The Phantom of the Opera (2004 film)

The Phantom of the Opera (2004 film)

Infobox Film
name = The Phantom of the Opera


caption = Promotional poster for "Phantom of the Opera"
writer = Andrew Lloyd Webber
Charles Hart
Richard Stilgoe
Joel Schumacher
starring = Gerard Butler
Emmy Rossum
Patrick Wilson
Miranda Richardson
Minnie Driver
Simon Callow
Ciarán Hinds
Jennifer Ellison
director = Joel Schumacher
producer = Andrew Lloyd Webber
cinematography = John Mathieson
art direction = Anthony Pratt
costumes = Alexandra Byrne
distributor = Warner Bros. (USA)
Universal Studios (Latin America and Australia)
released = December 22 2004
runtime = 143 min.
language = English
budget = US$70 million
gross = US$51.2 million
imdb_id = 0293508

"The Phantom of the Opera" is a 2004 film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart's 1986 stage musical, which is based on the novel of the same name by Gaston Leroux. The film was written and directed by Joel Schumacher and Webber and Webber produced the film. The cast includes Gerard Butler as the Phantom, Emmy Rossum (who was only 17 at the time of filming) as Christine Daaé, Patrick Wilson as Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, Miranda Richardson as Madame Giry, Jennifer Ellison as Meg Giry, and Minnie Driver (whose vocals were dubbed by Margaret Preece, a professional opera singer) as Carlotta Giudicelli. Ramin Karimloo (who had been playing Raoul in the London production of "Phantom" at the time of filming) appeared in a cameo role as Christine's father.

The film was a USA/UK co-production that had various distributors worldwide. For example, Warner Bros. (a main production partner) distributed the film in the USA, and Universal Pictures (producers and/or distributors of the 1925, 1943, and 1962 adaptations of the book) released the film in Latin America and Australia.

Plot

Derived from the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which was based on the novel by Gaston Leroux, the film begins in a grainy black and white, as the effects of the Paris Opera House are being sold off at auction. Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny, now an old wheelchair-bound man purchases a coveted music box. During the auction, Raoul spots a familiar figure, Mme. Giry, whom he met as a young man. But he is distracted by the next piece for auction, Lot 666; a chandelier in pieces which has been restored and newly electrically wired. As the auctioneers display the restored chandelier, the opening crescendo of music wipes away the years of decay from the opera house, and the audience is transported back in time to 1870, the beginning of the story, when the opera was in its prime.

A disfigured musical genius, the "Phantom", (played by Gerard Butler) lives within the deepest recess of the opera house. Tormented by his scarred face, the Phantom lives in the watery labyrinths beneath the Opera Populaire in Paris. After nearly ten years of quiet obsession with the delicate, ethereal voice of Christine Daae (Emmy Rossum), and the beautiful young soprano herself, he plots to place his protege at center stage.

Christine is torn between her love for Raoul (Patrick Wilson), a childhood sweetheart who has returned into her life, and her dark, undeniable attraction to and pity for the Phantom. Jealous and possessive, the Phantom plots to make Christine his, resorting to stalking her wherever she goes as well as killing several people. A tense swordfight later ensues in the cemetery, where Raoul eventually disarms him and almost decides to kill him before Christine pleads for him not to, "not like this". His rage seemingly augmented, the Phantom angrily states, "Now, let it be war on you both". During the night's play he steals Christine away and avoids the trap to be captured by Raoul and the managers. After a series of tense, chaotic sequences, the Phantom imprisons Raoul, who attempts to save Christine, and threatens to strangle him to death if Christine does not choose the Phantom.

Struck by the desperation of his actions as well as a revelation of how dark his past must be, Christine kisses him and displays her deep affection - showing that she loves both Raoul and the Phantom, but in different ways - something which he has never received from anyone. Her kindness and the love in her eyes so deeply touches the Phantom that, ashamed of what he's done, he allows Christine and Raoul to leave. Just before she departs with Raoul on the boat, Christine approaches the Phantom, who helplessly tells her that he loves her, and gives him the diamond ring from her finger. After using a candlestick to smash every mirror in his underground lair, he disappears behind a velvet curtain into an empty glass mirror portal, before the police arrive. Upon entering, Meg Giry (Jennifer Ellison), the ballet mistress's daughter, finds only the phantom's white mask.

Later, the grainy black and white picture dominates as the elderly Raoul rides to a cemetery where we find out that Christine has since died. He lays the toy monkey at her grave site, and notices that on the left of the tombstone lies a red rose (a trademark of the Phantom) with the engagement ring attached to it.

Casting the film

The casting for the two leading roles was a rather lengthy process. Patrick Wilson, who later got the part of Raoul, had initially auditioned for the title role of The Phantom. The director later felt he was better to play Raoul because his voice matched the character better.Fact|date=March 2008 Several actors were considered to play the title role including John Travolta and Antonio Banderas. Originally offered the role, Travolta turned it down because he felt the film wouldn't work, while Banderas, a skilled singer, took several months off from acting to train for the part, before he was turned down. Hugh Jackman was up for the role, but he lost the role at the last minute after the director heard him singing. He felt that he looked right for the part, but something about his voice wasn't good enough.Fact|date=March 2008 Gerard Butler finally won the role after several intense screen tests. Casting for the role of Christine Daae took longer. Classical Brit Awards winning star Charlotte Church dubbed the Voice of an angel was the favourite for the role but turned it down as it was specified that she would have to lose weight for the role which she declined to do. Keira Knightley and Katie Holmes were also in the running. Holmes had secured the part but the director refused to cast her because he felt that she was too old for the part; she reportedly impressed him with her voice.Fact|date=March 2008 Anne Hathaway was under consideration as well. She was praised for her voice and auditioned several times, almost earning the part. Just as the contract was sent to her however, she was forced to decline due to overlapping schedules with the "Princess Diaries" sequel, although she tried to make it work. Emmy Rossum eventually won the part.

tage version vs. film version

While the film remained somewhat faithful to the original libretto of the stage show, many changes were made. Some scenes were added; others were deleted; some songs were shortened or deleted; some lines that were sung on stage were spoken in the movie, as well as minor changes in the lyrics to suit the scenes. In addition, several changes were made to the story.

The famous chandelier crash - used to close Act One on stage - was moved to the film's climax after the song "The Point of No Return", and becomes a crucial plot point in that it explains the destruction of the opera house, which is set on fire as a result of the crash. This, as well as some other changes, was kept for "Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular", a modified stage production modelled mostly after the film. The chandelier crash also received computer-generated imagery alterations. For example, before reaching the floor, the chandelier's cables rip through the ceiling of the Opera House where this would be all but impossible on a live stage.

Changes were also made to some of the characters and their backgrounds. In the film, Madame Giry first meets the Phantom when they are both children and helps him escape from imprisonment in a carnival, after which he spends his entire life living at the Opera. In both the original book and the stage adaptation, the Phantom winds up in the carnival as an adult after travelling the world and spending time in Persia. Also, during the film scene in which Christine visits her father's grave, a sword-fight ensues between Raoul and the Phantom. In the stage production, the Phantom stands upon the grave and attacks the couple with small blasts of fire from his torch. The Phantom's makeup for the film was changed from the stage and made much more subtle and natural as it would not be required to impact from afar, although the scarred face that ultimately was revealed proved to be far less horrific than one would have anticipated given Christine's description of it as well as the Phantom's anguish, and proved to be a bone of contention with many critics. The Phantom's various magical tricks (such as his sudden disappearances) were also demystified and fully explained in the film.

The pivotal unmasking of the Phantom was made more dramatic; unlike on the stage, close-ups could be afforded. Furthermore, there was a noticeable increase in the action and drama of the film incarnation, examples including the various sword-fighting sequences absent from the stage version. The Phantom's subterranean lair was enlarged and given various new furnishings including candles that lit themselves automatically (these were actually accomplished with a special type of candle which would light itself when brought out from underwater, instead of using CGI).

The ending of the movie was also very different from the play. The movie ends with the Phantom smashing all of the mirrors and walking through a passage behind one of them. There is also an added scene at the end which takes place after the auction at the opera house in 1919. The elderly Raoul visits the cemetery and places the monkey music box on Christine's grave. There he finds a rose tied with a black ribbon and the ring, which indicates that the Phantom is still alive at this time. The play however ends just after Christine and Raoul leave the lair in the boat; the Phantom notes of Christine that "you alone can make my song take flight; it's over now, the music of the night!" He sits in a large throne and covers himself in his cape. When Meg and the mob enter, she lifts the cape only to find the Phantom's white mask.

Cast

*Gerard Butler as The Phantom
*Emmy Rossum as Christine Daaé
*Patrick Wilson as Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny
*Miranda Richardson as Madame Giry
*Minnie Driver as Carlotta Giudicelli
*Simon Callow as André
*Ciarán Hinds as Firmin
*Victor McGuire as Piangi
*Jennifer Ellison as Meg Giry
*Murray Melvin as Reyer
*Kevin McNally as Buquet
*James Fleet as Lefevre

Notes

Minnie Driver herself does lend her actual singing voice to the film's end title song, "Learn To Be Lonely", written by Lloyd Webber and Hart exclusively for the film. The tune for "Learn to Be Lonely" was originally intended for an additional song to be sung by the Phantom during the film, called "No One Would Listen" (originally to have had lyrics by David Zippel, who adapted a few lines of the musical for the movie due to changes in the staging), but the song was removed for pacing reasons (It is included as an extra on some editions of the DVD).

Trafalgar Square Publishing has issued "The Phantom of the Opera Companion", a definitive account of the tale, tracing the legend from its origins, and through all its artistic incarnations, to the contemporary theater production and film. It includes the complete screenplay and more than 150 photographs from both the film and theater productions worldwide.

The soundtrack has been released on CD.

Warner Home Video released the film on HD DVD on March 28, 2006 and on Blu-ray Disc on October 31, 2006. [Business Wire. [http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/060105/20060105005946.html?.v=1 Warner Home Video Announces Titles and Release Dates for HD DVD] . January 5, 2006.] It would be one of the earliest titles to be released on high-definition. The HD DVD audio track features Dolby TrueHD.

Awards and nominations

Wins

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films
* Best Performance by a Younger Actor - Emmy Rossum

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards
* Best Young Actress - Emmy Rossum

National Board of Review
* Female Breakthrough Performance - Emmy Rossum

San Diego Film Critics Society Awards
* Best Cinematography - John Mathieson (tied with Christopher Doyle for Hero)

Young Artist Awards
* Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress - Emmy Rossum

Nominations

2005 Academy Awards
* Art Direction - Anthony Pratt
* Cinematography - John Mathieson
* Original Song - Learn to Be Lonely

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films
* Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film
* Best Costumes - Alexandra Byrne

Art Directors Guild
* Feature Film - Period or Fantasy Film - Anthony Pratt

Costume Designers Guild Awards
* Excellence in Costume Design for Film - Period/Fantasy - Alexandra Byrne

Golden Globe
* Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
* Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy - Emmy Rossum
* Best Original Song - Motion Picture - Learn to Be Lonely

Online Film Critics Society Awards
* Best Breakthrough Performance - Emmy Rossum

Young Artist Awards
* Best Family Feature Film - Comedy or Musical

Critical reaction

The film was met with mixed reviews upon its release, the general critical consensus being that it was visually spectacular but lacked any truly compelling sense of romance or danger. [ [http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/ent_index/53366.php "Film version lacking"] by Phil Villareal, "Arizona Daily Star", December 22, 2004, retrieved September 1, 2006] [ [http://www.rottentomatoes.com/click/movie-1139573/reviews.php?critic=columns&sortby=default&page=1&rid=1348060 "Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera (2004)"] by Jeffrey Westhoff, "Northwest Herald", 2004, retrieved September 2, 2006] [ [http://www.horror.com/php/article-654-1.html "The Phantom of the Opera (2004)"] by Staci Layne Wilson, horror.com, 2004, retrieved September 2, 2006]

Gerard Butler, who had no formal vocal training prior to the film, was criticized for not having the full vocal range needed to play the title character. Joel Schumacher states in the special features of the DVD that he intended "to make [the film] , probably about 14 or 15 years ago with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman" to which Andrew Lloyd Webber adds "then frankly, I started to split up with Sarah and things were getting a bit bumpy between us" and Schumacher concludes "we had to put it on a shelf for a minute there". In many interviews, Andrew Lloyd Webber said that Butler was chosen specifically for the emotional, rocky quality of his voice as a juxtaposition against Patrick Wilson's much sweeter singing style.

Popular response, however, was much more positive, with the movie maintaining a spot in the top ten grossing movies of the week, for a month, even in limited release. As it was outgrossed by "The Incredibles" and "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie", however, domestic box office receipts overall fell short of the film's $60-70 million USD budget. When foreign box office receipts were added in, it quickly made a profit, earning over $100 million overseas. [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0293508/business Business data for "The Phantom of the Opera"] , IMDb.com, retrieved November 5, 2006.]

ee also

*"The Phantom of the Opera" Soundtrack

References

External links

* [http://phantomthemovie.warnerbros.com/ "The Phantom of the Opera"] official home page
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