Phantom of the Opera may create an obsession

Crystal Hohenthaner

Crystal Hohenthaner

Despite being slightly cheesy, the new screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera has been nominated for three Oscars, including Art Direction, Cinematography and Best Original Song – and it probably should have been nominated for more.

The Story: Most people who are interested in this film will probably have a grasp on the movie premise, but for those who don’t, be ready to be mildly confused. The story is episodic in nature, meaning there are quite a few characters plus a major and minor plot-line. Both plots take place simultaneously at the Paris Opera House in 1870 and it is made clear early in the show that some strange, and possibly unexplained, things happened at this opera house. The major plot-line revolves around Christine Daae, a young dancer. Christine has recently been reunited with her childhood sweetheart and made a star by her mysterious voice teacher, known as the Angel of Music. Of course, both men love her and she is captivated by each in a different and compelling way. The secondary plot involves the hardships of the Opera house’s cast and owners, which are being perpetrated by the seemingly sinister Opera Ghost. These serve nicely to lighten the mood of the rather dark plot and Minnie Driver, as Carlotta, provides a a lot of laughs.

The Good: The images in the show, as well as the singing and the acting, are outstanding. There really is nothing more that needs to be said about it. My old obsession with musicals has been renewed with watching Phantom and I have been thinking about the bittersweet storyline ever since.

The Bad: I wouldn’t qualify any part of this show as bad, but if you aren’t ready to suspend your disbelief, this is not the show for you. It isn’t realistic. People break into song and dance periodically, so don’t expect things to be like they are in real life. Because the plot is intricate and has to be told in a small period of time, it progresses rather fast. The only thing I didn’t love was the camera work. The whole show was acted and staged a lot like a musical, so the close-up and awkward camera angles used highlighted some strange things. I kept wishing they would pull the shot out so that I could see the actors’ entire bodies and the whole set in the scene.

The Bottom Line: This is the type of show that gets inside you and suddenly you can’t stop thinking about it. Because of it’s complexity, I’m certain that it would be beneficial to see the show numerous times, and it would be hard for the experience to be truly satisfying anywhere but on a big screen. In fact, I predict that many people will not only see the movie over and over, but they will also become deeply involved in the mystery and myth of the phantom himself.

Four and a half out of five stars