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the world through the eyes of sweet melancholy. about the arts, science, and personal affairs.
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this kinda is a review of the 2004 film adaptation “The Phantom of the Opera” by Joel Schumacher, with some minor semi-biographic input by me.

to my shame i have to admit that i haven’t seen this movie until today. i always wanted to, but i could not manage to do so (as with at least a hundred other films). okay, one reason was that i could not possibly choose from one of those dozens of film adaptations, but recently that decision was taken from me…

anyway. first thing i’d like to mention is that i find this specific adaption quite good – for a Joel Schumacher film! it sure is his best movie, if not his ONLY good, ha!
but let us put that beside and jump right into the few things i would like to note, to everyone’s attention:

the Phantom, i will call him “Erik” from now on as this seems to be his name of choice in the original novel, is the only reliable character! i mean, seriously, he is seen as a brilliant genius and master of his trades, which would be architecture, composing, writing, and such. everybody seems to see him as a outstanding outlaw who knows exactly what he does, in contrast to… ALL the other characters, and what everybody can see clearly: everything he decides is simply put the best possible. Erik FORCES his decisions on the opera administration, but they ALWAYS seem to turn out to be great ideas! so, that led me to one logical question: WHY THE HELL DOES NOBODY LISTEN TO HIM??
when i realized this, it basically ruined all the other characters for me. because NOT doing what the most intelligent one tells you to do is pure IDIOCY. to sum up: Erik = smart, every other person = dumb.

next thing i really did not get: why did everybody refer to Erik as “bloodthirsty” “monster”??
seriously, throughout the WHOLE movie he only killed ONE person – and he did this out of  self protection!
this guy is chasing Erik for, let’s face it, quite some time, leading to the conclusion that Erik was in some sort of a desperate position in which he, for a change, had no real control of. he did not seem to have planned this at all. and at one point he kinda had no other choice whether to kill that guy or GET CAUGHT and put to justification in front of a court. so, he killed. to protect himself.
[EDIT: well, someone pointed out to me that he in fact killed a total of three people. the first one was his ‘slave master’ Erik killed as a child (but that is a far different situation and does not count, plus it also was out of self protection). and the last one was that guy he replaced during the final show. when i saw this movie i thought i saw him enbonded in ropes, hence i did not think of him as being dead (why should you fetter a dead guy??). so, this last one was indeed an unnecessary kill which he possibly did only for his own lust. which is kinda odd, since this only happened to the end of the movie, hence it does not embody Erik’s reputation as a monster, leaving my statement intact.]
i do not say that Erik was a GOOD person, no no no, he sure was sorta evil, but he SURE was not a bloodthirsty monster who liked to kill. i say, it is even the opposite thing with him: killing has not once been his motive!
speaking of which, his motives have for most parts been really good ones: for example he simply wanted to run the opera in a good manner – a thing that the current managers were simply not capable of! he wanted to bring his favorite, Christine, to the honor she deserves, and by the way also protect her to all costs and make her life a good one. and he wanted the acceptance HE deserves. because he was no fool, he knew he was a fucking genius and nobody paid him the dues he earned for himself, because everyone else has been a bunch of stupid pricks – purely dumb, egocentrical and stubborn.
from my point of view he has done the LEST EVIL things to accomplish the status that would have been universally RIGHT.

and if you still not believe me or think otherwise, he is a headnut for you: i counted THREE TIMES Erik had the chance to kill his rival Raoul, but HE DID NOT!
right, IF Erik has been that cruel monster with an urge to kill people that stood in his way – why would he seriously let his all-time antagonist live? Raoul could have been dead three times till the end of the movie, but still he good the pussy. because Erik WANTED him to!
oh yeah, that’s evil, right? NO. Erik is on best terms maybe “chaotic neutral”, but calling him a “monster” is a simple lack of accepting reality. namely: ignorance.

and now to my favorite part of the whole thing: all the other characters.
i was stunned when i realized that ALL of the rest of the characters were at best one-dimensional clichés, not in any manner highlighting from the typical hollywood-ish character constellations. what is not that of a flaw, if it hasn’t also been for the other two MAIN CHARACTERS!
yeah, Raoul and Christine. one-dimensional. think about it, what do we even KNOW about them? i for myself can’t name more than 1~2 character trades, and that’s it. replaceable as hell, and what makes this a real shame for the whole movie: their love relationship is a fucking joke! it makes no sense!
it is the same stupid concept of love as in, i can thing of DOZENS of flat hollywood turds, but let’s name a modern example as a reference, Twilight: Eclipse. yeah, it’s the same stupid thing.
two characters, who don’t even deserve that entitlement, who don’t share anything basic at all (what could they posssibly share? they don’t have characteristics and any interests!). so, they don’t know anything about each other, know the others existence for a total of 2 minutes and… well… DECIDE to love each other? i don’t get it.
they simple ‘fall in love’ and that is their basic motivation for the rest of the film. generic spoken, there is nothing more than PHYSICAL ATTRACTION that binds those two. how sad, is that REALLY what fiction wants us to believe in what love is all about?? not sharing stuff, getting along really well, building up a deep friendship based on trust, sympathy and interest? no, it’s all about “spotting each other” and, to put it in the words of Noah Antwiler “wanting to fuck”. because it is nothing more than this.

i personally can not relate to this kind of relationship. because it is fucking far from reality. in the REAL world this kind of relationship would last for about… let’s say a few weeks, depending on their ability to ignore stuff. because, logically, they will at some point find out what they dislike about one another.
love does not work that way, it starts with an interest in the others personality. there has to be something TO FALL IN LOVE WITH, beside the others outer appearance and first-sight-things. love at first sight may be possible, but it makes no sense in a long term. the probability that first-sight-lovers later find out that they actually ARE meant for another is practically zero. what makes this concept in movies ridiculously abstract.

so, to come back to the movie, what i take from this is the following: Erik KNEW all this, hence his tries to open Christine’s eyes about the whole situation. well, he did this poorly, but can you blame him? at all, he still was a maniac and hopelessly in love…

well, well, but after all this bashing, don’t get me wrong – this movie was really great! beside the above facts i really digg the music and visual style. also the portrayal of Erik and the opera itself (i mean the building) was great in any sense!! totally worth watching.

the reason for the title of this post is, after all what i have analyzed about the movie, the Phantom is the only character I can relate to, sadly. the fact that beside what i said positive about him, that he IS a maniac with serious self esteem problems, totally not capable of living in the time’s society in the open, sure makes him someone you would rather not feel related to, but i guess most of the people think of themself as a undiscovered genius who doesn’t get the attention one deserves. so, doesn’t EVERYONE relate to Erik at least for that simple reason?
but i personally can so totally relate to his moral standards, which constantly are completely misinterpreted by everyone else. but that is not his fault, but the society’s snobbish self-belief in itself. diva Carlotta it the film’s role model per se for that cliché.

so, it is me, the Phantom of the Opera.
au revoir 

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last modified: 2010-Nov-29, 21:59:30
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