Friday, August 6, 2010

1990 Charles Dance Phantom of the Opera Review - also phan role play and gathering possibilities

Last night my PHan PHriend Janette and I who are lucky enough to live a mere few towns away from each other decided to have what we call Phantom geek out session # 2 last night. I'm actually hoping to find other Long Island PHans and perhaps start a club to meet once a month for a gathering. We chose to watch the Charles Dance Phantom of the Opera - hopefully I can make sense of my crazy notes and come up with a useful review and op ed for this movie.

Before I start Janette and I are also starting a face book role play using the 1990 phantom as our premise. I have made a profile for Christine - Janette has made a profile for Erik - if anyone who comes across this blog is interested let me know which character you might want to be - and then face book my profile - Janette's - and of course Erik and Christine's profile. If you wish to know the characters see the IMDB link below:
IMDB Charles Dance Phantom

*Janette and I collaborated on  the review and analysis of this movie - so some ideas or interpretations belong to Janette Marie Coffey and I must give her credit

This movie is based on the musical by Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit. It premiered as a mini - series on TV during the 90s. This is the movie that I first saw when I was 8 - my parents let me stay up for the second half. When I became a PHan I spent years looking for this movie - until I finally found it.  Although it is based on the musical the movie itself is mostly straight drama - with some singing.

My favorite scene in the whole movie - is when the phantom takes Christine off stage after Carlotta puts something in her drink and she is unable to sing in Faust. He takes her across the lake in his boat and sings softly to her. I don't know what it is but the boat scene in almost every version gets me - if it's included it's bound to be my favorite part of the movie. I also love the world the phantom creates in this movie. The Kopit/Yeston version always enchants me - and the phantom's world under the opera is so beautiful, so magical.

Janette loves the Bistro scene - that scene is incredibly powerful - Christine and Carlotta go voice to voice in a singing duel - Christine's voice is so powerful - so spine tingling.

The chandelier crash in this movie is pretty graphic - but that's very much appreciated - besides the horror/slasher versions with Robert Englund and Dario Argento no other movie to my knowledge gets graphic with the chandelier crash.

Janette bought up some good points. In this movie Raoul's character goes by the name of Philippe - if you read the novel Philippe is actually Raoul's older brother. It's odd that in this one Christine is dating Raoul's older brother - why did they leave Raoul out - why chose Philippe? That's something to ponder or but Yeston and Kopit about if they can be reached.

I find this movie follows the book loosely - more so then the ALW version.

I love the fact that in this version Erik has different masks to suit each of his moods - it's very unique and hasn't been done in any other phantom versions.

It's interesting to me that Erik uses itching powder in Carlotta's wig instead of making her croak. I like that a little better then her croaking like a toad - Janette said itching powder is more plausible and believable for him to get away with - although he can get away with making her croak since he was able to throw his voice and imitate voices as well.

Janette said Erik also has parental guidance in this movie - which is true. Carriere is his father - also manager of the Opera house. The audience learns this in a back story toward the end of the movie - in which Carriere tells Christine about the phantom - how he grew up and that he is the phantom's father - we also know this in the beginning when we see Erik and Carriere talking together in Erik's lair. He seems slightly less out of control because he had his father around to guide him - interestingly in this version his mother was completely devoted to him before her death - she accepted him for his deformity and to her he was beautiful - it makes you wonder what could have been had she not died and was able to live and guide him and accept him. Janette also wondered why Carriere kept Erik under ground - why he didn't decide to bring him out and try to raise him - my argument for that was the time period - Erik would not be accepted then as he might be now.

During Erik's unmasking you can almost feel his anguish as he realizes Christine is afraid of his face. In this version you never see Erik's face - not in the movie - and not in the play either. I appreciate that uniqueness - in every other version Erik's face is revealed and here you are left to imagine how his face may really look. Bravo to this version for letting us imagine.

There are a few scenes that are similar to the ALW musical. Andrew Lloyd Webber actually saw this version either before or while in the process of creating his version - so I think he may have ripped off Yeston and Kopit. I'm also currently hating on Lloyd Webber so this might just be my anger. One particular moment  is when the phantom interrupts the Opera while Christine is singing Faust - he begins singing with her and eventually abducts her off stage - which happens in ALWs musical during Duan Jaun Triumphant.

A lot of stuff is going on when Erik dies - and while he's in the process of dying. Before he dies of natural causes though - at the end he is shot. I will discuss the ending and death of Erik. As he's dying of natural causes his underground world is falling apart as well, while he's dying he has a conversation with Carriere and is adamant that he is buried and not put on display after his death. When Erik dies he is shot by Carriere - it is interesting that the man to shoot him is his father - which is also the man who helped create him and give him life - he is shot by Carriere to avoid being arrested by the police and to be even more miserable in jail - that is my theory anyway. At the very end of the movie Philippe and Christine run off together - you are given a sense though that there life will not be a happy one - at least not at first - Christine will probably have many issues to deal with.

So this long blog entry comes to a close - the movie information is below if you care to purchase - it is worth PHan ownership and it was worth the lost sleep last night - just to finish seeing the movie.