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The Phantom of the Opera

There are a few problems with the film, namely that the musical direction is sadly American Idoled up toward the beginning, undermining the talents of the leads. They shine in later songs, but at the start they pay the price for the slight dumbing down of the music. The other problem is the crowd scenes, which lacked energy and focus.

Aside from those problems, this film has much to be praised. The cast is excellent. Minnie Driver practically steals the show as Carlotta and Miranda Richardson lends exactly the right mystery to the ballet mistress. Emmy Rossum is introduced as Christine and Gerard Butler as the Phantom - both are clearly capable of excellent performances, but both suffer early on from poor musical direction. Both have shining moments later in the film, however. Patrick Wilson is well-sung as Raoul.

The photography (excluding the crowd scenes) offers some very cool effects, particularly the very grainy black and white of the "present day" auction scenes. One of the best touches in this film is the makeup. Both the deformation of the Phantom and the age makeups on Richardson and Wilson are excellent.

Overall, this is fun to look at, nice to hear. The story is well-told. It's not spectacular though, and it should have been.