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?
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.
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….
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?