Thursday, December 23, 2004

Really... the Butler Did It...

Last night was the opening night (in select cities...) of the movie version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. Like the good homo that I am, I went to see it last night with my parents. I had read a couple of reviews before going to the movie and they were both pretty bad. I have glanced at the chorus of reviews this morning and most of them, with a couple of exceptions, were pretty bad. I'm generally not one to pile one when someone's down... and I won't this time either. I'm not going to bore you with the recap of the story -- here's the real scoop.

My basic feeling was this: if you hate Andrew Lloyd Webber, you'll hate this movie. If you love Andrew Lloyd Webber and are a true devotee of the music, you'll have issues with the movie. If you're somewhere in the middle (as I am), you should enjoy it. For those of you straddling the fence, here is the one thing that should make you go see this movie--

ALW's The Phantom gets a B in the hunk factor. Number one, Gerard Butler stars as the Phantom. Now it's true that the Phantom is supposed to be both scary and sympathetic and Schumacher really toned down The Phantom's deformity, leaving Butler's face only half covered. Butler also doesn't have the edge that is going to strike fear in your heart and his voice is mediocre. Nonetheless, it it still Gerard Butler. For those of you who did not ogle his fine shirtless form in Tomb Raider 2: Laura Croft and the Cradle of Life, drop what you're doing and go rent it NOW. For those of you who have, you'll miss his adorable Scottish brogue, but you can't escape the fact that the man is just irresistably hot. I don't care if half his face is hideously deformed, he can take me any time he wants.

Number 2, Patrick Wilson stars as Raoul, Butler's competition for Christine's love. I took special note of Patrick and his fine uncovered flesh in the HBO version of Angels in America, where he plays a closeted Mormon (it just feeds into my Latter Days fetish) . To be honest, Wilson looked MUCH better in A in A - he didn't look nearly as much like a weasel - but his voice is very good and if I can enjoy Gerard Butler with a half deformed face, I can deal with Patrick Wilson looking slightly more weasel-y than normal.

Honestly, the hunk factor could have been higher, but neither of the guys ended up shirtless, which is understandable, considering the subject material, but standards are standards, right? We need to see some flesh for an "A."

The third major character, Christine, is played by Emmy Rossum. Of course, she's not Sarah Brightman. Get over it. Rossum fit the part beautifully. She is pretty, her voice is sweet and not overpowering, and she comes off as completely unpretentious, which is exactly what the part calls for. She gets an A.

I wouldn't be a gay man if I didn't mention the diva. Minnie Driver plays La Carlotta, who Shumacher plays off as much more Italian than what I remember in the Original Cast Recording. Three words for you - FAB-U-LOUS. Think Whitney, Mariah and Celine all rolled into one but with a fabulous poodle. Love her, love her, love her. Who hasn't entertained the idea of being the primadonna and commanding the adulation of the masses? Driver is an absolute gem in this role.

All in all, I give this movie two snaps up, which is pretty hard to beat.

On a more personal note, watching this movie was basically a time warp back to my highschool days where I was a closeted lil' choir fag and Phantom was all the rage. We sang several parts of it in those days and I knew (still do) the Original Cast recording by heart. It brough back some very happy memories, though I'd beat you to death with a monkey shaped music box if you tried to make me go back to those days.


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