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Overall Rating
3.25

Awesome42.86%
Worth A Look: 9.09%
Average: 4.33%
Pretty Bad: 17.32%
Total Crap: 26.41%

12 reviews, 159 user ratings


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Phantom of the Opera, The (2004)
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by MP Bartley

"A haunting musical for all the wrong reasons."
2 stars

I'm not one to jump on the 'hate Joel Schumacher!' bandwagon. The guy's done a good handful of quality flicks and I'm always going to have time for 'Falling Down' or 'The Lost Boys'. But sometimes a director should know his limitations. Just when Hollywood seemed to ready to embrace the musical again with the hyper-kinetic glitz of 'Moulin Rouge' and the sleazy tongue-in-cheek of 'Chicago' along comes Joel to drive a big, hard wooden stake right through the heart of the current musical revival. Yup, this is 'The Phantom of the Opera' directed by the guy behind 'Batman and Robin' alright.

In a black-and-white prologue we see an auction taking place in early Paris. The purpose of the auction is to sell off the remnants of the opera house fallen into disrepair and rubble. Suddenly, a cloth is dramatically swept off the wrecked chandelier, the film blazes into colour and the theme of the Phantom starts up. Yikes. A hell of a hair-raising start. However, abandon all hope ye who enter here, because unfortunately this is as good as it gets.

The familiar story starts off then with the masked and mysterious Phantom of the opera (Gerard Butler) giving singing lessons to the chorus girl Christine (Emily Rossum), whom he wants to replace the diva Carlotta (Minnie Driver) as the main attraction. His twisted love is threatened however by the arrival of young backer Raoul (Patrick Wilson), which starts off a campaign of terror and obsession.

I'm not going to bother even justifying my review with a qualification of whether or not I like the original stage musical. Because this site is called Hollywoodbitchslap, not Broadwaybitchslap right? We're concerned with films here, and as a film 'The Phantom of the Opera downright sucks. Or, to phrase it as it would be in the film, "It suuuu-uuuuu-CKKKS!". Quite why a film adaptation still has to have practically every line of dialogue sung in a really annoying fashion is a question neither justified or answered. So instead of characters saying "What is it?" "It's a letter", we have "Wha-tttttt is itttt?" "It's a lett-ahhhhh!".

I'm sure this works fine on stage where the over-the-top extravagance is vital but here it annoys no end. And for a musical there's two curious things lacking: 1) tunes and 2) singers. Trust me you won't be coming out of this humming away for days afterwards. The only vaguely memorable tunes are the Phantom's theme and 'The Music of the Night'. But we already knew those tunes going in didn't we? They already had a power of their own.

And Schumacher is absolutely the wrong man for the job here. He has no idea how to stage a musical number. There's no passion, no joy, no rapture. He films it like a teacher filming the end of year school play. Yes, the swirling mist and candles no doubt work brilliantly on stage, but Schumacher turns them into a bad 80's music video here. It would seem more appropriate for Meat Loaf to play the Phantom, the way Schumacher lays the film out. Where's the period sense or the smell of greasepaint? Nowhere, instead Schumacher can't decide whether this is a grand, epic opera house or a rundown shack. It seemingly varies in size from beginning to end.

Even 'Chicago' which I wasn't massively entranced by, knew how to have a sense of fun with the numbers and how to shoot them aside from endless close-ups of stationary singers looking stricken and pained. This all adds up to a film both a mess and endlessly dull. You know you're onto a loser when Schumacher even fudges the 'spectacular' chandelier crash. And the 'terrifying' moment when the Phantom reveals his scarred face is lost when it's revealed to be nothing more than a particularly bad case of acne.

And Schumacher is given no help at all by his actors. Butler convinces on no level at all as the Phantom. He has no sense of tragedy, no sense of loneliness and no sense of obsessed passion. He (or Schumacher) never give any clues as to why he behaves like he does, we're just supposed to accept it. Butler can't sing for toffee either, which you would have thought would have been a bit of a stumbling block for him. Rossum is painfully dull and has no expression other than open-mouthed shock. Again, it's a struggle to see just why anyone would obsess over such a dull girl. And she can't sing either. She can make a loud noise in tune yes, but that's not quite the same. She has no passion to what she sings and we can never tell what she's singing anyway. It all becomes a lot of wailing with no tune.

But then there's Patrick Wilson, wafting through the film with the presence of a fading fart. I defy anyone to show me a less interesting and compelling presence and once again, we have no clues as to why Christine would fall instantly in love with him. Hell, they're so dull they deserve each other. Wilson doesn't so much act or perform as...turn up. And just kind of stays there until the scene ends. A further sign of trouble is when an over-the-top Minnie Driver with a terrible Italian accent (I want-a some-a spaghetti right now-a!) is the best person in your cast.

As a musical it's a deadening flop. As a romance it's so lightweight it evaporates into nothing. As a horror it sinks without a trace. Let's be kind and just say the musical revival has probably stopped here eh?

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11360&reviewer=293
originally posted: 01/06/05 01:53:58
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User Comments

10/04/12 keith miron Buy the soundtrack instead ! 2 stars
5/10/11 Stephanie One of my favorites. Beautifully done and sung. Super moving. 5 stars
8/28/09 julie Loved it! Gerard Butler is so sexy! 5 stars
1/16/09 Anonymous. beautiful singing, emmy rossum really shines :] 4 stars
11/30/08 Samantha Pruitt great music, good acting, great visuals, the end was sooo sad! 4 stars
5/07/08 Luci<3 Gerard's way of singing so gutterally and beautiful made a great asset to the Phantom. 5 stars
4/30/08 Lillyshell I have seen this movie several time, I bought the movie. It is great, Music and acting. 5 stars
3/19/08 David Cohen Over-the-top tale of a whiny, murderous extortionist, what's not to like? Everything! 2 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann Remember,this comes from a man who made Jesus & cats sing in Broadway musicals.Be warned!!! 1 stars
10/15/07 fools&#9835;gold O, Webber in all his boringness and out-of-date-dness. 1 stars
9/04/07 shinn so brilliant ,awesome ,unique TO ALL: just understand the movie ,you1l see it!! OK!! 5 stars
8/13/07 Annonomiss Cinematography and lighting were spectacular.Acting overly dramatic.Bursting into song-Ug! 1 stars
8/13/07 Mary Beth Loved this movie! The reviewer is an idiot. 5 stars
8/04/07 TANCP It was alright. Phantom's make up and personality were too weak though. The stage is better 4 stars
6/25/07 R.W. Welch Good yarn and score but overlong and overdone. C+ 3 stars
4/29/07 clare this is the best movie ever, all the critics reviews are stupid. 5 stars
3/10/07 swtangel great movie, excellent music. 4 stars
2/28/07 Stanley Thai One great musical but not many interesting songs. 5 stars
1/16/07 Idina Badly sung, badly acted and TERRIBLY directed. 1 stars
1/10/07 Amanda Everything about the film was outstanding! Loved Every minute of it! 5 stars
1/04/07 sargon I watched this film stoned as fuck and I still realized it was quality, surefire shit. 1 stars
11/27/06 sirina good movie though why fight over her she is so ugly! 4 stars
10/25/06 Anne Well this was my first real exposure to Phantom, and I thought it was easy to understand. 5 stars
10/03/06 Danielle It sucked! They couldn't sing! Read the book it had almost no romance. 1 stars
9/23/06 marni The only problem I had with it is the fact that Emmy Rossum dosen't sing properly. 5 stars
9/02/06 Clare Michaud I thoought that this movie was fabulous the music was unbelievable. I am a huge fan. 5 stars
8/29/06 Griselle The movie was awesome, and the actors did a stupendes job. I'm a really big fan. 5 stars
8/16/06 xxx A beautiful musical! I absoultly loved it! 5 stars
8/14/06 Addi Sad Phantom fan here- liked 2 scenes; hated the off-key singing 2 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist 1st 1/2, exquisite,2nd 1/2, not how he became the phantom;took me out of the film. 2 stars
5/29/06 Ash I found the movie as exciting as the theater shows. 5 stars
5/28/06 kay one of the greatest musicals i've ever seen 5 stars
5/19/06 drydock54321 something a romantic would love 4 stars
5/14/06 Elaine Fulford I've seen this film about 40 times now, and it still appeals to me. My 9 & 4 year olds love 5 stars
5/10/06 sweetgrrl1972 *cringe* This movie is cheesier than cheddar, except not in a good way. 1 stars
4/13/06 Susan I think it is one of my favorite movies of all time. 5 stars
4/06/06 Troy M. Grzych Pretty true to the broadway musical, but drags at times. 4 stars
3/08/06 Katie Beautiful music. Gerald Butler was a great phantom 4 stars
2/11/06 Neil Outstanding...a marvel in its own right...a lush Gothic romance based on famous novel... 5 stars
1/30/06 the laughing man One of the best films I have ever seen. 5 stars
1/13/06 Tiffany Love love love it. The movie does everything that they TRY to do on stage...great job! 5 stars
1/05/06 LRWN An unbelieveably outstanding film! 5 stars
11/13/05 Rebecca Davies It was absolutely beautiful I luved it! 5 stars
10/17/05 E jimenez Gorgeous film. The best musical movie I have ever seen. 5 stars
10/08/05 AARON CHAMBERS GERARD BUTLER IS NO MICHAEL CRAWFORD 3 stars
10/04/05 Paige Emmy is my romotel and the phantom is so hot 5 stars
10/01/05 chang great! 5 stars
9/25/05 Joan R I absolutely loved this film. Gerard Butler made a truly wonderful Phantom. 5 stars
9/18/05 Abbey this was one of the best movies have ever seen 5 stars
9/15/05 Samantha Schaeffer it fucking sucked....just kidding it was awsome 1 stars
9/13/05 ann coloma it's really great and heart-warming 5 stars
9/02/05 Alyse Pilcher the best movie EVER!!!! 5 stars
8/29/05 Emma Dunham Fantastic!! there no amount of words to explain the brilliance of this Film 5 stars
8/06/05 Karleigh I think it is the best movie in the world... I loved it 5 stars
7/16/05 montanya@bellsouth.net loved the show loved the movie more 5 stars
7/05/05 Becky Hamman Absolutely wonderful movie! I love Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, and Patrick Wilson! 5 stars
6/23/05 Lucy This movie was wonderful compared to the Broadway version. Excellent acting and script 5 stars
6/19/05 Tasha EXCELLENT 5 stars
6/08/05 Callie Coulson This movie was great it was so fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/05/05 aryiel superb 5 stars
6/04/05 amanda carpio the new movie is an awesome movie! i enjoyed it and roul is really hot! :) and the phantom 5 stars
6/01/05 Steve Melenwick Silly critics. What did they expect for a movie version. It Satisfies. 3 stars
5/31/05 Carol Price It have been a Better movie if Gerard Butler did only act and not sing 3 stars
5/30/05 Danielle I loved it. The music, the actors, evrything was incredible 5 stars
5/29/05 Suffering Spouse Excruciatingly awful 1 stars
5/27/05 Gunit worst film ever. 1 stars
5/26/05 Jazz Main casts all sucked! Y is everyone whining in this movie? Xpecially Christine n Phantom 1 stars
5/25/05 Candice DeGon Man i take drama for a class and i really loved this movie, it was beautiful! Bravo! 5 stars
5/25/05 Tara Adkins I think the movie was great and I dont think that you guys know what your talking about 5 stars
5/24/05 T.S Beautiful. It took my breath away. Love, excitement, tragety amd sorrow.I loved it. 5 stars
5/23/05 Bradley Love it!! Completely awesome. Everyone even does their own singing cept Carlotta.(Driver) 5 stars
5/17/05 od thrillingly, excruciatingly awesome!!!!!! 5 stars
5/17/05 sofi absolutly amazing! A must see! 5 stars
5/11/05 The Phantom Phreak Gaston Leroux would probably like it--'nuff said. 5 stars
5/09/05 Meggie (Insert Profanity Here) I can't believe what I just read! It was a wonderful film 5 stars
5/09/05 roy butcher a bit of an endurance test 3 stars
5/07/05 Anna I loved the stage play, and parts of the movie are beautiful. Parts. 2 stars
5/06/05 ELI W/e!!!!! I don't care if they can't act. Emmy and Patrick are AWSOME! 4 stars
5/05/05 Arion Smith Butler's Phantom awesome-beautiful voice, wonderfully acted, see it and judge for yourself. 5 stars
5/04/05 Louise its excellent you cold hearted critic 5 stars
5/03/05 Anna Shipper if someone enjoys musicals, this is the film for you + Butler is AWESOME as the Phantom 5 stars
5/03/05 Kristina Williams it DID NOT suck. I've never seen the damn play and I LOVED it. 5 stars
4/25/05 david troop brilliant 4 stars
4/24/05 B Stack The reviewers are blind to a good movie and talented stars. This was an A+ 5 stars
4/21/05 stani my favourite film.The best film of all. 5 stars
4/20/05 Elena Erofeeva No acting at all by the main personages 1 stars
4/19/05 Dolores DiCenzo Boring, awful 1 stars
4/15/05 Sparko Emmy Rossum can't act;she's too ugly 1 stars
3/29/05 Tyrantis Sucked the spirit of the play and the book right out. 1 stars
3/26/05 Denise so good 5 stars
3/23/05 Victoria Ross I enjoyed it, although live was better 4 stars
3/10/05 Fake Name Here Phanaticly adore it. 5 stars
3/07/05 Dani Dani i loved it! best movie ever music was awesome it was so sad but so beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/07/05 Doris Nelson I loved it. Thought it was great. Saw the stage production in Chicago twice 5 stars
3/05/05 Sid Savillo/Novelist/Scriptwriter The Desire for Lust or for the sake of attention was for the Phantom; Raoul has True Love. 5 stars
2/26/05 Brandy I thought it was visually beautiful but a little long-winded. 4 stars
2/22/05 Amber Hammerschmidt Though GBs voice may not be astounding it is good for the role, and his acting was astoundi 5 stars
2/21/05 Racquel It was the BEST MOVIE Gerard Butler gave an Extrordinary Performance!!!!!! 5 stars
2/20/05 Steve Michaud Recommended only for fans of the stage show; others would do well to stay away 3 stars
2/20/05 Zoorah Awesome moving film 5 stars
2/15/05 sarah wade Best musical I've ever seen. Gerard is so georgous. 5 stars
2/15/05 barbara smith I thought the music was absolutely enchanting. the movie itself gave me goosebumps! 5 stars
2/15/05 BrianWilly I liked it, I thought it was great. 5 stars
2/13/05 M Sands you guys who thinks its crap you no nothing about musicals,rouge was awfully pathetic 5 stars
2/12/05 Sylvia Belle great movie 5 stars
2/12/05 Jason I loved it, I've seen it 5 times so far!!! 5 stars
2/10/05 David Bennett High Production values 3 stars
2/09/05 Lisa Jochelson I am a fan of the play, so while the movie wasn't great, it wasn't too bad either. 3 stars
2/08/05 Kristy Edwards This was the best movie! I saw it 5 times, and will buy the movie the day it comes out!!! 5 stars
2/06/05 Dan Carter I dont no why everyone slates this film, its fantastic, best musical film in years 5 stars
2/02/05 Lynde Foy Not my cup of tea 1 stars
2/01/05 Danita Berg I guess you love it or hate it. I loved it. 5 stars
2/01/05 beth LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! 5 stars
1/30/05 Gretchen Lowe Best movie I've seen all year, I cried when it turned to color in the beginning. Great! 5 stars
1/28/05 Heather Charles You get more out of it than the play. It is a wonderful movie. 5 stars
1/26/05 bob The is the greatest movie I have ever seen 5 stars
1/24/05 brittney i absolutely loved this movie! I fell in love with the music and the costumes. 5 stars
1/24/05 Nick Awesome 5 stars
1/23/05 Kim Everything about the movie was magical! It made going to the movies worth going again! 5 stars
1/22/05 jynn i thought the movie had no impact at all.. nice music, but it was empty. 2 stars
1/22/05 Kristina Williams Why are critics ragging this flick? I just saw it twice in a row and LOVED it! 5 stars
1/21/05 Kish Harris Absolutely fantastic. have seen it 4 times. Sets and music sumptious , phantom gorgeous!!!! 5 stars
1/18/05 Maureen Great movie! 5 stars
1/18/05 Kyle Beston I thought it was a total crap but it turned out to be one of the best films i have ever saw 5 stars
1/16/05 Neutrino What's wrong with you people? It's stunning masterpiece!!! Emmy Rossum just an angel. 5 stars
1/14/05 Yellow Best movie I've seen in 2004/05 (so far) 5 stars
1/14/05 Jeanette Myers Excellent Music 4 stars
1/12/05 Stacey Peachfuzz Not even "funny" bad; just plain miserable. Nice high notes, Gerard. [vomit sound] 1 stars
1/11/05 pam If you don't like the music, then don't go see it. I thought it was great. 5 stars
1/10/05 Kathryn Critics are the ones who blow! I've seen it 5 times!!! 5 stars
1/10/05 Lee I totally loved it - from the breathtaking scenery to Butler as Phantom 5 stars
1/08/05 Allison Couldn't be better - love Gerard Butler 5 stars
1/08/05 Mel Better than Chicago. 5 stars
1/07/05 TyrantisTerror If you don't have a good phantom in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, you don't have a good movie. 2 stars
1/06/05 Nessa Fantastic movie! Erik Childress is a dickhead 5 stars
1/06/05 Green Gremlin a great musical is trashed. 2 stars
1/06/05 Naka Oh, hell no. 1 stars
1/06/05 Banzai Overzealous phanatics are nuts. This film is blatantly terrible. 1 stars
1/05/05 Roger Johnson Critics are nuts. The film is fantastic. 5 stars
1/05/05 Kim Anderson not a note of real music in 2 and a quarter hours. 1 stars
1/05/05 Colleen Actually quite good, and i usually dont like film adaptations of musicals. 4 stars
1/05/05 Jim R. Hands down, the most underrated film of the year. 5 stars
1/05/05 TomF Tim Rice had NOTHING to do with this - this is Webber's baby 2 stars
1/05/05 skeweditalian Les Miz can kick POTO's ass any day of the week 1 stars
1/05/05 Cat A film about a Phantom of the Opera that can't SING!!! 1 stars
1/04/05 PLou I was captivated from beginning to end. The artistry & cinematography were awesome. 5 stars
1/03/05 mickey c If you're a fan of the musical - you'll love it! And that's how it should be!!! 5 stars
1/01/05 Alice Ahlers too much of everything except emotion and not enough of that 1 stars
12/31/04 TyrantisTerror The only problem I had with this movie was how the phantom was portrayed. 2 stars
12/28/04 Deanna In Indiana Phan-atics will adore, and we know a good musical 5 stars
12/27/04 BUNNY LOVED IT ON STAGE, ADORED THE MOVIE 5 stars
12/27/04 charles kaye enjoyed moviemusic and plot 4 stars
12/27/04 Bleh Pure crap. 1 stars
12/26/04 DM A disappointment, but really not all that bad. 3 stars
12/25/04 frank awsome 5 stars
12/25/04 jcjs something lacking for sure 3 stars
12/25/04 chris shoot me... i adored it 5 stars
12/24/04 mike awesome film. Brilliant. Phenominal. 5 stars
12/23/04 Daveman Dreadful, recommended only to Webber die-hards... and you people are weird anyway. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  22-Dec-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 03-May-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Dec-2004




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