The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

5.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some nice visuals

Weak adaptation of the story and bland acting

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Phantom of the Opera

Studio:  Really Useful Films

Genre(s):  Musical/Drama/Horror/Romance

Release Date(s):  December 10, 2004 (UK)/January 21, 2005 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


I have to say Mr. Phantom that this is a really weird first date.

The Paris Opera House is under new ownership but facing a problem.  The building is allegedly haunted by the Phantom (Gerard Butler) who refuses to allow the productions to go on in any way but the way he demands.  When he sets his eyes on a talented young singer named Christine Daaé (Emmy Rossum), the Phantom demands she star in the next opera…and willing to stop anyone who gets in the way.  Though infatuated with the “Opera Ghost”, the Christine’s real love is her childhood friend Raoul (Patrick Wilson)…and with Raoul in the way, the Phantom will fight for Christine and her voice!

Directed by Joel Schumacher, The Phantom of the Opera is an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical based upon the 1909-1920 serial novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux.  The movie was met with a big box office draw but mixed reviews from critics.  The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Art Direction, and Best Original Song (“Learn to be Lonely”).


Dang, these people really enjoy singing in the sewers

Growing up the Lon Chaney Phantom of the Opera was always the scary man who had his masked ripped off, but in 1986, The Phantom of the Opera became a Broadway phenomenon that adhered a bit more to the novel which emphasized the gothic love story.  I saw the musical performed in London (which is always great when it is in an established theater for set purposes) but found it rather typical Andrew Lloyd Webber and kind of numb (though impressive visually)…the movie induces a similar reaction.

I like the gothic romance, but I think the movie gets a bit bogged down with it.  The horror is there, but it is primarily a romance and this version of the story doesn’t do a good job with the romance.  Despite the singing and longing looks, I don’t get much of a connection between the Phantom and Christine is obviously really connected to is a kind of non-romance that hurts the overall story since it tries to force the romance…hard.


I like my little monkey

The acting for the movie isn’t very good either. Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, and Patrick Wilson are all a bit over-the-top and doing stage acting in the film, leading to very wooden performances.  The style doesn’t really work here.  Minnie Driver is wasted as the uppity star Carlotta.  Other stars in the movies like Miranda Richardson and Ciarán Hinds could have also had more screen time to break up the melodrama.

The movie does have some nice looks and does sound good.  After Chicago won Best Picture, the musical came back in vogue and people were scrambling for material.  The film is brash and big looking, but it lacks feeling and is somewhat cold.  The stylized beginning and endings of the film try too hard and come off as a Tim Burton rip-off.

The Phantom of the Opera isn’t a very good movie.  The musical is marginally good, and this is a very bland adaptation of it.  Fans of musicals probably will enjoy it due to the lack of musicals in modern day, but those who are on the fence about musicals probably won’t be won over by this film.  It is unfortunate for musicals that there was such a rush to catch up with Chicago because you get musicals like this that feel more harmful to the genre than beneficial.

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Related Links:

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

The Phantom of the Opera (1962)

Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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