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Movie Review: Phantom of the Opera

Alternate Title: The Good, the Bad and the Schmaltzy

Story: This is the sixth big screen incarnation of Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel. This time it is set to the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber based on his play now in its 16th year on Broadway.

If you like overdone, artificial, campy, ostentatious musicals brought to life on the big screen than this one's for you. Now I am not saying the aforementioned is a bad thing. I was expecting exactly what I got and I was very entertained.

The story as most of you know is about a Phantom who dwells in the Paris Opera house around 1870. He falls for the lovely ingenue Christine, who has fallen for a pure as the driven snow, Viscount. Jealousy, vengeance and rage make for great singing themes, tears, heaving bosoms, dry ice and melodrama.

If all of that and Webber's music does not move you than stay far away. I left the theater humming The Music of the Night.

FYI - If I were Christine - I would have chosen the Phantom not the Viscount. He was way more interesting and sexy. But that's me.

Acting: The young and lovely (though often too wide eyed) Emmy Rossum (Mystic River, Songcatcher) as Christine was very good. Gerald Butler as the Phantom worked for me. Patrick Wilson (Angels in America) was a fine Viscount and Minnie Driver as the diva Carlotta made me laugh (in a good way).

Predilection: I tend to like over the top musicals.

Critters: A monkey and two miniature poodles.

Food: No time to eat when you are always singing.

Visual Art: A visual cornucopia of tschotchkes and glitz.

Soundtrack: What can I say about Andrew Lloyd Webber that has not already been said before. You are either a fan or you want to put plugs in your ears.

Opening Titles: Simply the logo and the rose.

Theater Audience: We all would have fit in a box at the opera.

Drift Range: I did not drift at all. I found myself humming a bit (there was no one sitting near to me to be bothered by my off-tune semi-singing), laughing a bit, eye-rolling at times and smiling a lot.

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: It could have been shorter.

Big Screen or Rental: If you like this type of film than to the big screen you should go. For some other Joel Schumacher films try renting: Veronica Guerin, Tigerland, Batman and Robin, A Time To Kill, Batman Forever, The Client, Flatliners, The Lost Boys, St. Elmo's Fire and The Incredible Shrinking Woman.

Length: Two hours and twenty minutes.