exciting as the theater shows. 5 stars
5/27/06 kay one of the greatest musicals i've ever seen 5 stars
5/18/06 drydock54321 something a romantic would love 4 stars
5/14/06 Elaine Fulford I've seen this film about 40 times now, and it still appeals to me. My 9 & 4 year olds love 5 stars
5/09/06 sweetgrrl1972 *cringe* This movie is cheesier than cheddar, except not in a good way. 1 stars
4/12/06 Susan I think it is one of my favorite movies of all time. 5 stars
4/06/06 Troy M. Grzych Pretty true to the broadway musical, but drags at times. 4 stars
3/07/06 Katie Beautiful music. Gerald Butler was a great phantom 4 stars
2/10/06 Neil Outstanding...a marvel in its own right...a lush Gothic romance based on famous novel... 5 stars
1/29/06 the laughing man One of the best films I have ever seen. 5 stars
1/12/06 Tiffany Love love love it. The movie does everything that they TRY to do on stage...great job! 5 stars
1/04/06 LRWN An unbelieveably outstanding film! 5 stars
11/12/05 Rebecca Davies It was absolutely beautiful I luved it! 5 stars
10/16/05 E jimenez Gorgeous film. The best musical movie I have ever seen. 5 stars
10/03/05 Paige Emmy is my romotel and the phantom is so hot 5 stars
9/30/05 chang great! 5 stars
9/25/05 Joan R I absolutely loved this film. Gerard Butler made a truly wonderful Phantom. 5 stars
9/17/05 Abbey this was one of the best movies have ever seen 5 stars
9/15/05 Samantha Schaeffer it fucking sucked....just kidding it was awsome 1 stars
9/13/05 ann coloma it's really great and heart-warming 5 stars
9/01/05 Alyse Pilcher the best movie EVER!!!! 5 stars
8/28/05 Emma Dunham Fantastic!! there no amount of words to explain the brilliance of this Film 5 stars
8/05/05 Karleigh I think it is the best movie in the world... I loved it 5 stars
7/15/05 montanya@bellsouth.net loved the show loved the movie more 5 stars
7/05/05 Becky Hamman Absolutely wonderful movie! I love Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, and Patrick Wilson! 5 stars
6/22/05 Lucy This movie was wonderful compared to the Broadway version. Excellent acting and script 5 stars
6/18/05 Tasha EXCELLENT 5 stars
6/07/05 Callie Coulson This movie was great it was so fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/04/05 aryiel superb 5 stars
6/03/05 amanda carpio the new movie is an awesome movie! i enjoyed it and roul is really hot! :) and the phantom 5 stars
5/31/05 Steve Melenwick Silly critics. What did they expect for a movie version. It Satisfies. 3 stars
5/30/05 Carol Price It have been a Better movie if Gerard Butler did only act and not sing 3 stars
5/29/05 Danielle I loved it. The music, the actors, evrything was incredible 5 stars
5/28/05 Suffering Spouse Excruciatingly awful 1 stars
5/26/05 Gunit worst film ever. 1 stars
5/26/05 Jazz Main casts all sucked! Y is everyone whining in this movie? Xpecially Christine n Phantom 1 stars
5/24/05 Candice DeGon Man i take drama for a class and i really loved this movie, it was beautiful! Bravo! 5 stars
5/24/05 Tara Adkins I think the movie was great and I dont think that you guys know what your talking about 5 stars
5/23/05 T.S Beautiful. It took my breath away. Love, excitement, tragety amd sorrow.I loved it. 5 stars
5/23/05 Bradley Love it!! Completely awesome. Everyone even does their own singing cept Carlotta.(Driver) 5 stars
5/16/05 od thrillingly, excruciatingly awesome!!!!!! 5 stars
5/16/05 sofi absolutly amazing! A must see! 5 stars
5/10/05 The Phantom Phreak Gaston Leroux would probably like it--'nuff said. 5 stars
5/09/05 Meggie (Insert Profanity Here) I can't believe what I just read! It was a wonderful film 5 stars
5/08/05 roy butcher a bit of an endurance test 3 stars
5/06/05 Anna I loved the stage play, and parts of the movie are beautiful. Parts. 2 stars
5/05/05 ELI W/e!!!!! I don't care if they can't act. Emmy and Patrick are AWSOME! 4 stars
5/04/05 Arion Smith Butler's Phantom awesome-beautiful voice, wonderfully acted, see it and judge for yourself. 5 stars
5/03/05 Louise its excellent you cold hearted critic 5 stars
5/03/05 Anna Shipper if someone enjoys musicals, this is the film for you + Butler is AWESOME as the Phantom 5 stars
5/02/05 Kristina Williams it DID NOT suck. I've never seen the damn play and I LOVED it. 5 stars
4/25/05 david troop brilliant 4 stars
4/23/05 B Stack The reviewers are blind to a good movie and talented stars. This was an A+ 5 stars
4/21/05 stani my favourite film.The best film of all. 5 stars
4/20/05 Elena Erofeeva No acting at all by the main personages 1 stars
4/19/05 Dolores DiCenzo Boring, awful 1 stars
4/14/05 Sparko Emmy Rossum can't act;she's too ugly 1 stars
3/28/05 Tyrantis Sucked the spirit of the play and the book right out. 1 stars
3/25/05 Denise so good 5 stars
3/22/05 Victoria Ross I enjoyed it, although live was better 4 stars
3/09/05 Fake Name Here Phanaticly adore it. 5 stars
3/06/05 Dani Dani i loved it! best movie ever music was awesome it was so sad but so beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/06/05 Doris Nelson I loved it. Thought it was great. Saw the stage production in Chicago twice 5 stars
3/04/05 Sid Savillo/Novelist/Scriptwriter The Desire for Lust or for the sake of attention was for the Phantom; Raoul has True Love. 5 stars
2/25/05 Brandy I thought it was visually beautiful but a little long-winded. 4 stars
2/21/05 Amber Hammerschmidt Though GBs voice may not be astounding it is good for the role, and his acting was astoundi 5 stars
2/21/05 Racquel It was the BEST MOVIE Gerard Butler gave an Extrordinary Performance!!!!!! 5 stars
2/20/05 Steve Michaud Recommended only for fans of the stage show; others would do well to stay away 3 stars
2/19/05 Zoorah Awesome moving film 5 stars
2/14/05 sarah wade Best musical I've ever seen. Gerard is so georgous. 5 stars
2/14/05 barbara smith I thought the music was absolutely enchanting. the movie itself gave me goosebumps! 5 stars
2/14/05 BrianWilly I liked it, I thought it was great. 5 stars
2/13/05 M Sands you guys who thinks its crap you no nothing about musicals,rouge was awfully pathetic 5 stars
2/12/05 Sylvia Belle great movie 5 stars
2/11/05 Jason I loved it, I've seen it 5 times so far!!! 5 stars
2/09/05 David Bennett High Production values 3 stars
2/08/05 Lisa Jochelson I am a fan of the play, so while the movie wasn't great, it wasn't too bad either. 3 stars
2/07/05 Kristy Edwards This was the best movie! I saw it 5 times, and will buy the movie the day it comes out!!! 5 stars
2/05/05 Dan Carter I dont no why everyone slates this film, its fantastic, best musical film in years 5 stars
2/01/05 Lynde Foy Not my cup of tea 1 stars
1/31/05 Danita Berg I guess you love it or hate it. I loved it. 5 stars
1/31/05 beth LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! 5 stars
1/29/05 Gretchen Lowe Best movie I've seen all year, I cried when it turned to color in the beginning. Great! 5 stars
1/27/05 Heather Charles You get more out of it than the play. It is a wonderful movie. 5 stars
1/25/05 bob The is the greatest movie I have ever seen 5 stars
1/23/05 brittney i absolutely loved this movie! I fell in love with the music and the costumes. 5 stars
1/23/05 Nick Awesome 5 stars
1/22/05 Kim Everything about the movie was magical! It made going to the movies worth going again! 5 stars
1/22/05 jynn i thought the movie had no impact at all.. nice music, but it was empty. 2 stars
1/21/05 Kristina Williams Why are critics ragging this flick? I just saw it twice in a row and LOVED it! 5 stars
1/20/05 Kish Harris Absolutely fantastic. have seen it 4 times. Sets and music sumptious , phantom gorgeous!!!! 5 stars
1/18/05 Maureen Great movie! 5 stars
1/17/05 Kyle Beston I thought it was a total crap but it turned out to be one of the best films i have ever saw 5 stars
1/15/05 Neutrino What's wrong with you people? It's stunning masterpiece!!! Emmy Rossum just an angel. 5 stars
1/13/05 Yellow Best movie I've seen in 2004/05 (so far) 5 stars
1/13/05 Jeanette Myers Excellent Music 4 stars
1/11/05 Stacey Peachfuzz Not even "funny" bad; just plain miserable. Nice high notes, Gerard. [vomit sound] 1 stars
1/10/05 pam If you don't like the music, then don't go see it. I thought it was great. 5 stars
1/09/05 Kathryn Critics are the ones who blow! I've seen it 5 times!!! 5 stars
1/09/05 Lee I totally loved it - from the breathtaking scenery to Butler as Phantom 5 stars
1/08/05 Allison Couldn't be better - love Gerard Butler 5 stars
1/07/05 Mel Better than Chicago. 5 stars
1/06/05 TyrantisTerror If you don't have a good phantom in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, you don't have a good movie. 2 stars
1/06/05 Nessa Fantastic movie! Erik Childress is a dickhead 5 stars
1/06/05 Green Gremlin a great musical is trashed. 2 stars
1/05/05 Naka Oh, hell no. 1 stars
1/05/05 Banzai Overzealous phanatics are nuts. This film is blatantly terrible. 1 stars
1/05/05 Roger Johnson Critics are nuts. The film is fantastic. 5 stars
1/04/05 Kim Anderson not a note of real music in 2 and a quarter hours. 1 stars
1/04/05 Colleen Actually quite good, and i usually dont like film adaptations of musicals. 4 stars
1/04/05 Jim R. Hands down, the most underrated film of the year. 5 stars
1/04/05 TomF Tim Rice had NOTHING to do with this - this is Webber's baby 2 stars
1/04/05 skeweditalian Les Miz can kick POTO's ass any day of the week 1 stars
1/04/05 Cat A film about a Phantom of the Opera that can't SING!!! 1 stars
1/03/05 PLou I was captivated from beginning to end. The artistry & cinematography were awesome. 5 stars
1/03/05 mickey c If you're a fan of the musical - you'll love it! And that's how it should be!!! 5 stars
12/31/04 Alice Ahlers too much of everything except emotion and not enough of that 1 stars
12/30/04 TyrantisTerror The only problem I had with this movie was how the phantom was portrayed. 2 stars
12/27/04 Deanna In Indiana Phan-atics will adore, and we know a good musical 5 stars
12/26/04 charles kaye enjoyed moviemusic and plot 4 stars
12/26/04 Bleh Pure crap. 1 stars
12/25/04 DM A disappointment, but really not all that bad. 3 stars
12/24/04 frank awsome 5 stars
12/24/04 jcjs something lacking for sure 3 stars
12/24/04 chris shoot me... i adored it 5 stars
12/23/04 mike awesome film. Brilliant. Phenominal. 5 stars
12/22/04 Daveman Dreadful, recommended only to Webber die-hards... and you people are weird anyway. 1 stars
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  22-Dec-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 03-May-2005



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