Gerard Butler’s choice to play the Phantom like Gerard Butler was going out on a Friday night for some stalkage may have been … unwise.
Christine Daae is the orphaned daughter of a Swedish violinist. Before he died, he promised her he would send an ‘angel of music’ to watch over her. Christine is taken in by Madame Giry and her daughter at the famous Opera house in France, where no one actually has a French accent except for Madame Giry. Christine loves to sing but has been too grief stricken to sing properly; until, that is, she hears a voice behind a mirror helping her.
Now begins the parade of idiocy that runs through this movie. Most of the general populace, however brain damaged, stupid or downright idiotic would hear a voice behind a mirror and do two things: 1) run or 2) grab something sharp and pointy. No, Christine believes her angel of music has finally arrived.
Madame Giry knows the truth, since she’s totally BFF with the infamous Phantom of the Opera, who’s really a sideshow freak that she let live in the sewer bottom of the Opera. Sadly, it does not have a charming view but Gerard Butler’s Phantom seems well stocked on candles. He seems to have nigh on two million; perhaps he is a candle collector?
The Phantom schemes to get Christine in and Carlotta, the diva who can’t really sing, out of the Opera’s shows. The whole time he’s trying to seduce Christine, taking her on fun boat rides to his Sewer Palace and wooing her with his dark and mysterious pipe organ. Uh … yeah.
The problem here is that while Gerard Butler may look hungover, in need of a shave and a shower and possibly not all there sometimes, he is not bad looking. In fact, I’d wager that it’s hard to ugly up Gerard Butler (although The Ugly Truth did a good job of making him seem vile) and sticking a bit of molded plastic on his face doesn’t make him look like a monster who has to chat up a girl by kidnapping her to his Sewer Palace with his candle collection; it makes him look like a guy with a serious brain malfunction. Oh yeah, and a creepy, perverted one at that.
Competing for Christine’s affections is Raoul, the Vicomte with a heart of gold and nothing upstairs. If one were to crack open Raoul’s cranial cavity, it would probably contain bits of cardboard and dryer fluff, with a few starving moths flying around. He’s obnoxiously bent on Christine-directed chivalry.
Needless to say the Phantom doesn’t like this. And he doesn’t like that the new Opera owners won’t pay him his extortion money. … And he really doesn’t like that Carlotta lady. Yeah, so some people die.
The main problem with Phantom is the cast. Emmy Rossum is convincingly dim, but her eyes are so … dead. Not to be mean, but everything I’ve seen her in she’s got the same look that salmon has at the fish counter. And Gerard Butler can eke out the Phantom’s songs, he looks like he shops at L’Abercrombie & Fitch in his spare time. He’s not menacing or scary or even remotely creepy; he’s just Gerard Butler, running around an opera and doing his best sexy-eyes at Christine. The guy that plays Raoul is no better, and Minnie Driver as the divalicious Carlotta is just exhausting.
The real guilty pleasure in all this is the amount of detail lavished on the sets and costumes. The Opera is stunning, the costumes magnificent and everything seems to be locked down to the minutiae. Lloyd-Webber’s music is cool, if you view it through the lens of when it was popular on Broadway (the ’80’s) and very bombastic.
Overall, it’s not … good but it is a guilty pleasure, if only to laugh at the idiocy of the main characters and gaze upon some awesome sets and costumes. … And to see Gerard Butler attempt to act as a conflicted, disfigured person with lots of emo rage.
I suggest you all run off and read Cleolinda’s Movies In Fifteen Minutes Recap of Phantom of the Opera, which is far more hilarious and much more in depth than I could write — you can find it HERE.