Movie Review: The Phantom of the Opera

I’ve been remiss in not posting a review of the fabulous film The Phantom of the Opera sooner. I’ve discussed the film at length with co-workers and had some time to consider it’s place among 2004’s films now that we’re post-Oscars. I’ve got to tell you, especially the you out there that includes musical haters: this was a truly excellent film.

Seeing Emmy Rossum on last night’s Oscar telecast made me realize that I hadn’t blogged about the movie and I honestly feel bad. This was a film that, to me, improved upon the stature of the source material. My one line review: any asshole can sing Music of the Night; it takes a great cast and director to make the rest of this play seem alive and real.

And you should know that it is with great pain that I refer to Joel Schumacher, the man who ruined the Batman film franchise, as anything more than passable. He actually made me care about Raoul, the Viscount de Chagny. Most, if not all, other adaptations of this work portray him as little more than testosterone incarnate, filled only with jealousy for the Phantom. Here, at least, Raoul seems to genuinely care for Christine and he exudes a certain amount of pity/respect for the Phantom. The overall effect enhances our own feelings for the titular masked lead.

I just can’t say enough about the fact that each song was treated with respect and importance. Maybe the producers sat down with a copy of the Moulin Rouge! DVD for pointers on how to be sincere and funny and original in their presentation of a musical. Whatever they did, it worked. The Phantom of the Opera was wonderful.

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