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Wednesday, May 28, 2008


What were the studio execs thinking? Or did Andrew Lloyd Webber use his own dime to craft a colossal vanity project? PHANTOM never had much story to lean on, but now there’s none at all. The three leads are bad enough (the girl is pretty but makes a wiry sound ‘in alt’; the boy is pretty but crucified by his haircut; the phantom is also pretty but hopelessly over-parted -- he’s only lightly disfigured & can’t hit the notes), while Minnie Driver & Simon Callow ham away like rank amateurs. Joel Schumacher goes back to his BATMAN style of decor, decor everywhere and hoping it'll all somehow come together in the editing room. (It doesn't.) And the music, the presumed raison d'etre for all this, repeats its few pathetic themes endlessly when not leaning for inspiration on 'little known' tunes like "Blow the Wind Southerly" or Don Jose’s ‘Flower Song’ from CARMEN for an effective ‘wrong chord’ sob on the Phantom’s big romantic solo. And how uncomfortably that song, 'Music of the Night," lies on the voice. The film came and went in a flash. The stage show continues indefinitely.

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