an admirable challenge to try and shift arguably the finest of British
theatre in history from the stage to the silver screen, and one
that I was initially pessimistic about. Surely the magic of a musical
- the costumes, make-up, lighting, orchestral effects and overall
atmosphere, can only be captured on a live stage, and not a two-dimensional
so. Even though the film begins with effective alternating between
two periods, the problem with The Phantom of the Opera is that the
bulk of the story is actually set on the stage, making Schumacher's
adaptation seem barely different to the stage musical being recorded
audience's tolerance levels probably near breaking point near the
start as the abhorrent, obnoxious La Carlotta (Minnie Driver) struggles
to cope with being ousted by the pure and innocent Christine Daae.
Played by teenage newcomer Emmy Rossum, Christine discovers that
the Phantom (Gerard Butler), a facially disfigured genius, is 'her
spirit and her voice, in one combined' .
then on the battle for Christine's affection of the Phantom against
childhood sweetheart Raoul (Patrick Wilson) takes centre stage.
But the need for most lines to be melodramatically sung (or should
I say mimed), coupled with Butler's wavering performance and some
inconsistently garish music undermines the performance.
Luhrmann's screen adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet went
down a treat because he creatively integrated his own twist. Schumacher
on the other hand lacks any ounce of innovation here, relying virtually
solely on pre-created script. Furthermore, the screen adaptation
of Lloyd Webber's Evita was successful, as presumably would be Cats
and Joseph. But trying to 'cinemise' something relying so heavily
on using the stage just doesn't work.
it cannot be denied that a lot of content is still effectively captured;
for example, the emotionally-charged masterpiece duet 'All I Ask
of You' by Christine and Raoul, the immense drama as the chandelier
crashes, and repeatedly the suspense from the pendulum-like Christine's
say ten out of ten for effort, but I'd be lying. However, whilst
this clearly doesn't live up to the theatre version, it should be
noted that the cinema is a fraction of the price.