First Thoughts: Before seeing this movie, I had heard of the Phantom of the Opera, but I had never seen any of the plays or musicals, I had never read the book, or seen any of the movies about it. My only clue to this mysterious film was my mom's film soundtrack, which she bought immediately after seeing the movie. I listened to it with her, and was very surprised with the music -- it was actually really good!
Of course, I don't care much for musicals, either, but Phantom seemed to just tug at me. Now, I have seen three different versions and read the book. Of all the versions I have seen, this one was by far the best! I have not seen the stage musical and cannot compare it to its theater origins, but I can say that this version was WAY closer to the book than Yeston & Kopit's stage version.
Pro's: The acting was very good, especially Minnie Driver who plays Carlotta. The music was even better than the acting. Gerard Butler did a really good job capturing the Phantom's pain and loneliness better than any other Phantoms I've seen. And the screenplay did a good job in capturing the Phantom's human side! Sometimes we forget that the Phantom is human, even though he does some devilish things. He seems more like a misunderstood hero than a villain to me. And for those of you who say that "Gerard Butler can't sing", in the French audio version, I will bet my life that they had to use at least two different guys to pull off the Phantom's vocal ability. And, Gerry could do it by himself. I mean, come on! He's not that bad...
Con's: The only things I wish they would've changed about this movie is the characters' backgrounds. I wished we could've seen the 'Angel of Music' giving Christine Daae lessons and seen more about the childhood relations of Raoul and Christine. The Swordfight in the Cemetery was I think one of the worst scenes that they shot. Joel could've done a better job than that! It seems like all during this bloody, action-packed fight between the Phantom and Raoul, the shots went from hands, swords, feet, Raoul's face, Phantom's cape, feet, swords, hands, Raoul's arm, etc. I had to rewind to see how Raoul got the Phantom's sword away because the camera angles were so bad!
The film did slow down in some spots, like for instance Magical Lasso, and Madame Giry's Tale, but they give you important info that you need to connect all the pieces of the puzzle. At the end, it might leave you with a few questions remaining. It did for me, and I looked to the book for answers.
Overall: But, overall it is a very good movie. It will have you crying at the end, for some people. It's a heartwarming tale about a monster who wanted to be loved as a human -- somewhat like Beauty and the Beast, but the beast is more human. So, listen, listen to the Music of the Night!
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