Not everyone is a musical fan, but if you are, chances are Phantom of the Opera is on the list of your favorites. Phantom of the Opera is especially one of my favorites, and I took such an interest in it that I researched all of the way back to Gaston Leroux’s story, La Fantome de L’Opera, which has inspired many film adaptations. Leroux’s version of the story was published early in the 1900’s and took place in the late 1800’s. Within the first lines of the book Leroux claimed that The Phantom of the Opera was a real person and that the story is based off of true events. Because I was so infatuated with the musical it made my head spin to think that the origin story might be REAL!
I’ve never seen Sir Webber’s musical live, though I wish I have, but I’ve seen enough video clips of it on YouTube to know Ramin Karimloo is the greatest Phantom of all time. When I first watched the 2004 movie I thought it was iconic and I would name it one of my favorite movies for years to come, but after seeing many film adaptations of Broadway musicals and also falling in love with the live version of the production, I found a good share of faults within the 2004 movie. These are my reasons why there should be a Phantom of the Opera musical Remake:
1. Gerard Butler was too handsome. Anyone whose seen the original movie would agree that it isn’t hard to follow Gerard Butler (aka The Phantom) down the dark candle lit tunnel leading to his lair. Angel of Music McDreamy, am I right? I don’t hate the fact they made the Phantom younger and more attractive than he’s actually suppose to be, but I hate the fact that I like him so much right from the beginning. The audience should be worried about Christine and more weary of the masked man. Character development would leave the audience with much more grief by the end of the movie when he sets Christine free and she leaves him. When Christine tells him- “God give me courage to show you/ you are not alone” and gives him the iconic kiss we shouldn’t be expecting it, but shocked, and inevitably enthused. Especially by the unmasking scene of the Phantom there should be a dramatic horror-like feeling that makes an audience member say EW WHAT? Rather than OH HOW DID HE GET BURNED?
If you’ve ever scene images of the live Phantom of the Opera you know that his face is much more gruesome and monster like. I would have liked to see a more torn up Phantom that would further explain his mother’s early abandonment of him. The Phantom is suppose to be skeleton-like, not male model-like.
2. Someone tell me why Christine is so young? During the make of the 2004 production, Emmy Rossum (aka Christine Daae) was only seventeen-eighteen years old. Now I’m all for companies use of young and upcoming actors and actresses, but when I think of Christine Daae I definitely don’t think of a teenage girl. It is never really said how old Christine is suppose to be, but a good comfortable age would be around mid twenties to partner her up with Raoul the Vicomte and the middle aged Phantom. Emmy Rossum at the time was just too young, not that they didn’t make her look old enough. Anne Hathaway was up for the role and would have gotten it if it weren’t for the Princess Diaries Two being shot at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m SO happy she extended Princess Diaries, but I really would have liked to see her in the Christine role after her performance in Les Miz. Emmy is an excellent singer and her acting skills weren’t bad at the time either, but there was something in her performance that she lacked connection-wise to the character and story.
3. Scenes that don’t matter were dragged too long. This is more of a boring factor on the list, but I had to include it. After seeing the movie so many time I find myself fast forwarding through certain scenes I don’t care much for or that I feel go on too long: like Madame Giry explaining The Phantom’s back story to Raoul. I LOVED THE FOOTAGE OF THE YOUNG PHANTOM, but everything else felt unnecessary. It makes Madame Giry look weak and out of control when I always found that she was a strong and intimidating character. Another scene I feel drags on is Raoul’s close encounter with drowning as he travels to find The Phantom’s lair. If they were to do it over I would like to see more character building scenes rather than wasted dialogue and filler action scenes.
4. Poor Lip Syncing. Ever since Les Miz did live voice recording for their movie in 2012 the musical game has forever been changed. The lip synching in The Phantom of the Opera is usually tolerable, but there are some scenes where you can’t help but notice it. Like Music of the Night, there are a few lines Gerard doesn’t mouth quite right, and in Think of Me, I’m not sure if Emmy is really feeling it. With this issue I think it’s just a matter of laziness or lack of preciseness from the director. I would definitely like to see a remake where the singing is something you feel and connect to visually and audibly.
5. Not serious enough. Now hear me out, musicals can sometimes be hard to take seriously, but Phantom is one of those stories where you should walk away re-evaluating your life rather than doting on the fact Christine chose Raoul instead of the Phantom. There is a deeper message than simply love and fear, but acceptance, and representation and even mental illness. The Phantom was mentally ill: he killed people, secluded himself, obsessed over Christine, and had an overall hatred for humanity. He wanted to trick Christine into thinking he was this Angel she claimed he was. Maybe in some ways he believed he actually was the Angel of Music, because of his musical ego.
Christine is suppose to literally be enchanted and overtaken by him as if she is being brainwashed. In the movie it felt like she was genuinely curious and almost in love with him, besides the scene after Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again when he pretends to be her father from the grave. That is the feel their encounters should hold. I think it is important for Christine to show a certain amount of love and admiration for the Phantom so that when she leaves him in the end it feels heart breaking for both of them.
Need less to say, there were times when the actors and director just didn’t take their roles serious enough and only scraped the surface of the story.
I WOULDN’T HAVE CALLED IT ONE OF MY FAVORITE MOVIES FOR NOTHING, THOUGH.
In fact, I think there were a lot of things they did right: Each vocalist was amazing (surprisingly Gerard Butler has the perfect Phantom voice), the casting of Carlotta, the casting of Raoul (even though his wig was a bit much), the set design and locations, costumes, and the fullness of each song and wild scene. Sometimes it’s hard to capture the full emotional and utilize all the space of a certain scene or song and they really did conquer that with this production.
Regardless, I think it’s time to up the expectations and tweak the mistakes in a new movie. THE MUSIC IS TOO LEGENDARY NOT TO REUSE IT. PLUS IT’S BEEN THIRTEEN YEARS SINCE THE LAST PHANTOM MOVIE. IT IS TIME, PEOPLE.
Thank you for reading! Please leave comments or suggestions for movies or shows you want me to beat up and/or gush about next!