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What's the story?
In this musical based on Gaston Leroux's story, a brilliant masked madman (Gerard Butler) who lives under the opera house falls in love with the exquisite young soprano Christine, (Emmy Rossum). She believes he is the angel of music, sent to teach her by her dead father. But he's no angel and will do anything to make Christine a star and possess her. At first, Christine is mesmerized by the Phantom. He brings her his cavernous home deep below the stage and sings to her, inspiring her to sing with passion. And just as the theater owner sells the place to two scrap metal dealers, the phantom arranges to have Christine get the starring role in the opera's newest production. The new team has a new patron -- a handsome young nobleman named Raoul (Patrick Wilson) who was once Christine's childhood sweetheart. He and Christine fall in love but the Phantom will not allow Christine to be with anyone else, even if it means destroying everything he cares about.
Is it any good?
Despite lavish settings and costumes, and sweeping camera movement, the sumptuously produced PHANTOM OF THE OPERA feels static, stuffy, and stagey. Much of it takes place on a stage and there's very little action -- people stand still and sing rather than move, or, well, act.
Overheated emotions set to Andrew Lloyd Weber's purplish music are so inherently "theatrical" that the film cannot be as effective as the stage play, and the performances are more about the music than the story. Christine, Raoul, and the Phantom sing in the theater, they sing in the caverns, they sing in a graveyard, and they sing at a masked ball. But the bland Gerard Butler as the Phantom never conveys the menace or the allure of the brilliant madman who hears the music of the night.
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