Weirdly enough I've been wishing to see the 2004 Phantom of the Opera movie so badly, I don't know why - but I had to watch it so that I can review for my blog as well. So last night I was fortunate enough to watch it on a HUGE TV instead of my tiny one thanks to my sweet heart :) So without further ado my review - it may potentially contain spoilers.
This movie has it's good points and it's bad points. A lot of phans hate it - but I feel it does certain things well but also lacks when it comes to certain aspects. One of the major reasons it's hated is because of Lloyd Webber's choice to cast Gerard Butler as the phantom. I definitely disagree with ALWs decision (this man seems to do a lot to disappoint phans) not because of Mr. Butler's acting - I feel he did a good job acting the role of Erik - but because of his singing. He's awful - his voice cannot come close to how Erik's voice is supposed to be - and I feel if you are going to cast a phantom you better make sure he can sing. This issue with Gerard Butler has bothered me from the first time I heard the 2004 movie soundtrack before the movie was released in theaters.
The movie is good in the aspect that it can go into more detail then the play can using cinematography and flashbacks. This enables the story to be more understandable to a non phan - which as much as I love ALWs play and would prefer it over the movie any day - I do admit the play lacks some understandability for a non phan - the plus side to that is that any non phan should see it two or three times to gain a better understanding or go with a die hard phan.
There are certain aspects of the movie that have more relation to the novel - the chandelier crashing portrays the devastation and chaos that you could imagine it creating when you read the novel. When the phantom takes Christine down to the lair he uses a horse which happens in the novel but not in the musical. The horse in the book is white though - the movie horse is black.
Emmy Rossum is okay as Christine. Her voice is amazing as far as technique goes and is crystal clear - but I feel as if she is lacking emotion when she sings - I also feel she lacks emotion in her role - in her facial expressions - they are either wrong or don't have enough emotion in them. Patrick Wilson was Raoul - which is just gross being that I absolutely hate Raoul and always will - but I would say he did a good job - he passed the making me almost throw up in my mouth test - that is a good Raoul, bravo Patrick Wilson. Minnie Driver played Carlotta - she was way to over the top - which would have been great if she was on the stage - but when you are being filmed sometimes you don't need to be that over the top because film is a different medium and can get angles and close ups that being on stage cannot do for an actor. Miranda Richardson was Mme.Giry - I felt her accent was too crazy - it was over the top on the french accent - it's just not something I'm used to as Mme. Giry in the musical doesn't perform with such a thick french accent. Jennifer Ellison performed the role of Meg Giry she did a good job - and Simon Callow and Ciaran Hinds did well as the managers.
The chandelier crash came close to the end of the movie - instead of before intermission as it does in the musical. I could kind of understand why they may have chosen to do it that way - but I am not used to it that way so I don't like it that much. It also messed up a few lines in the masquerade scene that related to the chandelier because it has already come down by that point in the musical. I also feel that it was too much action all at once - Christine unmasked the phantom - then he cut down the chandelier while abducting her, simultaneously having the Opera House erupt into flames due to the crash leading into the final scene - it was too much chaos at one time. There is also a sword fight at the end of wishing which I feel was unnecessary and very sad. Raoul almost wins this sword fight - one of the many times he decides to try and be the hero - until Christine stops him - the phantom would NEVER lose a sword fight to Raoul - he wouldn't let himself get to the point of almost losing and he was a genius in everything that he did - Raoul would not have had the skills Erik would have possessed when it came down to fencing.
Now for some song review and then this review shall be wrapped up - the beginning of the title song annoys me slightly it reminds me of an anime scene - not how Christine is supposed to go through the mirror at all. Point of No Return however - my other favorite song is pure sexiness in this movie. I like the dancers featured in the background while Christine and the phantom are singing - I also love the fact that there are flames on the stage foreshadowing the fire and chaos that will happen once the chandelier is brought crashing down.
Overall if you can stand GBs singing this movie is good if you need an immediate fix and don't have access to a boot leg of the musical - it is also better to show to a non phan as there will be some more detail and background information available.
All four formats of the movie on DVD can be found for sale through amazon - widescreen, full screen, two disc special edition and blu - ray - I have all four formats LOL