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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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"The Music of the Night"

  • Dec 23, 2008
Rating:
+5
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 is sometimes absent in stage productions.

Emmys Rossum and Gerard Butler steam up the screen!
Of the cast, the real showstopper is young Emmy Rossum, whose porcelain skin, gorgeous brown eyes, and breathtaking vocals lend an urgency and sympathy to the love-obsessed character of the Phantom, who is played by Gerard Butler. After all, who wouldn't fall in madly love with her? The rest of the excellent cast includes Patrick Wilson as Raoul, Miranda Richardson as Madame Giry, Jennifer Ellison as Meg Giry, and Minnie Driver as Carlotta. All are superb in their respective roles. Many of the songs have been updated slightly to suit the vocal capabilities of the actors, as well as to achieve greater emotional investment with the characters. Every member of the cast does their own singing (or so says the press release), which is astonishing when you consider that most of the actors have never sung professionally before.


Orphaned at age seven, when her famous violinist father passed away, Christine Daae was raised by Madame Giry in the Paris Opera Populaire. From a young age she showed great promise as both a singer and a dancer. The secret to her talents can be partly attributed to a mysterious voice that she's heard since the death of her father. This voice guides her and tutors her with her singing, but little does she suspect that it is the voice of Erik, the Phantom of the Opera. The Phantom lives deep beneath the opera house where he uses his ingenious talents to orchestrates all to ensure Christine's success. But when Christine's childhood friend, the now handsome and dashing Raoul returns and expresses his love for Christine, the Phantom grows jealous and his wrath echoes throughout the Opera Populaire. The Phantom, filled with anger and consumed by possessive passion, kidnaps Christine and takes her to his cavernous underground lair. After unmasking him and revealing a disfigured face, the Phantom lets Christine go. Then he sends a threatening note declaring that Christine should replace Carlotta, an obnoxious prim Donna and the star of the latest opera, but when the new owners of the opera disregard the Phantom's note, he disrupts the performance on opening night. The Phantom kills a stage hand, and sabotages Carlotta's performance, practically destroying her career. Meanwhile Raoul plans to take Christine away from the opera house before misfortune should befall her too, but the Phantom won't allow it. The Phantom sets into action a plan that will guarantee that he and Christine won't be separated... ever. Yet Christine, torn between Raoul and the Phantom, is left to make the decision of a lifetime.

Emmy Rossum rocks my world!
The screenplay, which was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Joel Schumacher, is based upon the musical written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart, and Richard Stilgoe. The musical was inspired by the serial novel written by Gaston Leroux, though much has been changed in order to create a more romantic atmosphere.

Stylistically, The Phantom of the Opera has no equal as the production design is immaculate and unlike anything seen in film before. And as I've mentioned before the lavish costumes, which were designed by Alexandra Byrne, help to set the tone of the film. The lighting and cinematography are also spectacular. In fact, it's hard to find any significant flaws in the film, at least not from a technical standpoint.

The Opera House
My only complaint is that some of the actors have difficulty adapting the acting style of the stage to that of the screen. However, this is a very minor annoyance and the majority of the cast is superb, especially Emmy Rossum as Christine and Gerard Butler as The Phantom. Both should be deeply proud of their impressive work in this film.
Without a doubt, The Phantom of the Opera is a classic.
Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler Emmy Rossum as Christine Daae Gerard Butler as The Phantom Okay, this shot isn't from the movie, so sue me! Soundtrack

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July 11, 2010
I always wanted to see this but never got around to it, sounds like I need to.
July 11, 2010
Yeah, I was genuinely surprised how much I loved it. I'm not ordinarily a fan of musicals, but this isn't a typical musical by any stretch of the imagination.
 
March 04, 2010
I'm not a huge Gerard Butler fan, but your summary of the plot has intrigued me. Nice work!
March 04, 2010
Thanks. I agree, Butler has repeated the same roles over and over. Either he's typecast or he needs a better agent. He was however quite good in this as well as in "Dear Frankie".
 
November 24, 2009
Been many years since I saw this last. I need to re-visit. I didn't know Butler played the Phantom. Nice review.
January 25, 2010
Yeah, who knew King Leonidas could sing? LMAO!
 
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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 …
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 . July 29, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
(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 …
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; …
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About this movie

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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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Details

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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