Paper Faces On Parade...
Overall, I liked this film adaptation of the show. It was very true to the actual stage production (which I saw in Toronto in 1997). For those that don't know, Phantom is the story of a disfigured musical genius known only as The Phantom (Gerard Butler), who lives in the dungeons of the Opera Populaire in 1870's Paris. There he trains and falls in love with the young chorus girl Christine (Emmy Nossum). The opera house then comes under new management and new patronage in the form of Christine's childhood sweetheart, Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny (Patrick Wilson). The Phantom demands that the new owners give Christine the lead in the opera, infuriating the opera house's reigning diva, Carlotta (Minnie Driver). They refuse, and the Phantom learns of the blossoming love between Christine and Raoul, with disastrous results.
I did feel that Gerard Butler, while superb in a dramatic/acting sense, left much to be desired with his singing abilities. Emmy Nossum was fantastic, as was Patrick Wilson. I have to say though, that Minnie Driver nearly stole the show with her performance as Carlotta. Funny, sparkling, and with an impressive vocal performance, she adds the perfect comedic catharsis to an otherwise somber tale.
The sets and costumes are breathtaking. They completely transport you to another world, accomplishing what the words "Once upon a time" and "in a land far, far away" once accomplished for fairy tales.
If you're a fan of the stage Phantom, or of theater or musicals in general, I highly recommend this.