The Phantom of the Opera
Special Edition, Collector's Edition
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Phantom of the Opera: Special Edition (Dbl DVD)
Musical Drama based on Andrew Lloyd Webber's celebrated musical phenomenon. The Phantom of the Opera tells the story of a disfigured musical genius (Gerard Butler) who haunts the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera, waging a reign of terror over its occupants. When he falls fatally in love with the lovely Christine (Emmy Rossum), the Phantom devotes himself to creating a new star for the Opera, exerting a strange sense of control over the young soprano as he nurtures her extraordinary talents.]]>
Although it's not as bold as Oscar darling Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera continues the resuscitation of the movie musical with a faithful adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's blockbuster stage musical. Emmy Rossum glows in a breakout role as opera ingénue Christine Daae, and if phantom Gerard Butler isn't Rossum's match vocally, he does convey menace and sensuality in such numbers as "The Music of the Night." The most experienced musical theater veteran in the cast, romantic lead Patrick Wilson, sings sweetly but seems wooden. The biggest name in the cast, Minnie Driver, hams it up as diva Carlotta, and she's the only principal whose voice was dubbed (though she does sing the closing-credit number, "Learn to Be Lonely," which is also the only new song).
Director Joel Schumacher, no stranger to visual spectacle, seems to have found a good match in Lloyd Webber's larger-than-life vision of Gaston LeRoux's Gothic horror-romance. His weakness is cuing too many audience-reaction shots and showing too much of the lurking Phantom, but when he calms down and lets Rossum sings "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" alone in a silent graveyard, it's exquisite.
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The special edition of The Phantom of the Opera has two major extras. "Behind the Mask: The Story of The Phantom of the Opera" is an hourlong documentary tracing the genesis of the stage show, with interviews of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Harold Prince, producer Cameron Macintosh, lyricists Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart, choreographer Gillian Lynne, and others. Conspicuously absent are stars Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. Both do appear in video clips, including Brightman performing with Colm Wilkinson at an early workshop, and Crawford is the subject of a casting segment. Other brief scenes from the show are represented by a 2001 production. The other major feature is the 45-minute making-of focusing on the movie, including casting and the selection of director Joel Schumacher Both are well-done productions by Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group.
The deleted scene is a new song written by Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart, "No One Would Listen," sung by the Phantom toward the end of the movie. It's a beautiful song that, along with Madame Giry's story, makes him a more sympathetic character. But because that bit of backstory already slowed down the ending, it was probably a good move to cut the song. --David Horiuchi
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This is one of my favorites. The movie obviously had MUCH MORE MONEY which makes every scene just spectacular, the colors, the music, the costumes....oh my! It's a classic along with Chicago -- the movie was actually better as well. it's like saying the movie is better than the book, but once in a while, it happens. MOVIE to watch on repeat.
However, I think its worth noting that the music and sound effects overlay is top-notch. On a 5.1 sound system of any worth, it really shines. This DVD is among the finest of any 5.1 presentation I've seen as it smartly uses all speakers in the manner they were meant to be employed. It brings you into the atmosphere of the film without tempting you to look over your shoulder at the speakers behind you.
I purchased the blue-ray version for it's high definition quality. I imagined seeing this film in high definition 1080i only to be disappointed in finding
that it is just in standard definition 420i. If you have the 2 disc dvd with the special features, there is nothing extra in the blue-ray.
This Blue-ray has the the same standard definition as DVD, which I already had.
I did not know all Blue-ray discs are NOT in High Definition.
Something to ask for my future blue-ray purchases.
Masquerade! Look around - there's another mask behind you!
Those two lines from one of my favorite songs in my favorite Broadway musical analogize perfectly the amount of different leads that I've seen in the role of the Phantom.
When you've seen the best in a role it is hard to appreciate the next guy as much. Michael Crawford was by far the superior Phantom. He acted the part well, with emotion and an unparalleled vocal performance. Howard McGillin (who can still be seen on Broadway) is also excellent. So Gerard Butler had some very very big shoes to fill...and he filled them well.
But Butler's voice was not as powerful (or it did not come through as so in the film version) as Crawford's or even McGillen's. To try to put it in perspective, would you go to see Pavarotti if you knew his understudy would be doing the performance? Seeing Butler in the role will be just fine for anyone who's not experienced Crawford or McGillin, but for me it came across as a very good understudy performance. This is the reason the film gets 4 instead of 5 stars; I am of the opinion that the film producers settled when there was a better leading man option somewhere out there.
On the other hand, Emmy Rossum shocked me in the film. She was as amazing as the first time that I heard and saw the part of Christine played live by Sarah Brightman.
Ultimately, I enjoyed the film immensely. After seeing the Broadway show more than a half-dozen times, I was quite skeptical that the film version would/could do the production justice. I was pleasantly surprised. The movie version looked great and the sound was absolutely terrific.
But like any musical performance on DVD, if you've ever seen the live show you can't come close to comparing the audio experience unless you have a surround sound system and the DVD is offered (like Phantom is) in DTS or Dolby 5.1. It really makes a giant difference if you have to experience a musical performance in the far inferior standard 2.0 stereo versus 5.1 or better offerings.
Not that Phantom (or other musical performances) can't be enjoyed without a surround system. Especially if you've NOT had the opportunity to see the live show to compare it to.
So, first I'd recommend coming to New York and seeing the 5-star live performance of Phantom of the Opera on Broadway before it closes. Don't want to make the trip?...Then spend the money on a good surround system instead, and pick up the film version of Phantom for your collection. Don't want to travel? Don't want to upgrade? Already have surround? Then the film version will do just fine. Well worth the price of admission.