Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Shrill and shriller.



I think the most remarkable thing about Joel Shumacher's putrid recreation of Lord Andrew Llyod Weber's The Phantom of the Opera is how reverential it treats the source material. To quote Neil LaBute: "It's not fucking Medea." You'd never know as every single note from the original is preserved, Dolby Digitalized, and blasted back at deafening levels. Every cringe-inducing, subtextless lyric (basically all of them) has been kept for your amazement (I think my favorite goes: "Down once more/to the dungeon/of my black despair!/Down we plunge/to the prison/of my mind/Down that path/into darkness/deep as hell!"). They didn't even tweak the title song (which was dated when it premiered in 1986) with its Flock of Seagulls synth-bass and Kenny Loggins electric guitar solos. The basic fact is, which'll be obvious to most, Lord Lloyd Weber's musical is a complete turd. Joel Shumacher seems to be in awe of this turd (or at least has been paid to be). Shumacher is a worthless director, incapable of directing almost anything. Imagine two and half hours of that combo. It's not pretty.
To be fair, P.T. Anderson could be directing that fucker and I'd hate it. Avoid it, people. Avoid it.
(Just FYI: the second most remarkable aspect of the film is they picked a Phantom who can't sing. It's really humiliating to watch this poor guy attempt these high notes and belt those lyrics and he just can't. People, the Phantom of the Opera can't sing.)

6 Comments:

At 8:33 AM, Blogger Tim said...

Does Gerard Butler have Nosferatu fingers? This is different from the condition known as "hot dog fingers."

 
At 8:36 AM, Blogger Tim said...

"Lord Lloyd Webber's thorough acquaintance with the canon of 18th- and 19th-century classical music is not in doubt, but his attempt to force a marriage between that tradition and modern musical theater represents a victory of pseudo-populist grandiosity over taste - an act of cultural butchery akin to turning an aviary of graceful swans and brilliant peacocks into an order of Chicken McNuggets." - A.O. aka "Tony" Scott

 
At 10:06 AM, Blogger Joshua said...

Ben, it's utterly unremarkable that the movie is so reverential of its source material. If one single line was altered so much as a half-note the movie would serve no purpose. It's here just for the Phanatics. One either loves Phantom, or does not. A film version of it is therefore either great or terrible, no matter who was in charge. You could have let Mr. Noodle from Sesame Street direct it and you'd get exactly the same movie. But if you change the material, then you have a shitty movie that even shitty Phans will hate. And then what do you have? Corndogs, buddy, corndogs.

 
At 11:13 AM, Blogger Ben said...

Phanatics? Yikes.

 
At 1:38 PM, Blogger Joshua said...

I sometimes forget that straight guys aren't familiar with the Phanatics. Trust me, it is a bane upon the House of Gay.

 
At 7:11 PM, Blogger Tim said...

I think Richard Roeper just said, "if you can't get Baz Luhrmann, the next best choice is obviously Joel Schumacher, but..."

 

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