I love films with music in them, well kinda, I love disney films mostly, I don’t actually like most traditional style musicals. They are often a little cheesy for me. I do love music though and a well told story. Therefore I was pretty convinced I would like The Phantom Of The Opera.
I have never had the good fortune to see it in the theatre so I saw the movie version made in 2004. I had no idea of the cast before I saw it so I was extremely surprised when Gerard Butlers name appeared. I spent the next half an hour trying to figure out who he was, I didn’t twig for ages that he was the gorgeous Phantom, singing all those gorgeous notes and perfectly suggestive lines. Gerard Butler was the phantom! This was the same guy I’d seen in Tomb Raider as Terry Sheridan. I spent the next half an hour totally absorbed in how different a performance he was giving.
Naturally I had to watch the film again. I can’t exactly give a fair review of a film when I’ve spent over half of it focused entirely on Gerard Butler. With the second watching I focused more on the film as a whole. There was a lot of detail to take in, in both the music and the scenes. Often the scenes within the opera house were busy and full of background stage people beautifully choreographed. Every little detail seemed well thought of, which was a relief when you notice that on the front cover of the dvd case the phantom’s mask is on the wrong side, (how did they miss that one?) which is not a great first impression.
Christine and The Phantom had an amazing amount of chemistry, the passion between them was evident and along with the music, very compelling. Both actors deserve credit for what they pulled off, the music and acting were both superb. Raoul was my sticking point. I couldn’t decide if I just didn’t like the actor and his slightly creepy smile and laugh or if it was just because he was not meant to be my prefered choice. I didn’t really like him though. I actually found myself wanting the Phantom to win Christine even though he was going about it in the wrong way.
Now don’t get me wrong, Raoul was the knight in shining armour he was meant to be. He pursued The Phantom at every opportunity and did his best to protect Christine when he realised she was in danger. The trouble was, until about two thirds of the way through the film, he didn’t even believe Christine that the Phantom was any more than a myth or something in her head. He even laughs at her at several points for trying to persuade him that the Phantom existed. It was almost like he didn’t actually care about Christine he just cared that someone else was after something he wanted. He even asks her to put herself in danger so he can catch and punish the Phantom when to keep her safe all he has to do is marry her and take her home. He asks his future wife to risk her life so he can get revenge! I just couldn’t believe he actually loved her.
With that aside the film was amazing, the music was awesome, the singing divine and the details lovingly perfected. It really was an amazing work of art and I’m really hoping to go see the stage version some time soon.