There are few more contentious movies than Joel Schumacher’s film of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s quasi-opera version of The Phantom of the Opera (2004). This is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it proposition. I have friends who think it’s the version of the story, friends who dislike its lack of horror, and one friend (at least) who walked out on it. I can’t say I’m baffled by any of these responses, though mine was in the strongly positive column—and it still is. I confess that the my original screening of the film may color my response, since I was able to schedule a showing that allowed me to surprise my Lloyd Webber obsessed daughter with an early viewing of the movie. It may have helped that the entire—small—audience thought it was wondeful. Good vibes do enhance a movie. Still, I think this is a brilliantly stylish film that got a lot of grief from three quarters—people who hate musicals, people who hate Andrew Lloyd Webber, and people who hate Joel Schumacher. Well, you see, I don’t hate musicals, I like some Lloyd Webber, and this is the movie where I came to terms with Schumacher. Whatever may be said about some of his other films, here is a case where he was perfectly suited to the material and its sheer sense of theater and spectacle. Here is what I wrote at the time: http://www.mountainx.com/movies/review/phantomoftheopera.php
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