RRF: My Thoughts on The Phantom of The Opera 1998RoseRedFlower Prologue
The Phantom of the Opera is a book written by Gaston Leroux, in the early 1900’s. The story is about a mysterious being who lives within the walls of the opera house. An angel who teaches a young woman to sing and a twisted love story. It’s a phenomenal story worth reading. It has also been adapted into film. The most popular ones being The Phantom of The Opera 1925 starring Lon Chaney and The Phantom of The Opera musical released in 2004. Many other Phantom of The Opera movies are still afloat. Ones that star Charles Dance, Robert England, Herbert Lom etc.
Dario Argento decides to take on the role himself to create his own phantom movie. I’ve seen plenty of strange phantom movies. I saw one that took place in a rock concert, a mall and even one that took place at the back lot of the old MGM studio. So I’m very open to a new idea.
Thoughts Before The Review
This movie will be a horror genre of the Phantom of The Opera. There was already a movie that was made in 1989 and was also a horror movie. That was the one that starred the talented Robert Englund. He was no stranger to horror, having been the main antagonist in most of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies as Freddy Krueger. So, who would try and compete against that? Julian Sands, he is a good actor as well being in the Killing Fields and Arachnophobia. Plus, he’s with a good director. Dario Argento has created one of my favorite movies Suspiria. Also, I will be discussing spoilers. If you haven’t read the book or seen any movies, turn back. Well, now that things seem to be in set, let’s review.
The Phantom Himself
So most Phantom of the Opera movies have one thing in common. A hideous man hides his face from society but grows to care for a beautiful woman. However, in this movie the execution is off. The Phantom is raised by rats apparently and doesn’t have a hideous face. So you would think he would behave like a rat, correct? You know, he would crawl on all fours, make squeaking noises and smell rotten? That’s not the case. The Phantom who was raised by rats can talk like a human, walk like a human and play the organ. How? He was raised by rats. Did someone teach him? It’s never explained. The Phantom is also not ugly. He has a normal face like everyone else in society. If he has a normal face, why didn’t he just leave? Surely he can find a home better than the underground Opera. The reason why he has no grotesque face is because Julian Sands wouldn’t take the role if he did. There is a simple solution to that, hire a different actor. You don’t make a Norman Bates without his mommy issues, you don’t have Harry Potter without his scar and you certainly shouldn’t make a character not be that character. Confusing motivation, a chunk of the characters identity missing and is one of the worst adaptations of a fictional character.
Christine Daaé is the love interest of two men. The Phantom and Viscount Raoul de Chagny or just Raoul. Christine is supposed to have the singing voice of a heavenly being and is trained by whom she believes to be her ‘Angel of Music’. Her father once promised that when he was in heaven, he would send the Angel of Music to her. The Phantom masquerades as the Angel of Music and teaches her to sing. Eventually, he falls in love with Christine and wants to be with her. However, her heart is with Raoul and not the Phantom, who is named Erik. Christine in this version is very…strange. First, she hears the Phantom of the Opera speaking to her telepathically. Which doesn’t make sense because it’s never addressed as to how he can do that. He just can. Then she growls at Carlotta walking by like she was an animal. That doesn’t make sense either, she’s supposed to be this perfect woman. Why is she suddenly growling at someone? Christine Daaé is played by the directors daughter Asia Argento. So many times in this movie I questioned what was going on the other side of the camera. His daughter, in this movie, is forced to wear a see through dress, be seen in a vision licking her lips seductively and even getting sexually assaulted by the Phantom. Even after The Phantom does that, kidnaps her and kills people, she still loves him? When he’s getting shot at she’s crying and sobbing for him not to leave her. That’s just pathetic, what a miserable character.
Viscount Raoul de Chagny
Andrea Di Stefano plays Viscount Raoul de Chagny. In the books and most movies Raoul is played in a very proud manner. He’s described to be quite a gentlemen and only ever gets upset when he thinks Christine is toying with him when she starts talking about her Angel of Music. However, when Christine is in trouble, he immediately comes to her rescue and won’t rest until his beloved is safe. He and her were both childhood friends who rekindle when she starts performing at the Opera. However, in this movie, his chemistry with Christine isn’t very good. It also doesn’t help that he comes off rather like he’s lusting over Christine rather than actual love. There’s a Turkish Bath scene where everyone gets high and relax. He imagines another woman who is trying to seduce him as Christine lusting over him. So other than being possessive over Christine and lusting over her, he has no character. He’s just there because they needed another scene of Asia doing something perverse while her father is filming. Just a friendly reminder that he made this.
Since this is a horror film, is it scary? It’s pretty good with the gore scenes. When it goes gorey, it looks good. No outdated CGI that will be childish looking in the next few years. However, there are some horror scenes that make no sense. I mentioned how apparently the Phantom can telepathically talk to Christine. Well, if you think they completely bypassed the source material, you haven’t seen anything yet. The rat catcher is setting the mouse trap again after he just killed a rat. Then suddenly, as if his body is moving on his own, his hand goes to the rat trap. His hand gets caught in the trap and he says something about hearing a voice telling him so. So, not only can the Phantom telepathically communicate with anyone but he can control their actions? How? He’s supposed to be a normal human being and was raised by rats. How can he do any of that? Then there are just creepy and disturbing moments. It’s not scary it just makes you cringe in disgust. Like a pedophile and the Phantom having rats go down his pants while fantasizing about Christine. So scares are there but they’re very few and too many gross out scenes to get through.
There's a unique cover of this movie that looks really cool: There's one problem with it thought that's kind of important. There's mask on it. And that's bad because the Phantom never wears a mask. The Phantom never wears one. Whoever try to edit the lip syncing in this movie needs to be fired. It was so poorly edited and you could tell what Asia was singing, wasn’t coming out of her mouth. Why did Dario feel the need to make this movie anyway? He already created a slasher and thriller movie called Opera. It’s so similar to this. A hooded figure killing people in an Opera and he’s obsessed with a woman. Why did he feel the need to make another one? That movie was far better than anything this movie offered.
This movie was a cluster to get through and talk about. I can’t believe this has the same title to a beloved book and musical. Some of the best actors of our time have played these iconic roles and this movie doesn’t even try to be that. Gaston Leroux title in this movie should be erased. The Phantom of the Opera 1989 was far more scarier than this and far more enjoyable. Sure, the time traveling is confusing but that’s the only part I had problems with. The Phantom and Christine have way better chemistry in that movie, Robert Englund can be both creepy and romantic in that movie and everything else just flows better. This movie tries to do certain things and it fails. It tried to be a horror movie and it for the most part failed. It tried to be romantic and it completely backfired. It tried to be mysterious and it failed. It tried to be sad and it totally failed. Actually, I take that part back, it was pretty pathetic. If you called this anything else other than the Phantom of The Opera, the rating for this movie would be a bit higher. It still wouldn’t be good but I wouldn’t hate it as much. I overall recommend you stay away from this movie. Don’t go near it. Ever.
What’s your favorite Phantom of the Opera movie? Or your favorite song? Let me know down below. Thank you for joining me on this pristine journey, I hope to see you soon.
I once again apologize for any misspells. My lazy eye is very bad and I haven't been to the eye doctor yet. - RoseRedFlower