I’d like to see the screen adaptation to the world’s biggest stage musical ~ Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera since before Christmas. But, holidays and tsunami’s calls put it on the back of my mind until today…
The movie starts by showing the grey-depressing scene of Paris Opera House in 1911. Inside, an auction of items from the now defunct opera house is conducted. Who is the frail old man and old woman who attend the auction and bid the same monkey-figurine music box? The familiar beating rhythm of “The Phantom” song then accompanies the exposure of the wreckage chandelier. (I like this song… for me it’s a perfect manifestation of the Phantom’s bitter outcry towards the world.)
The movie ends when the frail old man put the music box that he gets from the auction at Madame de Chagny’s resting place… and right by the tomb he sees the Phantom’s signatory red rose, black ribbon,… and a diamond ring! What a dramatic and touching ending!
Well, if you’ve ever seen its stage play, you will not see some scenes created in this movie. Lloyd Webber said that in the play, the Phantom sends the opera house’s massive chandelier crashing to the stage right before the intermission. Since films don’t commonly have intermissions any more, he proposed moving that famous moment to the end of the movie, which changes the climax of the story. “What the Phantom’s doing is destroying the whole world he loved by that one action. It’s very different from what it is in the theater, which is a vague act of revenge toward Christine.”
Some other makeovers are the age of actress who plays Christine (she’s 17 years old ~ to perfectly portrays the innocence of her character); the history of the Phantom (to answer the movie audience questions of who, why, and how the Phantom is what he is now and what’s the character of his relationship with Madame Giry); the new songs; and more dashing Raoul who literally rides on a white horse to save Christine and lock swords with the Phantom. (The old frail man is actually Raoul.)
If you’ve seen its stage musical or have read the book, I think you’d agree with me… that it’s indeed one of the tragic but deadly love story. This romantic musical epic is about a mysterious disfigured musical genius, Erik, who is hidden away in the bowel of 19th century Paris Opera House, terrorizes the opera company for the unwitting benefit of a young protege whom he trains and loves. The young protege is a beautiful young soprano, Christine Daaé, who goes on to upstage the city’s most famous opera singer, Carlotta. The Phantom thinks he’s found love, until Christine’s childhood boyfriend, Raoul (Vicomte de Chagny) shows up. Then, the two fall in love. It makes Erik, the Phantom, angry and vows for war to both of them.
Which one do you like, the movie, the stage musical, or the book? Hm… I can’t decide. Can you?
I recommend you to read the book, watch the movie, hear the songs, and be ready to feel the darkness and intensity of the Phantom’s heart and soul. Link to the electronic text of Gaston Leroux’s book: The Phantom of the Opera (courtesy of Bibliomania).
The phantom of the opera is there,
Inside my mind…
Love me, that’s all I ask of you…