Movie Musical Reviews- #1: Phantom of the Opera (2004)

Well, I decided to create a post series so I can contribute more. I watch a lot of film musicals, so I decided it might be fun to do a post series with that. The first movie I am covering is the trainwreck that is The Phantom of the Opera (2004).

Don't kill me.

So, just putting it out there, I'm not gonna make a big deal out of the fact that this movie was directed by Joel Schumacher. Everyone makes fun of him, and he seems so nice, so I'll cut him some slack on this, especially since not everything here is his fault. With that said, let's start the review.

So, the story of The Phantom of the Opera is that a bitter man deformed at birth known as the Phantom lives in the sewers of the Paris Opera House. A chorus girl lives in the Opera House named Christine DaaƩ. The Phantom tutors her to sing and she begins to overshadow the prima donna of the opera, Carlotta Giudicelli. Christine's former sweetheart Raoul shows up, leading to many things ensuing.

Okay, what are the issues with the story? Well, I've seen a production of the play, so I know what was and wasn't added in. Even so, I don't care if something is changed, but it has to make sense. These changes make no sense. For example, you never see the Phantom at the Opera House because he uses illusions to project his voice. Here, the Phantom is obviously there, so if peripheral vision was used, he could easily be caught. But to be honest, the changes in the first half, and the first half itself, aren't that bad. But once we reach the second half, it gets very cringe inducing. First of all, the Phantom is not deformed. His face just looks like he had an allergic reaction. And considering that the deformity is a big part of the story, this is a huge problem. It makes it look like the Phantom is making a big deal out of nothing and being a bratty child because his face isn't completely perfect. I guess it's similar in the play, but there's also the fact that, if you've seen the prosthetics for it, it would be widely unacceptable in the late 1800s. No one would react negatively to his face in the movie. Another issue is the backstory of the Phantom. While I'm not gonna spoil it, it's, well, stupid, especially considering the deformity of the Phantom. There's also the fact that the Phantom barely has any illusions. You see, they used his illusions to show that he is a genius and is threatening in not only the play, but also the Gaston Leroux novel. Here, we have the sliding mirror, a pointless mirror illusion, and candles. Instead of giving the Phantom more illusions, he gets....a sword fight. Uh, what? This scene in particular makes even more problems, because not only does the Phantom almost die, making him more pathetic than threatening, but it creates a problem later when the Phantom says "the world showed no compassion to me. " Raoul let the Phantom go by Christine's wishes. That's compassion, so....huh?

Anyway, so the story has a bunch of problems. What about the characters? Well, except the Phantom's established childishness, the characters are written fine, it's just that the performances are severely lacking. The Phantom is played by Gerard Butler. Listen, I've never seen anything else with this guy, so I'm not gonna say he is a talentless man. I just don't think this was a good performance by him. He always seems like he is underplaying some of his more dramatic lines, and when it is made dramatic, it's really overdone. There's also his singing, but we'll get to that. Christine is Emmy Rossum. She's not awful, but a lot of times, she seems like she is putting no emotion into her role, and it is extremely distracting. Raoul is portrayed by Patrick Wilson. Well, in the book, Raoul was a pompous brat, and luckily that didn't happen here. In the play, Raoul was honestly pretty boring, and this Raoul kind of is too, but at least he puts emotion into his role without being melodramatic. Now, that's all of the central characters, but there's one other performance I want to talk about, the best thing in the movie, Minnie Driver as Carlotta. This performance was hilarious. She basically did whatever she wanted, and for a character like this, it really works. Unfortunately, she's barely in the movie, so you can't exactly watch it just for her.

On to the visual aspects. Let's talk about the second best thing in the movie, the sets. These sets are gorgeous. The play is kind of limited with what it can do, so this is the only aspect that I could understand people liking more than the play. Everything is very polished and fancy, and the chandelier is especially amazing. The costuming is also great...most of the time. The only time it sucked was in the Masquerade scene. Seriously, taking a colorful scene and giving everyone black and white costumes even though the lyrics talk about so many colors is dumb. Unfortunately, the cinematography isn't that good. In fact, it's really really bad. It feels like the camera can't keep focus on anything. It's constantly moving around to pointless things during a scene, which is especially bad when you should keep focus on one or two characters in a scene. And this got an Oscar nod for cinematography, are you kidding me?

And now, for the music. Oh boy, where do I begin. Okay, let's start with the fact that some of the songs are spoken instead of sung. Why? It sounds stupid when it's spoken. There is no point. There's also the fact that Emmy Rossum sounds all right, but her voice is supposed to be this amazing voice, and it doesn't have the strength for that. And seriously, Minnie Driver got dubbed over because her voice wasn't operatic enough, but Emmy didn't? Weird. Patrick Wilson probably does the best out of everyone. And Gerard Butler....Jesus. Okay, I understand it's his first time singing, and I know he's trying. But still, for a character who is supposed to have extraordinary musical talent, you need someone who sings really well. And I'm sorry, but Gerard Butler just doesn't. Well, at least it's not Pierce Brosnan.

Okay, I know a lot of people really like this movie, and that's fine. Everyone can like what they want to. But I just think this movie was terrible. Sure, the book could be a bit of a slog to get through, and the play didn't always make sense, but what they did right really made them stand out on their own. The film tries to make things make more logical sense, but it just creates more problems than it fixes. You can watch it for the pretty sets and Minnie Driver, but that's really it. Sorry if you like it, but I'm just not a fan.

Overall Score: 3/10


Nice review. Great way to start off your first blog post series. - ModernSpongeBobSucks

Thanks. - Elric-san

Good review - visitor

Thank you. - Elric-san

Great review I really like how you speak your opinion about this movie even though I haven't seen it yet but anyway nice review I might make my own post series too pretty soon - Lpsgirl

Sounds cool. - Elric-san