|PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (2004)|
|"Say you need me with you here, beside you. Anywhere you go, let me go too. Christine, that's all I ask of you..."|
|Time: 143 mins.|
Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography, Art Direction and Original Song.
SYNOPSIS: Based on the hit musical, the tale tells the story of a disfigured musical genius who haunts the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera, waging a reign of terror over its occupants. When he falls fatally in love with the lovely Christine, the Phantom devotes himself to creating a new star for the Opera exerting a strange sense of control over the young soprano as he nurtures her extraordinary talents.
BOTTOM LINE: You'd think that moving this world-renowned musical to the big screen would open up the story and make it even more glamorous and exciting, but somehow that just never happens. Perhaps it's the by the book direction that never really adds anything to the already wonderful set designs and classically entrancing story. Rossum makes a wonderful Christine, full of hope, youth and beauty. She makes the most of her film debut, making you fall in love with her and entangling you in her plight. Fame or love? Not an easy choice and one that comes with harsh consequences. My main issue with the film is Butler's casting as the Phantom. He just didn't have the vocal range to bring the songs soaring to life, which is a problem for a musical... and a big issue if you've seen Michael Crawford in the role. That being said, he's talented enough to get the dramatic moments right and creates the requisite sense of obsession and danger to keep the film afloat. Everything about the film from it's lush visuals to the soaring soundtrack is first-rate and though the casting isn't perfect, both fans of the stage piece and those new to the story should be satisfied with the results. At the very least, it's cheaper than a Broadway ticket.