I am SO unimpressed with the movie version deformity.
This is one of those reviews that you'll probably want to haul out the video and read along so you don't get lost. It will be random and disjointed. I'm just writing what I'm thinking as I think it. This is probably also going to offend....oh, well...just about everyone. This is my personal opinion. You are entitled to yours, I just may not take it too seriously if you cannot back up your reasoning. There are only so many things you can use "well I just like it/hate it" as an excuse. I've been a phan for a LONG time and I've studied the story fairly hardcore. I know EXACTLY why I have most of my opinions.
Ok, here we are at the Prolouge. So exactly WHICH Giry is that supposed to be? Better be Meg, otherwise I really want to know how Mme Giry looks so much better than Raoul when she's about 15-20 years older than him.
So I do kind of like the Prolouge being done in the black and white. It makes a very drastic change from the rather bleak and dreary 'present' to the more fanicifully remembered past.
What's up with the auctioneers eyes?! They're weird. I think one of them has to be glass or lazy or something.
Hell yeah for the overture. I do like how they handled this cinematically. It makes for a very nice effect.
Although the bondage statues are disturbing. La Justice is blind, but that's about it.
Poor Buquet. Got made into a letch again. If you are confused by this remark, READ THE BOOK!
All right kids, Carlotta does not sound BAD.
Overornamented as hell, but not bad. She sounds a hell of a lot better than Emmy does.
WTF is up with the midget? I really am at a loss as to why there are so many midgets in various versions of PotO. The only thing I can think of is some kind of throwback toward ye olde freakshows of the past century to be read as a sort of between the lines thing. One could either take it as a passing nod to Erik's past (in the book, darlings) of travelling with fairs and carnivals as an attraction, or perhaps in some sort of contrast to Erik by showing how other people with 'deformities' function out in the open in society. Or maybe I'm just reading WAAAY too much into this and people are just really all about the midgets.
Taking a brief moment to make a comment about the two slutty ballerinas in the back primping for the new managers because "they must be rich". It was not uncommon for ballet rats and chorus girls to take protectors or benifactors. These men, usually older and wealthy, would provide for these girls. Usually in the form of gifts, food, lodging, or putting in good words to those with influence toward their careers. In return the young ladies would keep close company with these gentlemen. If you get my drift. Wink wink, nudge nudge.
I give you ye olde sugar daddies. THIS is one of the reasons why it would have been so very scandelous for Christine to marry Raoul in that period. Noblemen went to whores for pleasure, they did not marry them. Theater girls were about a half step above prostitute.
Oh, and BTW the ballet costumes are extra slutty
versions of the ones in the Hungarian stage production.
Raoul's parents?! His parents died a while back. He was pretty well raised by his brother Philippe, who was 20 years his senior.
Someone PLEASE give Christine a sandwich! Erik's supposed to be skeletal thin, not Christine. (Sorry, that will be my only chubby girl bitch, I promise) My inner director whimpers at the blocking of this thing. Cheat to the back, don't fully turn your backs on the audience! There weren't mics in the 1880s!
Can I say just how much I love Minnie Driver's primadonna tantrum?
All right. Here's a little conundrum for you. If Carlotta has no talent and everyone HATES her singing so much, then how did she become the diva of the Paris Opera?
Whimpers at the loss of rececitive. Would it really kill you to sing the lines that are supposed to be sung?
So, the production is new, right? And everyone is freaking out about the soprano walking out. What about the lead tenor who walked out with her?
Jesus Christ, Joel. Cool it with the man nipples! (check the dude behind the managers and Mme Giry when she hands over the note)
And now to suffer through Emmy singing part one. It isn't that her voice is completely unpleasant, it's simply too weak for my tastes. And she's a mezzo, at best. She simply does not have the range to properly encompass the role. And as a side gripe, just WHAT does Empress Sissy's dress have to do with Hannibal?
Nice bit of characterization on Miranda Richardson's part, fixing Meg's hair in the wings. Very motherly.
I miss Erik's hawt fedora.
And now a WTF moment. If Raoul is so very enthralled by Christine's performance, and thrilled to see her again, why does he WALK OUT in the middle of her 'aria'? That makes absolutely no sense to me.
So, yeah. I can see Piangi in Carlotta's carriage. Who replaced him?
I do like the backstage scene. It's about right. Why does a theater have a chapel?! I really, really don't get that at all. I can't think of a single theater in the world that has a damned chapel.
Meg needs to stop scooping her notes.
The angel fresco scares me. Like a lot. Why is the angel grabbing itself?
Ok, Christine's, what 7 in the flashback. Now remember that kids.
If she remembers her Angel speaking to her back then, when exactly did she dream of him appearing? Obviously he's been there. So the "now as I sing I can sense him" line becomes kind of weird. What now? Haven't you pretty well always sensed him?
Why on earth is Meg walking with her toes turned so far out? That's bad on your knees you know.
Ok, now this just bothers me. Christine is in Carlotta's dressing room. It's not hers, you'll see this later in Prima Donna. Anyway, why does Erik have a two way mirror in Carlotta's dressing room? And where did they practise if Christine didn't have her own room? She obviously
sleeps in the dormitories with umpteen other girls, so no talking to the invisible voices there. The chapel is not really private either, anyone could wander in or hear them there. So where did all these lessons happen?
Again, I miss the lines being sung. I'm not horribly against Patrick's singing. He's less painful than most of the cast. I am, however, deeply against his hair.
Emmy needs more than one expression. Seriously.
Mme Giry watching Erik lock Christine in is still kinda freaky. I mean, damn woman. That's cold.
ARGH! Gerard sounds like a moose! His vowels sound really weird too. I mean "try-aaaaahmf!" WTF is that about?
Ok, and now we're ripping off the 30s version of Beauty & the Beast. So, where do those arm candelabras go later, I wonder?
The really pronounced brow on the mask kind of makes Gerik look like a caveman.
Cesar is supposed to be white! WHITE! Oh, god, who am I kidding, I'm lucky ALW remembered there was a horse.
Did Jareth decorate Erik's labyrinth too? It looks awfully glittery.
Oh yeah, Emmy's high notes at the end of the title song?
Digitalized. Listen real close to 'em next time. The first set is hers, and maybe part of the second. But the really high ones are synthed to hell and back.
Whatever happened to Erik's really nice digs in the novel? He had a whole apartment down there. Like a real one, with doors and rooms and indoor plumbing (hot s**t back in the day). What's with the cave o' crazy candles?
I know, I know. It's not just this movie. Just an
observation. Moving on.
Not impressed with the cape swish. Sorry.
Ok, now comes the important bit with Christine being freaking 7 when she first came to the opera house. Ready for it? "Since the moment I first heard you sing, I have needed you with me to serve me, to sing."
Now you may well ask, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China. Well I will tell you.
The moment he first heard her sing would have been when she was 7. Now if we go ahead and look at the actual actor's ages as a template for the characters ages we get Christine=7 Erik=26. Are you seeing the problem here?!
A 26 year old man is needing a 7 year old girl with him to serve him and sing.
Extra credit for y'all. When the movie's over, go look up Woody Allen, noted creep and now partial social pariah. Make sure you read the bit about Soong Yi or whatever her name was. That's the important bit.
Now, in a historical context I can live with 35 y/o guy macking on 16 y/o chick. Poe was in his 30s or possibly early 40s when he married Virginia Clemm (his cousin) and she was 13 at the time, I believe. Juliet in Romeo and Juliet was 14. Different periods in history have different views on proper marital ages. But 7 is completely out of the question!
Also, as a girl who enjoys period costuming, Christine's outfit and lack of modesty during the title song and MOTN is appalling.
And now I'm fixated on GB's mask. The way it is you should be able to view part of the "deformity". The bit around the ear, and the screwed up eyelid. And yet, nothing. Hm.
And he still sounds like a moose. And the high notes make me cringe. I think my main problem with the two leads in this film is that they cast people one vocal part lower than what the roles call for.
I don't understand why Christine faints when she sees the dummy. Sure it's creepy, but it doesn't DO anything.
In the stage version it reaches out for her. That'd make me freak too.
Wow Erik's dumb. Leaving the mirror ajar like that? I'm not even going to think of what that white smudge is. Ew. Creepy.
Don't you miss when Buquet's discription actually was acurate? And what exactly is magical about Gerik's noose? Never seemed to do anything that special to me. I mean he garrotted Buquet and Piangi, and there was quasi homoerotic Raoul bondage at the end, but that really isn't magical. In fact I kind of wish I could unsee it.
Stocking blooper has been done to death. Not touching it.
Erik. Her hands are on your face. Why are you not seeing what's coming a mile off?
What accent is that and where the hell did it come from?
Well. He sounded pissed, but he really didn't look that threatening. And oh GOD he's butchering Stranger Than You Dreampt It! Somebody stop him!!! Where'd all that emotion he just had go? He went from being pissed to being excessively apathetic. Isn't he supposed to be pained and depressed and FEELING SOMETHING?!
Not real fond of the random cuts back to old Raoul. They just seem like superflouous fillers.
Who else misses Notes being done in the office, where it makes sense for the managers to be talking business? I'm not real thrilled with Firman's voice to be perfectly honest. Andre seems to wander in and out of decent.
Why is Erik playing with dollies? If you're wanting a hot manly young Phantom don't turn around and emasculate him by giving him a dollhouse! They are NOT action figures!
I also miss Erik doing the note reading as a disembodied voice everyone hears and is freaked by. This film seems to take great pleasure in stripping Erik of all his mystique and power. It's not impressive if everyone knows how he did it. Any magician will tell you that it's the presentation that the audience cares about, regardless of how much they beg for the secret. Once they know the secret the thing becomes commonplace and boring.
I miss the extra harmonies from Prima Donna. Desperately. And the "So it is to be war between us" speech.
And why are all the people outside who were, two seconds ago, all about Christine now kissing Carlotta's butt?
And again they take away Erik's mysetery.
I miss extremely awesome baritone as Don Attilio. I also think I'm starting to hate that midget.
Oh, and the spoken lines in this "opera", would mean that the actual Palais Garnier would NOT have performed it. It would have been considered Opera Comique and ignored.
Erik! Where are you going?! What about Carlotta singing to bring down the chandelier?! At least shake the damned thing and put the fear of God into everyone! Oh how I miss the maniacal laughter.
I love the flunky screwing around in front of the curtain. Hooray for hams.
I think I preferred just having Joeseph drop out of the rafters. It's not that I'm against seeing Erik killing people. I'm just against seeing him do it poorly. The chase was somewhat enjoyable, but the strangling was anti-climactic.
For the love of God it's snowing, put on a heavier cloak or something! You're a singer! You should be horrified that you'll catch cold! At least use the cloak you have to cover your arms more than half the time!
Oh! Oh! Emmy is emoting! Holy god! Aaaannd it's gone. And Patrick's caught the dreaded blank face too.
And I'm now going to take a 3 minute mental vacation from the film because I really cannot watch All I Ask of You. And it's not just the movie version. I've been the Phantom behind the statue. It sucks. And I can't watch it. Soundtracking it is fine, but it's painful to actually see it. Go figure.
Ok, back for the Reprise.
The symbolism with dropping Erik's rose is pretty awesome. Especially if we want to throw back to the novel where she drops his ring during the same scene.
Good job Gerard! You actually look sad and I actually feel bad for you here. Yes, children. He's actually crying. Can't fake the snot. It's gross but true.
And the moment is ruined by Moose Voice and really bad CGI cape.
Come back chandelier crash! I miss youuuuu!
Ok. In the stage version this is where intermission comes. And that's what's going to happen now. Sanity intermission for the Phantomess. A quick pallette cleanse with the MC music vid of MOTN.
And just as a side note, I don't think MC is the be all end all Phantom. He's good, and I like him. But I do not have an official favourite Phantom actor. Most of the actors I have personally seen/heard in the role have done at least one thing that was unique to them and was better than what anyone else did in that point. And some days I prefer one interpretation to another. There are days I'm all about sweet romantic Erik, or angry vengeful Erik, or sad broken Erik. It all depends. But anyway, back to the '04 movie.
Another pointless old Raoul scene. This one appears to be there solely as a product placement for Swavorski.
The monocromatic colour scheme of Masquerade bothers me to no end. The song even talks about all of these colours and everyone's in black and white. I can understand wanting to make Raoul and Christine pop, but there are other ways of doing that. I promise.
Sing the parts that are supposed to be su--oh to hell with it! No one's listening to me anyway.
Christine, STOP singing through your nose! It's shrill and painful.
And the whirly camera angles are becomming rather unpleasant. On a note on modern movies in general, swooping the camera around does not create atmosphere or a sense of excitement so much as it makes your patrons who have a tendency towards motion sickness ill.
The 1960s Batman villains called. They want their camera angle back, Gerik.
The Red Death is not even close to magnificent. He's wearing long johns, people! But I do want his sword. I don't know why he HAS a sword, but the pirate in me is squeeing like mad because it's awesome.
I miss Notes II.
I love the Learn to Be Lonely orchestration here. It's actually quite beautiful. And there's actually a moment of chemistry there that's doesn't seem overly strained.
If you're not going to to the torture chamber correctly, don't do it at all.
And now comes the part in the movie where I scream and cry and throw the biggest damn fit you've ever seen because of what they did to the backstory!
Yes, yes. Many versions have taken liberty with the plot, but considering that the stage version at least seemed to try and keep it loosely correct, this really just eats at me.
Erik was billed as the Living Corpse, not the Devil's Child. Either way, I really don't understand what the big effin' deal is because he really DOESN'T LOOK THAT HORRIBLE. There would obviously be some problems for him, but some heavy theatrical makeup would cover a good deal of his problem.
Oh yeah, and any mystique and awesomeness Erik still had, just left the building.
Another pointless flash forward scene. I'm sure that stag represents something deep and profound, but I will be damned if I know what.
"The cemetary" Which one? Do you know how many cemetaries there ARE in Paris?!
Besides, Daddy Daae is buried in Perros, but they screwed with that backstory already, didn't they?
If Erik never leaves the Opera how does he know how to drive a carriage? Or how to get to the cemetary?
That is a REALLY epic cemetary.
And, wait, wasn't Christine's father a poor violinist?
How in the hell did he afford that huge mausoleum? If he could afford a final resting place that awesome you'd think he would have provided for his kid a little bit better.
Some of the shots of the statuary are kind of pretty.
Actually the whole thing seems pretty much straight lifted from the Sarah Brightman music video of this song.
Look! Look! The ONE spot in this entire stupid movie that Erik gets a little of his badass mystique back! The grave opening and the light.
And then we get into the swordfight.
I've already ranted and complained about the swordfight elsewhere, but if you haven't read it, here it is:
1. I think that the fireballs and insults he was hurling in the stage version were far more spectacular and lent him that air of mystery that the film seemed bound and determined to strip from him. It's 1881, pyrotechnics like that seemingly on the spur of the moment is some impressive s***! It's going to psych your opponent out.
I mean, you're conjuring up fire from apparently nothing and throwing it at his head! That borders on supernatural.
2. OUT OF CHARACTER! Erik fights dirty. We all know this quite well. He sets up traps and nifty gadgets to ensure that he always has the upper hand. If we want to look solely at the 04 film, we have a man who has been brought up entirely within the confines of a theater. He may have seen staged sword fighting, but if he has half a functional brain he's going to know that stage fighting and fighting fighting are NOT the same thing.
So untrained in the finer points of combat. Then we have a young nobleman. He is EXPECTED to know how to wield a sword! Erik's going to know he's outmatched and go a different route if he's smart. Which, we're assuming he is since he hasn't screwed up and gotten caught yet. He had the advantage of the high ground, he also had the element of surprise (I sure as hell didn't see him before he leapt down from the mausoleum) use them to your advantage with a ranged weapon! Get a pistol for God's sake! You could have at least wounded the boy before he even reached Christine! If you're unsure of your ability to take down your opponent in a man to man duel, make sure you never have to worry about it by keeping him at a distance!
3. (G)Erik lost. Suddenly the Phantom is a lot less threatening when he goes down like a bitch! You can't have it both ways, either make him untouchable and a genuine danger, or just freaking end it right there!
If you want to see a swordfight I officially endorse, it's in Requiem Mask on Deviantart.com.
I am officially stealing Raoul's coat.
So if there's supposed to be police everywhere so the Phantom can't pull anything, then why isn't there anyone stationed near the chandelier. You'd think they'd at least put a marksman up there since through that door you'd have a good shot of most of the auditorium. And why doesn't Christine have a gaurd following her around?
Wow, Patricks singing sucks during the Twisted Every Way scene.
Again I have problems with Gerik's mask. I can see pretty much his whole forehead and it's nice and smooth and completely ick less.
The cloak worked way better for Don Juan for one simple reason. It might actually take any moron more than half a second to realize that ain't Piangi.
I really miss the bench. You have no idea how much I miss the bench.
Anyhow... yeah, everyone knows right off the bat that something's wrong. the smart thing to do at this point is take the shot while he's still across the stage from Chrsitine.
What's up with the interpretive dance team in the background? Is that really neccesary?
And no, really, you CAN see Emmy's nipples. And that's just wrong. Really.
Wait, did Raoul just give the signal for everyone to hold on a sec? Why?! Obviously that's the Phantom down there who was JUST pawing on his girl. What gives? I have a thought, but it's disturbing beyond all reason and I don't think I could even bring myself to type it. (Dammit, Phantomess, mind OUT of the gutter!)
Stop crying, Raoul! Shoulda done something when the managers made to go kick some ass!
We've been over how I feel about the deformity makeup, right? Moving on.
....Not feeling the Down Once More. Stage show I've usually at least STARTED crying at this point. Gerard's interpretation leaves me feeling nothing.
Pointless water scene. Really, is there a point to this? It's not a very good trap if the release is RIGHT THERE.
And we're on to the ring. That damned ring!
In the stage AND book versions Erik has his OWN ring which he gives to Chrisitne. It really bothers me that he reuses Raoul's ring. That's just tacky.
And again I'm not moved at all by either Gerard or
Emmy's performance. This may not seem like such a big deal, unless you've seen me at the stage show. One of the Phantoms I saw actually asked me if I was the one he heard sobbing during Final Lair and the AIAOY Reprise. Yeah....yeah that was me....I wasn't even in the front row that night.
Homeorotic bondage moment. I blame Joel.
Gerard's reaction to the kiss is actually pretty good. I feel at least a little bad for him. And then he opens his mouth and the moment is ruined.
Wow. They're seriously wading across the lake. What a suckass lake.
I miss the blocking for the little Masquerade reprise from the stage version.
Why is she giving him Raoul's ring? I am SO confused!
But Gerard's facial expressions are very nice here. There's actually a tear for him now.
And the first bit of the singing was tolerable...."It's over now" was painful though.
Why does he even HAVE mirrors if he's so ashamed of his appearance?
Now I'm almost going to say that I like the last little black and white bit. The orchestration is very pretty and I approve of Raoul bringing her the music box to sit on her grave, knowing that even though she may not have loved Erik (at least like she loved him) he was still someone very important to her for a long time. This is where I actually start seriously crying. I honestly don't know how I feel about the rose, though. But Raoul gets kudos big time.
Welp, that's it. My big huge ranting and raving complaint list about the film. Though I tried to find a few nice things to say here and there.
Really?! No....really? (who else is hearing the lines from Space Balls?)