Saturday, December 25, 2004

Phantasmic Holiday

Okay, I made that word up.
The point is, I recently saw the film version of the "Phantom of the Opera" musical, and though I wasn't going to review it here, an article by a certain ignorant journalist in the local paper angered me into action. Said journalist had never seen the theatrical performance or read the original book, which are not crimes, but turn into such when he blindly critiqued a movie without any sort of background knowledge and graded it a C-.
I can, however, see how the movie might be puzzling to Phantom virgins. The musical is all singing with no dialogue, and the movie follows the musical almost exactly with a couple of spoken lines thrown in here and there. The singing tactic works well in a theatre setting, where the songs draw you down to the stage and into the action, but it seems to distance the audience in a movie theater. More spoken dialogue would have created intimacy, added personality to the characters, and could have been used to provide more background information.
The critic also abused "Phantom" as being a lavish, overblown production. Well, sonny jim, that's how the play is. That's why we like it.
The actress playing Christine (I'm too lazy to look up her name) played an excellent dewy, dreamy innocent. Her soprano was strong and sweet, and though nowhere near as powerful as Sarah B. (the play's original Christine), I liked her voice better (I'm not a big fan of Ms. Brightman, who always sounds like she's trying too hard).
Michael Crawford could have blown this Phantom out of the water singing hogtied with an apple in his mouth, but I think the fellow did a decent job. His voice couldn't compare to the power and sensuality of his predecessor, but ya gotta give him props for a good effort.
The scenery was absolutely gorgeous in every scene, and they used a few really awesome special effects (especially the 'blending' effect in the opening). The outside of the operahouse was all CG, though, and looked rather fake and disproportional. It would have been more at home in "Moulin Rouge."
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I give it a solid B as a film, and based on keeping true to the play, an A-.
So there.

Happy Christmas!

He can molest me any day.

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