The Reel Deal and Other Bad Jokes
Saturday, December 25, 2004
It's Here...Inside My Mind
I went to see Andrew Lloyd Weber's The Phantom of the Opera last week and have been unable to get the music out of my head. I wouldn't categorize myself as a "phan" and I would probably have been better served not to watch it with one, as he sang along under his breath the whole time. But on the whole it was a good movie, bravo!

(I'm sorry I don't know anything about movies, editing, cinematography, lighting, etc. but Justin assured me this was not a prerequisite)

The main story of The Phantom of course is of a psychotic genius (Opera Ghost, OG, Eric) and a rich, young viscompt (Raoul), both in love with a beautiful opera singer (Christine), torn between her innocent childhood love for Raoul and her desire for the dark side. You know the story; it's one of the basics.

One of the delightful little gimmicks of the story is that it is framed, a flashback story. I shouldn't say much; I don't want to ruin it for those of you unfamiliar with the work. The brilliance of this adaptation for me lies in the difference between the past and present. First of all, the past is in color and the present in black and white; quite novel. And the cool thing about the black and white is the grainy quality of it, very old-timey (that's a technical term, dontcha know). And the initial transition between the two is spectacular. It's like magic rolling through the opera house, shining the statues and sweeping away cobwebs and restoring this dilapidated grey place to the splendorous and extravagant theatre of old. Oh, it gives me goosebumps.

The acting is good, the soundtrack is spectacular. Gerard Butler is everything the phantom could ever hope to be: sexy, sadistic, impassioned, ingenious, heartbreaking. The set is beyond comprehension. It's everything a stage show could never really have. Joel Schumaker directed it and has an uncanny understanding of perspective. Things appear to the viewer as they appear to the subjects in question. A corridor seems creepy when one person walks down it and magically mysterious when another does. The camera-work is sometimes frenetic, sometimes peaceful, always captivating and apropos. It's a masterpiece.

Anyway, it comes highly recommended by an actress/singer who watches too many movies for the well-being of her checkbook. If that means much to you, go see it. I know I will be there tomorrow and Tuesday nights. Come see it in Boise if you're nearby; we can say hi. If not, January whatever will be a good day for you all, I'm sure.

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