Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
I’ve never been a fan of this musical. The songs are repetitive and dull, the story is silly, and the overriding themes remind me of the covers of those paperback romance novels you see on sale in supermarkets.
But I loved the movie, even though the three points I made above are painfully obvious. So why did I like it?
- The movie is absolutely gorgeous. The colors and photography are sumptuous, garish, or muted in exactly the right places. The image that comes across the screen from the DVD is simply beautiful.
- Director Schumacher plays it straight in the right places. Scenes that could have been hammy or just silly come across as serious and heartfelt. My favorite: Christine’s solo scenes in the cemetery. Absolutely stunning, and the colors are muted till the point of being nearly monochrome (at least till the Phantom shows up…)
- Scenes are Designed with a Capital D. Watch the entrance of the Phantom onto the stairs of the Masquerade, or the boatride through the grottoes below the Opera House. No, the visuals are not always original (e.g., arms sticking out of the wall holding candlesticks) but they sure do look good.
- Effective use of black and white and color transitions. I found myself repeatedly watching the opening sequence as the Paris Opera becomes three dimensional in black and white, then the color transition scene built around the candelabra as the dusts of time and age are swept away and the music crescendoes (for the first of many many times).
- Lots of great supporting roles. My favorite: Minnie Driver as the abrasive opera singer Carlotta. Talk about a surprise of a performance!
But the best thing about the movie is Emmy Rossum as Christine. She is gorgeous and she can sing and act up a storm.
And she has the most beautiful brown eyes I’ve ever seen in a movie (Well, they are nearly as gorgeous as Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio’s in The Abyss).
Review copyright (c) 2005 by Dennis D. McDonald