Phantom of the Opera (unboxed spoilers)

I finally saw this movie and it has its moments. My favorites were Masquerade (as intended I think) and the “Don Juan in hell” ballet (which I always loathed on the soundtrack). It’s never been one of my favorites but I at least like seeing musicals on the screen for a change.
So my thoughts:

The Phantom’s lair: how is it (and I wondered this in the play) that a deformed recluse who won’t go in public gets all this stuff? His lair is gothically beautiful, and I can understand that he would have the brilliance to design its and he has plenty of money from his extortion of the theater owners, but how did he build it? The place looks like Restoration Hardware and Kirklands each sent a fleet of 18 wheelers everyday for a week, and then there’s the “no way can one person” rig that iron grate or even install that bed in there. How did he even give them directions? (“Alright- you’ll come to a back alley behind the Bistro St. Louis- go through the second steel grate on the right… you’ll climb down a hallway until you come to the second gothic sconce, which you’ll twist at a 40 degree angle, and when it opens the labrynth of mirrors take the second one on your left as you face the dragon- now this is important- if you don’t hop on the fourth stair you’ll wind up in a furnace because it’s a rigged- a burglar alarm if you will… now, this will bring you to a gondola…”) You could almost see a SNL sketch about him meeting with his designer to update the place.

The Phantom’s deformity: this was the most irritating part of the movie to me- I’ve had bouts with poison ivy that left me more “distorted”. Basically he has some scar tissue on his right eye and the side of his head- put in amidst people with parasitic twins and lobster-clawed people and conjoined twins he’d never get a passing glance in a freak show.

Minnie Driver: steals every scene she’s in- and that really was her singing in most instances (and the “Learn to be Lonely” number which she’ll sing at the operas). Admittedly it’s hard to go wrong with such a broadly written comic part, but she still managed to run with it.

Patrick Wilson: he’s cute as a boxer puppy, but is there a less expressive actor in the business? (Oh wait, yes there is- Josh Hartnett.)

The flashbacks and flashforwards definitely added some artistic flair to the piece, but the grave scene I thought was a bit much.

And the movie has even less resemblance to Gaston Leroux than the musical. (Erik’s whole back-story [and even his name, for that matter] are gone.)

What’d you think of it?

I think the phantom’s lair is decorated with old set pieces from the opera house.
I love the tip of the hat to Beauty and the Beast, (old B&W French version, the arm holding the candles in the hall) and the horse ride for no reason whatsoever during The Phantom of the Opera song. That to me describes the film. Some good, some cheese.


Why did it take Raul, (Rual? Ralph?) so long to catch up to Christine. She was taking a coach ride to the cemetary and he was riding his horse like a bat out of hell and only left a few minutes after her. What happened? Did he got lost?

The Horse ride was in the book. That’s why it’s there.