Vulcan’s Peak

Feeding my little obsession

February 24, 2005 1:23 am

I finally got to see the new Phantom of the Opera movie tonight – Tae, Elf, and I went out to an evening showing, and had a great time. We make an odd trio in regard to Phantom – it really isn’t an Elf-movie at all, and she reacted accordingly, which is fine. Tae enjoyed it – enough to see it a second time, if that tells you anything. And me? I’ve been a fanatic since seeing it in New York five years ago. Nothing could match the magic of the first time, but London last fall and now the film come as close as I could wish. Sometimes I wonder why I’m so caught up in such a neurotic cast of characters, but I am. The people, the setting, the music – it all speaks to me.

I had my doubts about this Christine (Emmy Rossum) the first time I heard her, but I’ve gotten to quite like her. No one can quite match Sarah Brightman (hell, the part was written for her, is it any wonder?), but there’s a clarity to her voice that I like. Gerard Butler’s Phantom is almost too good looking – one can hardly believe he is so disfigured under that mask. A friend has suggested that the rock-background of his voice doesn’t make sense, given that he is clearly adept at training voices for the opera, but I enjoyed the power in his voice. He does justice to The Music of the Night too, which I love. Still, I have fond memories of the Phantom I saw in London. The Christine and Raoul of that production were a bit weak, but the Phantom was magnificent and mellifluous. *sighs happily*

Patrick Wilson’s Raoul is a different look from the stereotypically tall, dark, and handsome Raouls I’ve seen before. I like it. More sympathetic, somehow.

The background that the film offers for the Phantom surprised me quite a bit – that’s never addressed in the stage version. It makes me want to re-read Leroux’s original novel, which offered hints, I remember, but I don’t recall exactly what was said. I was disappointed in the book when I read it five years ago, freshly starry-eyed after an evening on Broadway – probably because I wanted to re-live what I’d seen on the stage, and the book is a very different creature. It might be time to pick old Gaston Leroux up again. At any rate, Madame Giry’s inexplicable knowledge about the Phantom is made less inexplicable, though I’m not entirely sure I like it or buy it. We’ll pick that up again another time.

What is it about this story that I love so much? Besides the appealing spectacle and the catchy tunes, I think it has to do with enigmas and loneliness. I’ve always been drawn to characters with an air of mystery about them, whether it’s Robin Hood, Spock, Galadriel, the Man in Black, or Mairelon the Magician… (some of you will even be able to follow me through that, ha!) And though it isn’t something I’ve suffered from in recent years (thanks to an amazing group of friends and a roommate who might as well be my sister), I was a very lonely child for years after we moved here. Add to that some broad things about love and loss and impossible wishes that most anyone can empathize with and you have what has become one of my favorite stories.

So the film? It is worthy.

3 Responses to “Feeding my little obsession”

Pug wrote a comment on February 24, 2005

It appears I forgot to actually submit my earlier comment to this story, whoops!

Gist was that you pick good obsessions, I postulated that the Man in Black was Johnny Cash (as that was his nickname), and stated that after reading the first 8 pages of Mairelon the Magician on Amazon I was hooked and now required the services of the Library of Odette when next possible.

Tae wrote a comment on February 24, 2005

And here I was thinking that the Man in Black was referencing the Dread Pirate Roberts (AKA Westley, et al.). Both are cool though.

Odette wrote a comment on February 24, 2005

*chuckles* Tae, you’d be right.

Care to comment?