This film is a wonderful adaptation of the stage musical. All to often with Lloyd Weber musicals, (Cats, Jeeves, Joseph), all we get is a film of the stage show - but this time we get a truly epic film musical that retains all the magic of the original stage version whilst adding some much depth and detail. The casting is perfect - and it's hard to believe that the fabulous setting ISN'T the real Paris Opera House, but lavishly constructed sets.
Assuming that most people interested in buying the DVD have already seen the film at there local cinema, I see little point in praising it any further. What you might want to know is: do the DVD extras make it worth buying? My answer is an unreserved YES. The film is fantastic - and the extras are almost all you could wish for.
The extras are divided into two parts: the Film and the Show. The Film extras have the usual 'Making of' documentary ... though this one is fairly comprehensive rather than the standard 30 minute trailer. The documentary covers all aspects of making the film and has plenty of cast interviews. There are also a collection of Production Shorts which include some footage from the making of documentary and expand it in particular areas: music, costumes, effects, etc. These are less interesting, and the one about making the chandelier is little more than a 15 minute commercial for Swarovski Crystal. There are a few other lesser extras including some nice stills.
The 'Show' section has perhaps the best of the documentaries detailing the history of the Phantom of the Opera from its earliest inspiration to the final show. This is a very lengthy documentary which will easily stand up to repeat viewing - and has some fantastic interviews giving considerable insight into the creative process. It also shows many short segments from the stage show (major pivotal scenes) - which allows for some interesting comparisons between the two genres. Furthermore, you even get to see some of the privately shot footage of the prototype phantom show filmed at Lloyd Weber's home several months before its theatrical debut. The Show extras also include the early 'pop' videos of some of the major songs featuring Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford.
In short: Highly recommended. A fantastic film that, for once, has some really worthwhile extras that greatly ADD to the viewers' overall enjoyment of the whole experience, rather than thinly spreading it a little further!
on 28 July 2005
Like many others I have seen the London stage version of the Phantom of the Opera and with various casts from Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman onwards and I love the show. I also love the film but those expecting an exact reproduction will be disappointed.
The film works fantastically well but inevitably has a different perspective because Joel Schumacher is not Harold Prince and this is not the stage. Schumacher, as he says, has chosen to heighten the romantic and sexual elements of Christine's relationship with the Phantom and chosen a much younger cast to portray the principals.
Emmy Rossum is a delightful Christine and whilst her voice is not up to Sarah Brightman's exquisite soprano, she sings charmingly and is actually a much better actress, which benefits the film enormously.
Despite the sword fight I still find Raoul a wet lettuce and nowhere does he appear to more disadvantaged than in the final scene in the Phantom's lair.
This is partly the weakness of the part as it is written but also due to the mesmerising performance of Gerry Butler as the Phantom - anyone would suffer in comparison. He is a stunning Phantom and you would need a heart of stone not to shed a tear for him. The fact that he is also drop-dead gorgeous did not hurt either although this can make it difficult to understand why Christine would be daft enough to choose Raoul, especially after Gerry Butler scorches the screen with this version of Point of No Return. This physical attraction is clearly intended with the open shirts and tight trousers showing off a physique to die for.
They did try to counter balance this with the murder of Buquet, much more chilling and violent than the stage version but I think most women will have forgotten this by the end of the last sequence of the film and would make a totally different choice to Christine - the Phantom is undeniably physically the more attractive of the two, as well the more interesting character. This does, therefore, make for a different story to the stage, where you feel sorry for the Phantom but he really is hideous and you don't end up fancying him like mad. Different is not, in my view, inferior.
All the music is there as we know and love it and well sung by everyone. There have been some criticisms of Gerry Butler in comparison with Michael Crawford. Well all I can say is that those who make these criticisms must be very big Michael Crawford fans if they think that he is a natural singer. I too am a Michael Crawford fan but not blinkered - like Gerry Butler he had to train hard for the role and you can certainly hear the effort occasionally on the original cast album. Gerry Butler has a great edge to his voice and he hits all the notes and when you put this together with the superlative acting performance I actually cannot think of anyone who would have done it better.
So I think if you liked the stage version of the Phantom and are prepared for this to be similar but not the same you will love this film, although I have to admit that it is probably a film that will appeal much more strongly to women than men - yes I am female.
The extras on Disc 2 are also well worth a look - watch out for the hidden extras (and they are well hidden) of the Phantom singing 'No-one would listen' and the highly amusing version of the cast and crew putting their own spin on the title song - this really shows how few people can sing. For me this is a film I will watch again and again, a great version of a show that I have loved for almost 20 years.
on 1 May 2005
Emmy Rossum stars as Christine Daae, a young dancer with the Opera Populaire in Paris. She has been having her voice trained by the mysterious 'Angel of Music' so when the Diva, Carlotta (brilliantly portrayed by Minnie Driver) storms out, Christine is propelled into the lead role of the opera house's latest production.
What Christine doesn't realise is that her angel of music is also the infamous Phantom and that he is obsessed with her. As Christine falls in love with her childhood sweetheart, Raoul de Chagny (Patrick Wilson), the phantom becomes increasingly unbalanced and determined to possess the young singer no matter what.
Joel Schumacher's glossy production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's best loved musical stars, for the most part, a relatively unknown cast, but that doesn't detract in any way from the quality of the film. Rossum was only 17 when this was filmed but she brings a remarkable maturity to her role and she has an incredibly good voice. Gerard Butler, who plays the phantom, doesn't have such a strong voice, but, thanks in the main to his sympathetic and sensitive portrayal of the tortured creature, he pulls it off. A real surprise was Jennifer Ellison (better known to British viewers as the young soap star from 'Brookside') who plays Meg, Christine's best friend. In this role, Ellison shows she can not only act but can sing very well too. Minnie Driver, cast as the spoiled, conceited Carlotta, injects humour and exuberance into her role. She is the only cast member who doesn't perform her own songs but you cannot tell this when watching the film.
As would be expected from such a production, the cinematography is outstanding, the costumes are sumptuous and the sets are marvellous. This DVD is presented over 2 discs. Disc 1 is the movie while disc 2 has a wealth of extras such as 'Behind the Mask; the story of Phantom of the Opera', various featurettes and several music videos taken from stage versions of the musical. For those willing to search, there are also some hidden extras; I have found 4 so far. Hours of entertainment to lose yourself in....brilliant.
on 15 June 2006
I bought this after seeing it dead cheap somewhere, fully expecting it to be a slightly cheesier version of Moulin Rouge. With opera. What a surprise I got.
Normally not a huge musicals fan (bit of a metalhead on the quiet), this film had me totally entranced all the way through. Even though I'd read the book (well worth it) but not seen the production, the colour and energy of the film was truly dazzling.
The only problem was, the Phantom was too gorgeous. Seriously. By the end, even though he's a bit evil and all, you can't help but fall in lurve with him, which sort of detracts from the solemnity of the end. And it made me thoroughly depressed because there's a real lack of hunky disfigured singing recluses who are madly in love with me in my life.
The cast are all phenomenal - they all sing incredibly well, but not overpoweringly so, and the story is dead easy to follow. Miranda Richardson is excellent as always, but it is Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler who steal the show.
Get it now - there is a faint whiff of Gorgonzola about it, but it knocks all the other filmified stage productions into a cocked hat. Including Moulin Rouge.
I originally decided to watch this because I was in the middle of revising for my finals and I wanted something to watch which I didn't have to pay full attention to - I thought I could just listen to the music and watch the odd scene whilst skimming through my notes. How wrong I was. Watching this film has reminded me how much I love this show. Since my first viewing I have been unable to get this thing out of my head, and have had to go to London to re-visit the stage production (which, by the by, is utterly fantastic!) Admittedly, the voice of Gerard Butler as the Phantom is not so strong as that of Crawford's incarnation of the character, but I defy anyone who watches this not to bleed utterly for him. The performance is powerful, sensual and captivating - I never really have been able to get my head round why Christine ends up with Raoul when everyone else seems to fall in love with the Phantom! Emmy Rossum looks and sings like an Angel, and Minnie Driver's Carlotta is a hoot! Simon Callow and Ciaran Hinds are delightful as Mesrs Andre and Firmin - I particularly love the 'notes' scene. But, most importantly for me, as it was the breathtaking stageing and scenery which really won my total admiration the first time I saw Phantom on the stage, visually the film is stunning. The opening sequence with the chandalier gave me goosebumps. The film has stayed remarkably faithful to the original, straying only a little to include some back story for the Phantom, which serves to make him even more pitiable and captivating than he already was. All in all, my only recommendation can be to watch this, and if you like it, go and see it on stage, it'll take your breath away.
on 23 May 2005
This dvd arrived on Friday and I watched it that evening. Then I watched it twice on Saturday, and then twice more on Sunday, and intend to have another fix tonight. I just can't get enough of it.
Everything about it is perfect, from the breathtaking set pieces (like 'The Music of the Night' and 'Masquerade', which left me gasping), through the powerfully erotic and sensual ('The Point of No Return', which left me with a pounding heart - wow!), to the tragic and heart-rending ('Madam Giry's Tale/The Fairground' and 'Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again', which left me in tears).
The brave casting of two relatively unknown leads has paid off. Emmy Rossum is too beautiful and talented for words, and Gerard Butler more than makes up for his lack of operatic training with the passion and feeling in his voice and performance. He conveys faultlessly the desire, rage, suppressed passion and deep sadness of one of the greatest tragic anti-heroes ever. The supporting cast, most of them more famous than the leads, are superb without exception.
The sets and costumes are everything I expected, totally lavish and spectacular, the choreography excellent. I can't find anything bad to say about it.
Do yourself a favour and buy it NOW!
on 10 August 2009
I went into this film expecting it to be rather dull, a bit boring and unlively... boy was I wrong! This has some of the best music I have heard in years, with a beautiful thick orchestra which melts your ears. There's certainly never a dull moment! So dramatic and exciting, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time!
The acting I should mention. I thought the person who clearly stood out was Gerard Butler. He went into this film under pressure by fans, and he certainly stood up for the part. His raw yet tender voice is very unique and I think is perfect for the Phantom! Emma Rossum had a sweet, innocence about her which was also right. I like how the Phantom's raw voice was good to enhance her to him! Patrick Wilson I thought was okay, but was a bit plain and not that special.
Overall, the film is a definite favourite and I have on DVD. If you are not a fan of musicals (as I was not before I saw this), I strongly reccommend that you watch this film. Believe me, it may change your views on musicals all together, as it is possibly the best musical of all time!
WOW! WOOHOO! and WOW! again!!!
I have just finished watching this film for the second time and am still just as in awe as I was the first time! I simply HAD to get straight on here and review it!
The majority of the universe probably know the basic plot, but for those of you who do not...
Christine Daae,(Emmy Rossum), is chorusline girl and understudy to the very O.T.T. Diva Carlotta, (Minnie Driver). When Carlotta refuses to sing and stomps off in one of her famous sulks, Christine is yanked centre stage and blows the roof off the opera house! Unknowingly, Christine has been receiving tutorage from the Phantom...she believes it to be the spirit of her dead father, the one she knows as her Angel Of Music.
Said Phantom, (so SEXILY played by Gerard Butler...swoon!), is in actual fact in love with Christine and has plans to make her all his. (Why, oh why can't it be me?!) On seeing his childhood sweetheart perform, the Vicompte Raoul de Chagny,(Patrick Wilson), the new opera house patron, also falls in love with Christine again and begins a new courtship. Thus annoying the hell out of the Phantom.
What you have here is a true tear jerker of a love triangle, (if that is you are as soppy as I!) What is Christine to do? Should she run away with Raoul, (NO! NO! NO! I SAY!) or should she stay with the Phantom in his under ground lair? (YES! YES! YES! I CRY!) Who cares if he has homicidal tendancies and is having one heck of a bad hair day?! NOT I! Just take one look of him in his cloak and mask or THAT red get-up at the masquerade! Mmmmmmmmm...yum yum! Failing that, simply listen to him sing Music Of The Night and I defy ANY woman out there not to wish it were HER bodice he was running his hands over!
Of course it goes without saying that the entire cast are fantastic and almost entirely BRITISH!!! YAY! The only Americans are Emmy Rossum,(Who was only 16 when she made this film although has spent a lot of her time on stage singing her heart out since she was 7!), and Patrick Wilson who is also a trained singer on Broadway.
Standing ovation for Gerard Butler then who admits on the special features that he'd never sung before this role! What an achievement!
Patrick Wilson did an excellent job too, (can he help it if he got the less ...erm... manly role? On the special features, with that awful hair gone, he's actually quite a nice looking bloke. (Still not Gerard Butler though but..hey, mustn't keep on!)
The 2 disc dvd is well worth every penny. The documentaries are very informative with regards to props, sets, casting, music, the stage production...literally everything Phantomesque. (Even the 80's cheese fest music videos with Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford, but you gotta love 'em just the same!)
This a definate keeper as far as I'm concerned and will be playing in my dvd player for many years to come. Do yourselves a favour and just buy it...if you don't like it, chances are someone you know will absolutely LOVE it!
Hope you enjoy it as much as me.
(I'm off now to go and swoon over the dvd case again...there's a GORGEOUS pose in earlier mentioned red attire!)
on 27 July 2005
Well, it was a long wait for Andrew Lloyd Webber's much loved musical, The Phantom of the opera, to make it onto the big screen, but I can confidently say it was worth it. The spectacle and intensity of this lavish, opulent production gives the cinemagoer a musical treat, and I was glued to it throughout. The young unknown cast have a splendid energy and enthusiasm, and even if Emmy Rossum as Christine is not quite Sarah Brightman, she is an enjoyable and perhaps more naive character that is very appealing. You can see why the phantom was so obsessed with her! Gerard Butler steals the show as the sexy, magnetic phantom, and although his singing has been much criticized, I thought he did rather well, and he is a lot more sensual than the original, Michael Crawford, and I loved his Don Juan duet with Christine - heady stuff! Patrick Wilson's bland Raoul left me rather cold; he does have a great voice, though, and he and Rossum did a great job with 'All I ask of you'. Minnie Driver hammed it up beautifully as the diva, and the supporting cast were marvellous.
Going back a second time, I found all sorts of wonderful things I missed first time around, but the sheer opulence and scale of the production and musical reproduction had unbelievable clarity. Its hard to find fault with this great production, at times the editing looked over zealous as we flitted from one face to another, and the camera prowled restlessly around, but I guess the move from theatre to cinema is never an easy one. All in all, this is a most memorable and brave production of Webber's best loved musical.
on 21 February 2005
After seeing Phantom of the Opera many times on stage I went to see this film with much trepidation, thinking that I probably would not like it that much and was sure that it wouldn't live up to the stage production. All I can say is I couldn't be more wrong. I thought it was absolutely wonderful and this DVD is a must for any Phantom fan. I think the casting was excellent and all the performers do a very good job of filling the shoes of the original London Cast performers. Michael Crawford who was a wonderful Phantom would probably be the first to admit that he would have been too old for the role of the Phantom now and so would Sarah Brightman who played the original Christine. Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler do a terrific job and their screen chemistry is great. View it with an open mind. This is a film after all and it is very different from watching it live in a theatre, but nonetheless very enjoyable. It was crying out to be made into a film and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Film has NOT let us Phantom fans down. Buy it - you will not be disappointed.