The Phantom of the Opera

Today, we’re going to talk about the movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webbers musical “The Phantom of the Opera”.

But before I get into the nitpicking, I have to address the elephant in the room.

Namely, Gerard Butler as The Phantom.

For years, I’ve heard jokes and heckles about him when it comes to this movie, with people propagating the idea that he can’t sing.

And I’m sorry, but that’s simply not true. He can sing. He’s a decent singer.

However, the problem is that he’s not PLAYING a decent singer. He’s playing The Phantom of the Opera, who is an EXCELLENT singer.

So don’t get me wrong. I will freely admit that Gerard Butler was probably not the right choice for the role of the Phantom. He did a decent job, in a role that called for more than just “Decent”. It probably would have gone over much better if they’d cast someone else, or at the very least dubbed him with someone who could give the required performance.

But that doesn’t mean he can’t sing! He may not be able to sing OPERA, but he can sing!

And on that note, here’s a question. Why doesn’t anyone get pissed at Joel Schumacher or the casting department? You know, THE PEOPLE WHO FUCKING HIRED HIM!? What about Butlers agent, the guy who said “Hey, I know what role would be great for you, Butler”? Why don’t they get any blame?

How come Lloyd Webber, who was THERE DURING BUTLER’S AUDITION, didn’t go “No thanks, you’re not good enough”, if he’s so fucking great with music? Why is all the blame put on Butler?! Be pissed off, by all means, but be pissed off at the people who are responsible!

Now that I got that out of the way, let’s get back to some good ol’ fashioned nitpicking.

For example, the opening scene during the auction. We see a poster being auctioned off, as well as the special music box. And then they bring out the chandelier.

Here’s my question. Why are you selling the chandelier? What house in France, in 1919, is big enough to house a chandelier that big?! Aren’t there much easier ways to get a chandelier in Paris, than to buy one that was involved in a devastating accident?

Which also raises the question of why the hell they saved the chandelier! Was it that important that you kept something that killed tons of people, just so you might be able to auction it off later, instead of, I don’t know, getting a new one and throwing the old one away? They must have kept it just because of the disaster, since they point out that the chandelier is the very one in the disaster, and if that’s the case, what sick asshole is going to go “That thing killed a crapton of people? I need it!

And don’t tell me they’re selling it for scrap, since if that’s the case, why bother wiring it up to the electric lights!?

Next up, here’s something more specific to the movie. The Phantoms deformity.

My problem is pretty simple. It’s not much of a deformity, is it?

butler
The horror…?
It doesn’t really seem like a “Face that earned a mothers fear and loathing” to me. It just looks like a particularly nasty skin rash.

Remember, this is the 1870’s! You’d probably pass more horrific deformities on your way to a café! In fact, he lives in a damn opera house! Just scrounge some makeup, and the problem is solved!

Compare it to some of the other adaptations.

1925 Adaptation

 1943 Adaptation

 2011 stage production
Now those are some fucking deformities! Why couldn’t we get something like that?! Instead, the makeup people for this movie seemingly couldn’t put together something better than a bad case of dermititis!

Then again, I suppose that if you made the wound too gruesome, you couldn’t have the Phantom be sexy and mysterious. If you did that, he would have to spend all movie wearing a mask to hide his deformity…. Wait….

And finally.

Something that’s been bothering me for a while is the Phantoms lair. I mean, in the book, the reason he knew all sorts of shortcuts and hidden passages in the opera house was because he helped build the place, and he intentionally made it so that he would be able to live in it.

But here, someone else appearantly decided “I’m going to build a huge opera house and fill it with secret passages and hidden tunnels, on the off-chance a deformed child from a travelling circus escapes and needs a place to live”.

Not only is the Phantom a musical genius and an unrepentant murderer. He’s also the luckiest guy who’s ever lived!

And of course, there’s one last thing. Specifically how he, for some reason, decided to put a pipe organ in his home.

Out of all the instruments you could have possibly lugged down into your secret lair, why the hell did you get a pipe organ?! I know pipe organs are cool instruments, but come on! You want to keep hidden! You don’t want people to find you!

So why would you get not only one of the loudest musical instruments known to man, second only to the cannons used in the 1812 overture, but also probably the most elaborate instrument in the world?

You don’t think stealing parts for that is a bit fucking tricky, and might get you a bit noticed? How is it powered?! Again, this is 1870! There isn’t any fucking electricity, which means you’d need another person, just to work the bellows!

Why not just get, I don’t know, a PIANO?

You know, the music instrument used by composers for well over 150 fucking years!?

Now, if it were me, I’d build a piano with a double set of keys to get a good range for composing. I mean, if Emánuel Moór could do it, why not the Phantom?

Or hell, The Phantom is a fucking musical genius! Just write the music in your head! Beethoven was fucking deaf! That didn’t stop him from writing the “Ninth Symphony”, now did it?

Sure, he had an organ in the book as well, but I stand by my opinion. It’s a bad choice for someone who wants to keep hidden. And also, I repeat. In that version HE BUILT THE OPERA HOUSE! I’m guessing he knew how to soundproof the damn place!

Here, he has a metal gate, which I admit is excellent for keeping out intruders, but not so much for keeping the sound of a pipe organ from echoing throughout the catacombs.

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got when it comes to this movie.

Do I like this movie? Yes, I’d say so. It has flaws, but I can’t say I regret watching it. At the very least, it got me interested in the novel and the stage production. Maybe that might count for something?

And to those of you who still hate it because of Gerard Butler, look on the bright side. It could be worse.

It could have been Pierce Brosnan playing the Phantom.

Oh well… there’s always “Love Never Dies“, right?

WTFAW: Doctor Who (Sort of)

Dave, What the hell is this?

Dave: It’s the basis of a fan theory!

I’m not so sure it is… I think it’s just a stupid picture.

Dave: But look at it! Lady Time Lord! Donna was a timelord!

I know! Anyone who watched the show knows Donna became a time lord. Did you really need to show me this picture to inform me of a plot point in an episode I’ve already seen?

Dave: No, not really… But can’t we talk about it anyway. It COULD be the basis of a theory.

Sure, we can, but if this is a theory, it has no reason to exist.

Dave: Well, couldn’t you say that for all fan theories?

No, that’s not what I mean. Fan theories normally have a purpose. It has an end goal, something it is trying to justify.

People who make fan theories usually follow a very simple (though admittedly very flawed) formula.

Step 1: Make a conclusion

Step 2: Cherry pick facts to justify the conclusion.

Step 3: post it where I will find it, so I can prove it wrong.

Step 4: Rinse and repeat until the end of time.

Here, you’ve jumped straight to Step 2!

There is no reason for this theory to exist, because there is no conclusion for it to justify. Without a predetermined conclusion, the justification has no purpose! This isn’t a theory!

Dave: But clearly this shows they planned this since her first appearance! Her name is proof that we should have seen this coming all along!

Is that the conclusion we’re going with? Ok… ahem….

  1. Donna isn’t Italian for “Lady”. It’s Italian for Woman. The word for Lady is Signora.
  1. The name Temple comes from her marriage. As in, the one she had AFTER she became a time lord/human hybrid and the Doctor wiped her mind.
  1. Nobleman is the term synonymous with “Lord”. The word “Noble” on its own is just an adjective meaning kind, honest, gentle and chivalrous.
  1. Female Time Lords aren’t called “Time Lords”. They’re officially known as Time Ladies. An example of this is Romana, the Time Lady who traveled with the Fourth Doctor.
  1. Temple comes from the Latin word Templum, meaning a shrine, temple, holy place or open area, and has nothing to do what so ever with the word “Tempus or any of the declensions thereof.

Congratulations!

Not only does the picture have no reason for existing in terms of making a theory, the theory it might be proposing is incorrect, and exactly everything written in the picture turns out to be untrue.

Isn’t this ironic… I’m writing about a show with a time traveller, and now I desperately wish I had a time machine, so I could get back some of the time I just wasted…

Dave: Well, that’s not how the TARDiS works, because…

Shut up, Dave….

Back to Main Page

Assassin’s Creed: Rogue

After a long time of arguing with myself, I have finally decided to write about Assassin’s Creed: Rogue.

When I first heard about this game, I was really excited. A chance to play as a templar? That would be interesting.

But then I played it, and I noticed several problems with the game. Some were problems I also had with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, but some were brand new.

Let’s begin with the cover.

The cover features our protagionist, Shay Cormack front and center in his special templar armor, weapons at the ready, about to fight two assassins. Very striking. What is the problem, you may wonder?

Well, Shay looks very imposing and threatening, with his his face hidden in shadow beneath the hood of his black leather coat.

A coat which DOESN’T HAVE A HOOD IN THE DAMN GAME!

They fucking did it AGAIN! First with the flintlocks in Black Flag, and now this!

Just explain to me, when someone says “Hey, I’m gonna put this thing on the cover of the game”, what in the name of christ is so hard about telling them “Sorry. That’s not something that appears in the game”?!

I don’t know if it’s artistic liberty or editorial mandate for the sake of enticing buyers, and if I’m perfectly honest, I don’t give a shit!

Stop putting crap on the cover, if you can’t be bothered to put it in the fucking game!

Is it to show that Shay used to be an assassin? Is it to make a dark mockery of the Assassin look?

Because I can tell you something that also gives that impression.

The fact that Shay is wearing armor decorated with the templar cross, while also wearing a hidden blade. As in, the DEFINING WEAPON OF THE ASSASSINS!

You don’t need the hood to drive that point home! If it’s so important, just put it in the game!

Speaking of which, this game decides to add some things to decorate the ship, like special sails and figure heads. Nothing new about that, seeing as they did the same in Black Flag.

But among those decorations, we get a set of sails that once belonged to the Jackdaw, the ship of Edward Kenway.

A bit puzzling, considering there weren’t really a specific set of sails for the Jackdaw. I personally preferred the crimson sails, but other than that, they were standard white.

How does the sails look in Rogue?

What in the name of satans portion is that?! Those aren’t pirate sails! Those look like the kind of sails you buy to decorate a pirate themed birthday party for an eight year old child!

(And yes, I know it says “Black Skull Sails”, but trust me, they appear in this game as the Jackdaws sails)

I played as Edward Kenway, and followed his exploits over the course of almost 7 years, the totality of his pirating career.

At no point did I ever get the chance to outfit his ship with those sails! They only appear as a reward when you play Assassin’s Creed Initiates, but I call bullshit on that as an excuse! They are named as “The Jackdaws Sails” in this game, which I would take to mean as the sails the ship was known to have.

You would think the most famous set of sails the ship has (and I’d say sails decorated with skulls would be kinda hard to forget) would be included in the game without me having to buy another damn game!

Let’s move on.

Before we get into the real meat, the big problem with this game, let’s briefly go over some things the game IMPROVED from the last game. First off, they thankfully saw the light and realized that fighting with two swords was stupid, especially on a ship.

Now granted, they keep the same basic fighting style, but they at least have the good sense to replace one sword with a dagger or dirk. I personally would have preferred them skipping the second weapon altogether and just going with the sword on its own.

After all, I’d imagine that it might be a bit tricky to switch in the middle of a fight between a dagger and some other supplementary sidearm, like a pistol. But still, kudos for using some common sense.

Speaking of pistols, we have some more improvements on that point. In this game, they reduced the number of pistols you carry from four to two. Again, it takes almost no time to reload the pistols, but you only have two shots, instead of the (by comparison) hail of bullets you can unleash in Black Flag.

Some things are still lacking, like a helmsman and the ability to go below deck, but these are just minor luxuries, and are not really necessary in the grand scheme of things.

And of course, much like its predecessor, this game features legendary battles. You fight two historical battles, one at Labrador Bay and one at Qiberon, and you eliminate a remnant of golden age piracy during a battle with two Men O’ War, before finally going head to head with the Assassin’s flag ship, the Storm Fortress.

And unlike Black Flag, these aren’t just some ships that appear on the corners of the map. They are proper, bona fide missions, complete with descriptions and a warning that “these will be tough battles, are you really sure you want to do this, yes or no”.

And once you’ve beaten all four legendary battles, you are rewarded with a unique set of sails, a unique figure head and a unique steering wheel.

Can you play the missions again?

No, of course you can’t, because that would just make too much fucking sense!

Anyway, let’s get on to the real issue of the game.

But first, here’s a quick summary of the story

The story of this game follows Shay Cormack, an Assassin that becomes disillusioned by the methods of the Assassin’s Brotherhood, and their disregard of the damage they do (which includes destroying an ancient artifact and, in the process, all but wipe out Lisbon… oops).

To prevent future catastrophes, he joins the Templar Order and sets out to thwart the Assassins plans.

As a story, it’s pretty good. The problem is partly that the game is very short, compared to Black Flag. There are fewer characters and, much like AC III, the assassins all come across as stubborn morons. Couple that with the fact that the alternative is siding with the VILLAINS OF THE SERIES, and you end up with a game without anyone to relate to or root for.

And if this was some attempt to put the two organizations in grey areas, with neither side being more moral than the other, let me remind you that only one of these organizations actually have rules forbidding killing innocent people.

The game sees a return of Haytham Kenway who, as I’ve made clear before, was one of the best parts of Assassin’s Creed III, but he’s nowhere near as interesting or charismatic as he is in AC III.

But probably the biggest problem is that the game just feels pointless. The finale of the game has you uploading your findings to the Assassins, as a demoralizing message.

Now, either you’ve just struck a crippling blow to the Assassins brotherhood, in which case this is a real downer ending, with the villains winning….

Or (more likely) the assassins will ignore it, in which case you haven’t accomplished anything.

It just feels like, when the game is finished, nothing has been accomplished. Had this game not existed, I doubt anything would have changed in the overarching storyline of Templars and Assassins. Maybe it’s too soon to say, and the effects will not be noticed until much later.

But from where I’m sitting right now, it just comes across as a desperate attempt to squeeze the last drops out of Black Flag.

My suggestion?

Play Black Flag. It’s more fun, the characters are more varied, well rounded and likeable, and it doesn’t just feel like a watered down version of a previous title.