Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Written by:Joel Schumacher, Andrew Lloyd Webber
Starring: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, Miranda Richardson, Minnie Driver, Ciaran Hinds, Simon Callow
Released: December 26, 2004
Grade: B-

Chicago was my favourite film of 2003 and I loved the way in which director Rob Marshall weaved the story amongst the famous music.  Director Joel Schumacher has not managed to do the same with The Phantom Of The Opera.  It plays out too much like an opera and you almost wish you were in a live theatre to experience it.

For those not familiar with the tale, Christine (played by Emmy Rossum) was orphaned as a youngster and grew up in the dormitories of the Paris Opera House.  Yearning to become a star of the stage, she has been secretly coached for many years by a mysterious “Phantom” (Gerard Butler) who lives deep underneath the famed Opera House.

When her chance finally arrives, Christine wows the audience with a brilliant performance.  It attracts the attention of her childhood sweetheart, Raoul (Wilson), and the two quickly fall in love.  This displeases The Phantom who wants Christine all to himself.  He will not give her up without a fight… 

This marks the first time that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s renowned opera has been brought to the silver screen.  Webber worked with Schumacher is crafting the film’s screenplay.  The sets are beautifully lavish but after the first half-hour, I tired quickly of the whole affair.  Each to their own but I felt it lacked romance and emotion.  The later songs were a bore.

The biggest qualm I had with the whole affair was the obvious lip-syncing.  I understand that you have to lip-sync in a motion picture (due to editing) but the final cut looked unnatural.  At times, the singer’s lips were hardly moving and yet the volume was inexplicably loud.  Say what you will but this annoyed the hell out of me.

There aren’t many big names in the cast but some will recognise Minnie Driver and Miranda Richardson.  I can’t say that any stood out was being impressive.  Although I’ll admit that Emmy Rossum (as Christine) has a beautiful voice.

Tip as an early Oscar frontrunner, The Phantom Of The Opera is fading away as other more worthy challengers are stepping up to the plate.