I am big Phantom of The Opera Enthusiast, so Here's a little something I did a write up for in class, enjoy ;)
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, The Phantom of The Opera, has entranced audiences since the moment it was released on stage. Still being shown for the past twenty-six years, it was only a matter of time before it was to make it to the film screen. However, the process in which that would happen was a long and drawn out operation, as the creator underwent drama in his own life.
Warner Bros. had optioned the rights to The Phantom of the Opera in 1989. Full artistic control was given to Andrew Lloyd Webber, and he instantly hired director Joel Schumacher. Webber, impressed by Schumacher’s use of music in The Lost Boys, had no doubts in this choice. It was a big break for the director, and the two set to work.
The original leads from the stage show, Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman were already chosen for the screen production. Filming was due to begin in the summer of 1990, but all their best laid plans failed when Webber, who was married to his leading lady Sarah Brightman, divorced, and they had to agree on a final settlement.
In 1997, Schumacher briefly considered returning to the project, but focused instead on the Batman franchise. It wasn't until 2002 that plans came back together and finally began work towards bringing The Phantom of the Opera to the big screen. By this time, however, Warner Bros. were not as interested as they once were. Lloyd Webber bought the rights back from them, now planning to make the movie himself. He still gave them the option to be the first studio to distribute the film.
Now, in the process of recreating all screen plans for the production, the search for new actors began. The role of The Phantom went to the-then relatively unknown Gerard Butler. Impressed by his performance in Dracula 2000, Schumacher found him fitting the perfect vision. The role of Christine Daae went to Emmy Rossum who, although a classically trained singer, was also unknown in the acting world. “She was singing with the Metropolitan Opera when she was seven, singing in the kids’ chorus (MovieWeb, 2).”
Debate had been struck over the decision to have at the time little known screen actors instead of those trained in musical theater. However, having fresh faces come to the screen has arguably made the piece a new experience, rather than a repeat of what had been seen on stage all those years before. The characters are far from unmemorable, as each is not only recognizable by their acting, but how the costuming enhances their overall personalities, goals, and emotions.
The film is filled with gloriously vivid colors. In addition the costuming and set is overwhelmingly grand and exquisite. It is amazing, because although a focal point is found in each scene, one’s eyes are still encouraged to wonder and explore. Each time the film is viewed, new images come to light. “I love the look of the film. I admire the cellars and dungeons and the Styx-like sewer with its funereal gondola, and the sensational masked ball, and I was impressed by the rooftop scenes, with Paris as a backdrop in the snow (Ebert, 2).”
Although it is true many musical aficionados complain that the movie does not meet the stage’s standards, it is possible that they are forgetting that this is an entirely different piece of art all together. Much debate had been made over the films slow pacing, however, to many it is found necessary. When in the right frame of mind, it is not found to be slow at all. Instead it is the constant turbulation of emotions that keep the film moving in the moments when the actual screen seems to slow down. This becomes necessary, as the moments of stillness and lingering allow one to register and then revel in the emotions. The story would not be the same without this, because instead of telling you what to feel, it allows one to search for their own feelings. That is what makes a good film, not that it lives as itself and on its own, but that the audience can live and feel with it. “Brought to cinema, the ‘Phantom’ musical has gained new power and influence with audiences, touching them deeply (Michalski, 1).”
The Phantom of the Opera is entirely about feeling. Yes it is about a beloved character driven story of mystery, romance, and darkness; however what differentiates it is that although it may follow the typical story idea of “monster kidnaps beautiful woman,” it evokes emotions that entirely belong to the audience.
From a Christian perspective, this film represents characters living in at least five of the seven deadly sins; pride, envy, lust, anger, and greed. However, in revealing characters that have these very real feelings, the story confirms their destructive natures. In many ways it is a warning against these sins, pulling in those attracted to it and then revealing the truth.
The Phantom of the Opera has stood as a piece of unmovable art for its human truth. Excelling in spectacular imagery, motivating storyline, and haunting music, the 2004 Phantom of the Opera was undoubtedly a success for all involved.
Ebert, Roger. "Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera Movie Review (2004) | Roger Ebert." RogerEbert.com. N.p., 21 Dec. 2004. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. a href="http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/andrew-lloyd-webbers-phantom-of-the-opera-2004%3E">http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/andrew-lloyd-webbers-phantom-of-t...;.
Michalski, Dan. "The Phantom of the Opera." The Oz Zone. N.p., 2005. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. a href="http://theozzone.com/classics/phantom_of_the_opera.html%3E">http://theozzone.com/classics/phantom_of_the_opera.html>;.
The MovieWeb Team. "Joel Schumacher Talks about the PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Cast!" MovieWeb. N.p., 22 May 2003. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. a href="http://www.movieweb.com/joel-schumacher-talks-about-the-phantom-of-the-opera-cast%3E">http://www.movieweb.com/joel-schumacher-talks-about-the-phantom-of-...;.