2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Nothing psychotherapy and plastic surgery can't fix,
This review is from: The Phantom of the Opera [DVD]  (DVD)
Several years ago, I saw the stage production of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at Her Majesty's Theatre in London. I only remember that the wooden seats were uncomfortably hard, and that I came away thinking "chick story". The cinema seat for this Big Screen version was much friendlier to my couch potato tushy, but it's still a "chick flick" in the same way that FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS was a "guy flick". Of course, I dragged my wife to the latter.
The convenient thing about musicals is that the plots are usually simple, often simplistic. OK, so here we have this guy with a facial deformity, The Phantom (Gerard Butler), who, as a child, escaped from a freak show and took refuge in a palatial Parisian opera house; he's managed to live there his entire life. His living space is in the structure's bowels, replete with guttering candles, slimy hanging stuff, and lots of murky, green water. Nevertheless, he manages an elegant wardrobe, topped off by an anachronistically cheesy mask that covers the half of his face that needs plastic surgery. Psychologically, he has issues. In any case, he's somewhat of a musical genius that composes operas for house presentation. He becomes enthralled with a pretty, young actress, Christine (Emy Rossum), who's managed, on the strength of an absolutely fab singing voice, to supplant the resident diva, Carlotta (Minnie Driver). The Phantom competes for Christine's affections with the establishment's patron, Vicompte Raoul (Patrick Wilson).
Emy Rossum is radiant as Christine, but unconvincing in her romantic attentions to either Raoul or The Phantom, perhaps because she ricochets back and forth between the two for most of the movie. I'd have dumped her for somebody more committed. Minnie Driver is wonderful as the annoying and conceited Carlotta, but then I find all of Driver's film personae annoying; it was inspired casting. Butler was a poor choice for The Phantom; he seemed an inadequate clone of, say, a young Antonio Banderas. Raoul might just as well have been a cardboard cut-out. And at well over two hours, the run time of the film approaches mind-numbing.
But, I'm still awarding FOUR stars and recommending a look-see because the costuming and sets are eye-popping. Why, the candle expense alone would bankrupt a small country. The fact that THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA wasn't nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Costuming is appalling; they wuz robbed. And the music, of course, inspires swooning - especially if you're a chick.