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The Phantom of the Opera

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I am almost embarassed to say that I have never seen the stage version, but the movie of The Phantom of the Opera is a sumptuous treat on almost every level. The settings were rich, creative, and flamboyant; excitingly dramatic designs. The cinematography was superb (the movie is worth seeing for just the scene where the old dilapidated theater visually transitions into its original splendor). The story and characters are romantic, and the wonderful music adds a level of strong emotion beyond just the words. I am going back to see it again real soon.

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I've seen an off-Broadway version of Phantom before. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie myself. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've listen to the Original Cast recording. I also have the highlights of the Canadian cast recording but that is nowhere near as good. Tough to beat Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman for the lead parts.

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Wow this means that I must see it too :dough: Now I have a difficult choice, Phantom of the Opera or Lemony Snicket.

I saw Lemony Snicket last weekend...it wasn't horrible but I wasn't impressed. The scenes just kind of happened. I've never seen Phantom before but from what I've heard I'd say go see that instead.

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I highly recommend Phantom. I've seen the play off Broadway, and in my opinion the film is a slight improvement. (There are few changes in the material--some scenes were rearranged or added, there was more backstory, and some dialogue/lyrics were changed in rather minor ways. Overall, I like these changes.) The largest change, of course, is that this is a film, so we have an added selectivity and stylization.

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i've been looking forward to seeing this movie since i saw the trailer awhile back. i went and read the book first because I like to read the book before i see the movie when i can. i thoroughly enjoyed the book and from the trailer scenes and music ....the movie looks absolutely fantastic. will be watching it tomorrow on xmas day. i've never seen the theatre production either but i'm glad they're using the same music. :dough:

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I too saw an off-Broadway version of it a few years back. Sorry to say that I wasn't into the arts the way I am now to really appreciate it much. However, I think I might have to go against what I said in my The Aviator post and go see this instead! I had an aquantince in my past that was very into the Phantom of the Opera and I am actually quite fond of the music behind it even if I don't remember the plot.

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I too saw an off broadway production of the Phantom of the Opera a while back. I now plan on seeing it after the positive reviews it has received from the members here. I don't really remember the show that well, I was quite young when I saw it, so I look forward to seeing it again.

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ok, just saw the movie....i'm adding it to my favorite movies list. as stephen mentioned before...the visuals were amazing. the costumes were excellent....the singing superb...and of course the storyline. i too want to see it again as soon as I can. :dough::angry::(

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Haha, I've seen Phantom on Broadway twice, memorized every word of every song, and played it all on my trombone for kicks (and for a Valentine's Day present in the snow :D ). I love it! It is, in my opinion, the very best musical ever written-- overall, a real cut above. I cannot wait to see the film version...I'm pleased that everyone here likes it so much. Glad to see such excellent artwork getting mainstream attention!

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Can someone identify the philosophical/ethical themes in the movie/musical for me? I saw it at the theatre about ten years ago, and it didn't make a big impact on me. My vague recollection was that it was about unrequited love and obsessive devotion, but it didn't work for me on a philosophical level the way that Cyrano or Les Miserables did. What value did the Phantom offer and why did he love the lady he was obsessed with? I didn't really care much about the protagonists, and saw it mostly as a show with a dark atmosphere full of melancholy, and providing several stage gimmicks, but not a satisfying experience thematically.

I didn't dislike the show, I just didn't find much to admire about it. What did I miss, if anything? In all of these positive comments here I haven't seen a description of the new movie's theme or values it is conveying.

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Can someone identify the philosophical/ethical themes in the movie/musical for me?

The theme in the film is: A man who has always been treated as a beast still creates his own world of values and seeks value in the world -- especially the love of a woman with whom he shares his great love of music. She is torn between her feelings toward him and toward a childhood sweetheart who loves her too.

Aspects of the story and the larger than life way it is told remind me of Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris and Rostand's "Cyrano."

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The theme in the film is: A man who has always been treated as a beast still creates his own world of values and seeks value in the world -- especially the love of a woman with whom he shares his great love of music.  She is torn between her feelings toward him and toward a childhood sweetheart who loves her too.

To amplify a bit ... Despite the cruelty in being raised as a beast, a sense of great humanity is born; the Phantom literally creates an underground world of great value. Not only does his musical genius arise, but he is also a scholar, an architect, a builder, an inventor, a magician, all sadly combined with a degree of madness sown from malevolence tied to his beastly treatment. He becomes the "Angel of Music" that Christine's father said would come to her, and he embodies in Christine his better spirit through teaching of music to her. Her voice becomes his voice, and it is through Christine that his music is to reach the world that he cannot live within. The Phantom's love for Christine is born from a soul locked in a body shut from the outside world, a soul which struggles with a beautiful sense of life striving to free itself from the bonds of malevolence. That Andrew can characterize all this as "unrequited love and obsessive devotion" is almost as sad as the conflict between the forces of life and the forces of death in the Phantom.

Also, not having seen the stage version I cannot comment on Andrew's "several stage gimmicks," but the movie is a marvelous integration of creative staging and thematic drama. The visual, the lyrical, the musical all combine together to create a world that I want to experience again and again.

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This both fascinates and maddens me, namely how people with the same philosophical premises can respond so fundamentally differently to an artwork. Also, how they can stress different elements of the piece to arrive at radically different evaluations of it. Stephen offered a magnificent description of Phantom of the Opera, only thing is it doesn't sound anything like the boring three hour spectacle I suffered through when I saw it on Broadway, not to mention that I was never comfortable with that damn chandelier swinging over my head. I identify with Andrew's experience. I found it malevolent, dark, and almost unbearable. I saw nothing of Cyranno in it. Both Ferrar's and Jacobi's rendition of Cyranno captivated me and gave me two of the best dramatic experiences of my life. Phantom put me to sleep. I wonder if the reaction to this movie ultimately revolves around other factors such as past experiences and differing psychologies. I respect those that loved the play, however I just don't share that love.

Lastly, I saw Phantom of the Opera the same week I saw the single greatest play I have ever seen in my life. A musical which gave me the most enjoyable entertainment experience of my life. I will always remember that night and try to recapture the rapture of seeing it for the first time. The play I am talking about was The Scarlet Pimpernel. It played about four years ago and when Douglas Sills was the Pimpernel the show was pure magic. Now that story has shades of Cyerano in it. That was an uplifting, joyous emotionally refueling tale. I did not want that play to ever end. For the three or so hours I was in an artistic heaven. As for Phantom, aside for the title song, I couln't stand the music, the characters left me stale and the swinging chandalier suspended on a very thin cord over my head gave me no peace. I could not stand anyone in that play. The female lead struck me as a ditz, the boyfriend as a suburban, country club airhead, and the phantom as a warped, obssessive nutcase.

I couldn't wait for it to end. And with midtown parking on a wednsday night and orchestra seats, the whole night set me back $300 bucks. Boy, I wish I could get a refund.

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... Stephen offered a magnificent description of Phantom of the Opera, only thing is it doesn't sound anything like the boring three hour spectacle I suffered through when I saw it on Broadway ...

Just for the record, I should reiterate again: I never saw the stage version of The Phantom of the Opera, so I cannot judge it in relation to the magnificent movie version that I saw. However, considering that the lyrics and the music are so essential and communicative, I would be surprised if the stage version deviated greatly from the story in the film. As to the production values, that is a separate issue. Anyway, having become so enraptured with the film and the music (I have been listening to the film soundtrack over and over), I most certainly will see the stage version the very next time it plays anywhere nearby my home.

Lastly, I saw Phantom of the Opera the same week I saw the single greatest play I have ever seen in my life. A musical which gave me the most enjoyable entertainment experience of my life. I will always remember that night and try to recapture the rapture of seeing it for the first time. The play I am talking about was The Scarlet Pimpernel.

I am sad to say that the version I saw last year was terrible. The foppishness in the original story was played off against the real strength of the character, but in the play the foppishness was exaggerated and elevated to become the main focus, and it included the whole band of men. I was saddened to see that the audience response was greatest for the exaggerated foppishness, where they laughed and applauded loudest the sillier the Pimpernel became. At the end the audience gave a standing ovation -- I stay seated. I did enjoy some of the music -- the main characters had wonderful voices -- and the costumes as well, but the main thing that was missing was the essence of the original story.

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For those who enjoyed the movie version of The Phantom of the Opera, there is a wonderful article in the Calendar section of today's (12/27/04) Los Angeles Times, on Emmy Rossum, the lovely and talented young lady who played Christine. I was amazed to discover that she was just sixteen years old when filming began, and only eighteen now. In the article Miss Rossum is portrayed as being intelligent and very assertive, with a "keen sense of her own worth." Here is an interesting quote from her in the article.

"I'm heavy on preparation," she said, speaking at breakneck speed. "Some actors come to the set and don't know what scene they're playing, but that would make me crazy. Its not about control but perfectionism -- my biggest vice and one of my biggest assets. I have strong feelings about the emotions of the character and am not shy about expressing them. I go along with directors after I agree with them. While they have the last word, they're not paying me to read lines."

Interestingly, the article points out that Rossum "intentionally avoided seeing the stage production to avoid any preconceptions. Her goal: to ground the character in reality ... studied the older man - younger woman relationship between choreographer George Balanchine and ballerina Suzanne Farrell to get a grip on the student-mentor dynamic." I note that in the movie she portrays that relationship exquisitely.

I am delighted that she is up for Best Actress, Musical or Comedy, at the Golden Globe Awards on January 16th. I'll be rooting for her. Quite a talent.

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My original exposure to the musical was the original cast recording with Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford - which I have listened to dozens of times and more or less set my standards; subsequently I loved the movie.

I was a little sad at times because they followed some of the original songs so closely they could have just made them the same… just little things the voice play at the end of ‘Think of me’ during the rehearsal or changing ‘specter’ in “he’s a funny sort of specter - to expect a large retainer - nothing plainer.” There was also a couple liberties taken with the audio mixing in some of the songs – but after all, the musical was written for Sarah Brightman, so all in all I think Emmy Rossum did a superb job. While they did made the choice at times to make the set look more like Disneyland forsaking realism, after I accepted that the movie was in part fantasy I had no trouble accepting and enjoying the extravagant sets. One thing I did like especially about the movie was how Raoul was portrayed, I agree with Daniel that he was a much stronger character, and amazingly I liked him – in the sense that I wasn’t devastated when Christine left with him. I think the movie played that really well at the end – Christine’s love for both the Phantom and Raoul was really apparent and it was her honesty if nothing else that saved the Phantom’s spirit in the end.

Thank you for that article on her Stephen, after the movie I ended up defending some accusations towards her from some of my acquaintances basically along the lines of ‘airhead’ ‘superficial’ ‘gaudy’ etcetera – so while I was defending her role as Christine in the movie it is nice to know she’s a fairly decent person on the outside as well.

All in all excellent movie.

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A little googling led me to this article, check this out…

“The reason I wanted to do this movie, besides the fact that the music is so beautiful, is that the character is so different from me. I’m a pretty happy, sociable person, and this is a girl who’s tortured emotionally and is very lonely. I’m pretty rational; she’s very spiritual. I think I’m pretty loved and she’s very alone.”
Social and lonely, rational and spiritual, loved and alone… amazing. To read between the lines or not to read between the lines, that is the question.

Rossum gave up formal schooling after seventh grade (at the age of 12) and did all her high-school studies over the internet — an experience she describes as “very trippy”. “I did have classmates,” she says, “but I never saw them. The result is that you make friends based on common ideas, not on what everybody looks like.”
Very interesting person… I’m going to have to go rent her other movies.
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A little googling led me to this article, check this out…

Very interesting person… I’m going to have to go rent her other movies.

And look at this from an interview when she was seventeen.

"I don't normally tell people," whispers actress Emmy Rossum, "but I like to study philosophy." It's an interest that the 17-year-old, who first gained notice in Songcatcher (2001), has little difficulty connecting to her craft: "It's like Descartes' theory of a ball of wax. You can change its form from solid to liquid, but it's still the same ball of wax. With acting, you're the same person in a different form. You can only be what you know, and you only truly know yourself."

Definitely not your average actress!

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I am almost embarassed to say that I have never seen the stage version, but the movie of  The Phantom of the Opera is a sumptuous treat on almost every level. The settings were rich, creative, and flamboyant; excitingly dramatic designs. The cinematography was superb (the movie is worth seeing for just the scene where the old dilapidated theater visually transitions into its original splendor). The story and characters are romantic, and the wonderful music adds a level of strong emotion beyond just the words. I am going back to see it again real soon.

I saw this live, on stage, twice. It was at those times when I experienced this sumptuous treat.

It's refereshing indeed to read that the movie version was successful at bringing this musical from stage to screen.

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Just saw the movie last night. I liked it a lot. It's not exactly the same Phantom that I know and love, but the film is nonetheless, lovable.

Having seen it on Broadway twice, the camera work in the movie was a real treat. Zooming, panning, and especially the closeups, created a new unique presentation not possible on the stage. The sets and costumes were indeed beautifully done, and the special effects occupied that sweet spot in between "flat" and "ridiculous".

I didn't really like Butler's singing -- it sounds like he doesn't quite have the range for the score -- but Emmy, conversely, was fanstastic. Great, wonderful tone on those high notes. Gorgeous...and not just her voice :(

To all who have seen the movie, I would urge you to see the stage version. To my senses it is still superior, for nothing compares to hearing 'The Music of the Night' live from the pipes of a Julliard tenor. And, to those who have seen only the stage version, I would urge you to see the movie, because it is a wonderful, artistic, fun film in its own right, and also a very respectable version of this Webber classic. I'm going to see it again this week B)

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