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Phantom of the Opera (2004 movie)

Joel Schumacher's 2004 film adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

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Sensual Feast with Songs for a Beast

  • Jul 29, 2008
(3.5) Going into a musical, one expects to open one's senses. Andrew Lloyd Webber, not quite at the height of his powers, gives us a few reasons to celebrate his musical brought to the screen in Joel Schumacher's rendition of `Phantom of the Opera'.

There are two main interlocking stories, and while they give one another meaning, they sometimes are conflicting to the musical's spirit. In front of the stage, Andre (Simon Cowell) has acquired the Paris Opera House. He must keep everyone happy, particularly his siren voiced prima donna beauty, Madame Giry (Miranda Richardson). She now must compete with her understudy, the equally alluring and talented, Christine (Emmy Rossum). At night, darkness takes over as she is seduced by the mysterious "Phantom" (Gerard Butler). He takes her beyond the underground of the city's sewers to his own lair. However, like the classic story, his love of beauty reaches a vengeful crescendo. The scenes where the two are together are filled with tenderness with Webber's songs truly suited for the occasion. Chills run down one's spine during this element of the movie, but compared to Cats - The Musical (Ultimate Edition), Webber doesn't provide this often enough.

Schumacher's careful shooting is impeccable. The camera turns in a cemetery scene are nearly flawless and the art direction is superb. The focus, lighting, and framing are what all musicals should contain. Besides the accomplished voices of Rossum and Richardson, both leading ladies have a breathtaking beauty. Matched by early performances by Butler and Wilson, the movie provides hunky handsomeness for women as well. There's a lot to look at in this beautiful film.

My main criticism is that some of the best elements are punctured by the main story. We need to see the front of the stage to appreciate the backstage developments, but some of "the show must go on" sentiments and songs go better with `A Chorus Line,' but not here. A comparison with the best musicals, including 'The Sound of Music,' 'Oliver!' 'An American in Paris,' `Amadeus,' and the recent release of 'Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,' all point to a story and song venue that resonate much better throughout.

As a sensual feast, 'Phantom of the Opera' belts the best notes through the opera house; as a vehicle for the best songs and best story execution, the venue falters in places and makes all the atmospherics go flat. I fault no one for their enthusiasm for this film, but the cohesiveness is spotty due to some of it's failings.

A J.P.'s Pick 3.5 *'s=Good-Very Good

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December 14, 2010
nice going, JP!
More Phantom of the Opera (2004 mov... reviews
review by . December 12, 2010
Stephanie's Favourite Movies: The Phantom of the Opera      I dislike Joel Schumacher as a director, mainly because he ruined Batman. However, I liked his grandiose, spectacular take on the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular musical, The Phantom of the Opera.      I don't get all the critical hate for this movie, it's incredibly well done and is plenty romantic. This is also one of two movies that I have cried at in my young …
review by . May 02, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera is a movie very dear to me and I have been a valiant defender of it ever since I first saw the critics consensus. I absolutely adore this movie and if you don't judge the movie based on character or dialogue, then you will as well. I have chosen to embrace this film for the sheer spectacle and grandeur of it all and in my opinion, that is probably the best way to go. The acting is okay, and the story and dialogue were kind of lacking. But screw it, this is the one instance …
review by . December 27, 2011
It is the 1870s, and living beneath a Paris opera house is a mad, disfigured, musical genius known as the Phantom (Gerard Butler). He has been secretly tutoring Christine (Emmy Rossum), an orphaned chorus girl, and arranges for her to replace the unpopular leading lady. Christine is grateful, but when she rekindles her childhood romance with the Opera's patron (Patrick Wilson), the Phantom is outraged and declares war on the couple.      I love the magnificent musical …
review by . July 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Music of the Night
I have seen two play versions of this wonderful Andrew Loyd Weber's masterpiece. The first was back when I was in high school and I saw it in LA. It captured my heart as a beautiful story with exceptional music. I still have the original program too preserved as a wonderful memory. I bought the soundtrack and learned all the words to all the songs. Than along comes the 2004 movie adaptation starring Gerard Butler as the Phantom and Emmy Rossum as Christine and while I saw how beautiful she …
review by . July 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
 To my amazement, this musical was repackaged for film as a stunning piece that I watched over and over again. I've seen the actual musical in New York, with chandelier swinging right overhead, and never thought anyone could put this to screen effectively especially after experiencing it so up close and personal. The disfigured musical genius who's only way of communicating his wishes is through fearful and mysterious "happenings" at the Opera House is excused somewhat in …
review by . December 23, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler
Personally, I've never been a big fan of movie musicals, though there have been a few exceptions. One of those exceptions is Joel Schumacher's marvelous film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. The lavish production perfectly captures the excitement of the stage, while cleverly exploiting the cinematic medium for maximum impact. The film showcases impressive costumes, awesome sets, and an unexpectedly terrific cast, which reenergizes the music with a youthful vitality that …
Quick Tip by . July 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
To my amazement, this musical was repackaged for film as a stunning piece that I watched over and over again. I've seen the actual musical in New York, with chandelier swinging right overhead, and never thought anyone could put this to screen effectively especially after experiencing it so up close and personal. The disfigured musical genius who's only way of communicating his wishes is through fearful and mysterious "happenings" at the Opera House is excused somewhat in most of our minds after …
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Visually stunning movie with strong performances. Gerard Butler showed his acting range by playing a more dramatic character than he is known now for playing.
Quick Tip by . August 25, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Great music, great cast, just great. And could the chemistry between Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler have been any hotter? I don't think so!!!
review by . February 27, 2006
Occasionally, a film is so bad that it rightfully deserves to be panned by audiences and critics alike. At other times, an incredibly well made film is poorly received, a fact that is both shocking and dismaying. Joel Schumacher's "The Phantom of the Opera" falls into the second category. This movie is, in a word, incredible. It's a pure sight and sound musical fantasy, grandiose in scope and delightfully over the top in drama and romance. Rarely have I found myself completely absorbed in a film; …
About the reviewer
John L. Peterson ()
Ranked #99
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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About this movie


Although it's not as bold as Oscar darling Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera continues the resuscitation of the movie musical with a faithful adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's blockbuster stage musical. Emmy Rossum glows in a breakout role as opera ingénue Christine Daae, and if phantom Gerard Butler isn't Rossum's match vocally, he does convey menace and sensuality in such numbers as "The Music of the Night." The most experienced musical theater veteran in the cast, romantic lead Patrick Wilson, sings sweetly but seems wooden. The biggest name in the cast, Minnie Driver, hams it up as diva Carlotta, and she's the only principal whose voice was dubbed (though she does sing the closing-credit number, "Learn to Be Lonely," which is also the only new song).

Director Joel Schumacher, no stranger to visual spectacle, seems to have found a good match in Lloyd Webber's larger-than-life vision of Gaston LeRoux's Gothic horror-romance. His weakness is cuing too many audience-reaction shots and showing too much of the lurking Phantom, but when he calms down and lets Rossum sings "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" alone in a silent graveyard, it's exquisite.

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Director: Joel Schumacher
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
Release Date: December 22, 2004
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Runtime: 2hrs 23min
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
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