Films Recently Watched:
Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom Of The Opera (2004) dir. by Joel Schumacher
Though my High School friends and I were obsessed with the music and story of ALW's Phantom, I've still never seen a stage production of this musical. I wore out my "Highlights" cassette tape, borrowed books from the library dealing with the production, I once even started to read the original (1911) novel by Gaston Leroux, though I didn't make it very far before giving it up.
I liked this as a movie. There is definitely something exhilarating about seeing a live performance, but I would hope that those who have seen this live would give the film a chance.
It's unfortunate that this has been critically dismissed for the most part. Why is it that often, the most creative criticism that can be mustered with regard to musicals is that the characters sing? Give me a break, it's a freaking MUSICAL! Sorry to be so apologetic about it. Is that a paradox?
I loved getting reacquainted with this show. It had been a long time since I'd thought much about Phantom and I did nothing in preparation for seeing it. Several songs brought a grin of recognition when they began. I had even forgotten entirely about the songs, Prima Donna, and Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.
The music was great, the sets and costumes were lavish, the colors were vivid, the performances were right on; what's not to love?
I think that the source of any legitimate criticism would either have to be with the original musical or the adaptation to film.
If you don't like the stage show of Phantom, you're unlikely to enjoy the film. According to those that have seen both, it is extremely faithful to the stage production, possibly to a fault. I can see that an effect designed for the stage might shock and amaze during a live show, but on screen, that same effect may fizzle simply due to the fact that the movie-going-audience has been spoiled by bigger and better Hollywood special effects.
Give it a chance.
Currently playing in select cities. Opening Nationwide this Friday, January 21, 2005.
Locations and Showtimes