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 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.
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!
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 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.
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 9 November 2005
Having bought the re-release of 'The Phantom of the Opera' on this boxset, it is better than just the normal DVD on its own!
Even though you get the original 2 disc DVD as from before, you can now get both a double disc soundtrack and photo/postcards of stills from the magnificent film!
Plus a beautiful box to house everything in and the all 4 discs come presented in another beautiful second case within with a few images from the film adorning the front and inside!
A true treat for 'phans' and for those who are buying the film on DVD for the first time and all at a great price, much cheaper than buying everything individually!
A truely great purchase for the DVD collection!
on 21 February 2005
I would like to say how much i enjoyed this film version, i have seen it twice now and on both occasions i took different sets of friends from 20 - 40yrs + and we all came out having had a great time. We had all seen the stage production and still thought that however much we loved the show - this film was so much better!
Everyone one of us thought that Gerard Butler was the most sexy, charismatic Phantom we could have hoped for and thought that his portrayal of the Phantom made him more human and less of a 'monster' - unlike other 'horror' versions of the story. For those people who question Butler's singing talent, i would like to say how wrong they are. He brings much more passion to the phantoms voice and makes him seem more masculine, and brooding. He gives his versions of the song an edge which expresses to the audience the depth of emotion that he feels, (hurt, anger, passion)and the scenes with Emmy Rossum (Christine)were full of sexual tension, and her relationship with Raoul (Patrick Wilson)was tender and caring - a great contrast - whose of you who are romantics at heart will love it.
The film made this the love story that we all hoped it would be and allowed the audience to see more of the characters and the emotions they go through. The cast, choreography, and sets were fantastic, it made the film a stunning visual masterpiece as well as a musical triumph!
on 3 April 2005
Quite simply one of the most brilliant movies ever , gerard butler is superb as the troubled phantom and convey's with such power pure raw emotion and has a brilliant vocal range.
the sets are stunning the costumes are beautiful and the opening scene with the chanderlear is quite simply one of the most stunning openings to a film ever that gave me goosebump's.
this film has practicaly everything you would want from a movie lavish sets , superb perfomences allround , great music , great direction and i would recomend it to anyone . and to all those film reviewers who said it was static , boring and poorly directed and also claimed gerard butler could not sing need a reality check.
on 12 June 2009
I already had the dvd of this but leant it out, and as usual it was never returned. So I ordered it on blu ray thinking well it cant possibly be any better than the dvd.
How wrong could I be? The colours are FAR more amazing, the sound is incredible and the clarity outstanding.
If you are a fan of this film its worth paying that little bit more for the blu ray.