Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Phantom of the Opera

I'm warning you right now, peoples:  this is going to be one loooong post.  It's going to be like a movie review/comparison (of the 25th anniversary concert at the Royal Albert Hall and the 2004 film adaptation), FULL of spoilers, opinionated opinions (haha), and (surprise) some deep reflections about certain unfavorable elements of the story;)  I have a suspicion that I won't complete this post in one day...Right, well, let's get down to business to defeat the Huns!


I'm sorry.  But I had too;)  Gerard Butler(PotO 2004)'s portrayal of the Phantom looked so much (at least in the "Phantom of the Opera" scene) like Antonio Banderas with The Smolder to resist;)  But, that being said, I feel I have to defend Gerard's performance.  In one review of the film that I read, the blogger said that his was the "worst Phantom ever."  I took personal offense at that statement disagree.  Er, wholeheartedly.  Granted, Gerard Butler's voice wasn't quite as powerful as, say, Ramin Karimloo's (25th anniversary - cough, cough), but seein' as how this was his first attempt at singing in a film, I think he did pretty darn well.  His voice was perhaps a bit gravelly at times, but his EMOTION, peoples!  (AHEM: "All I Ask of You"/Reprise - I'll get to that.)  And, of course, his acting was terrifical, too.  

Moving on to the 25th anniversary's Phantom:  Ramin Karimloo.  


Boy, oh, boy;)  This guy has got one awesome voice.  I suggest you listen to it.  Immediately.  Of the two, I think I prefer Ramin Karimloo just barely.  The main reason?  His voice.  (Sorry, but it's the truth.)  And, of course, no one can sing (in "Final Lair") "GO NOW AND LEEEAAAVVVE MEEEEEEEEH!!!" like he does.  Gerard Butler sings/says "Go now and leave me!"  That's pretty boring after hearing Ramin's rendition.  (Sorry, Gerard.  Really, I did love your performance - a lot.  I'll get to my favorite bits later.) 

Now, I love the Phantom.  A lot.  BUT, much as I love and pity him, we must address some unpleasant issues regarding the man.  However mistreated he was or is, Erik (oh, by the way, apparently his real name is Erik, so I'll try to call him that) is a murderer.  The unhappy fact remains.  And he doesn't just kill one person.  He kills three - or at least he does in the movie.  In the play, he kills two people.  He also writes a painfully inappropriate song (which is unfortunately difficult to get out of your head!) for his "Don Juan Triumphant".  (Referring to "Past the Point of No Return".  Yes, I realize the melody is good, but go actually read the lyrics.)  And then there's the matter of "Music of the Night."  *Heavy sigh*  Oh, dear.  Now, I will be the first to admit that the melody for MotN isn't just good - it's great.  But again, the lyrics are a bit of an issue.  Not quite as bad, but still an issue:

Turn your face away from the garish light of day
Turn your thoughts away from cold, unfeeling light
And listen to the music of the night
Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams 
Purge your thoughts of the life you knew before
Open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind
In this darkness which you know you cannot fight
The darkness of the music of the night
Floating, falling, sweet intoxication
Touch me, trust me, savor each sensation
Let the dream begin, let your darker side give in
To the power of the music that I write
The power of the music of the night

Admittedly, I chose the worst lyrics to put there.  But think about it.  That's a whole lot of darkness.  Now, what does Scripture say about this?  ("Uh…"  "Scripture says…")  "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.  Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." (Ephesians 5:8-11)  "'I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness." (John 12:46)  Contrasting the lyrics with those verses, it appears that MotN has, um, some issues, shall we say.  Jesus told us that we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).  God has promised to turn the darkness into light before the blind (Isaiah 42:16)  It sure seems like God is a fan of light, and He's into dispelling the darkness therewith.  But MotN is urging someone to leave light behind, calling it "garish"; "unfeeling."  MotN is urging someone to "let their darker side give in."  Well.  All righty, then.  And the original MotN is even worse:

Close your eyes, for your eyes will only tell the truth
And the truth isn't what you want to see
In the dark it is easy to pretend
That the truth is what it ought to be

*Facepalm*  No.  No, no, no.  I don't think it's even necessary to expound on what's wrong with those lyrics.  Nevertheless, I might be over thinking this thing, who knows.  But that's the conclusion I've come to.

Now that we've got all that out of the way, let's move on to all the things I love about this musical:)  (Oh, one more thing that I don't like about it, though.  *SPOILERS!*  Christine ends up with Raoul.  I do not like this.  But yet again, I'll get to that.  So technically we're not done with the cons of the musical.  Sorry.  *END OF SPOILERS*)  So.  Christine.


Emmy Rossum plays Christine Daae in the 2004 film, and…well, my feelings about her are mixed.  She's really beautiful (duh), and I do love how she portrays Christine torn between Raoul and Erik (but then I also love how the 25th anniversary actress does, too).  On the other hand - well, um, apparently the filmmakers didn't know the meaning of the word "modesty."  Especially during the "Phantom of the Opera" number, she, uh, didn't have a whole lot on her.  (But I love how they did her hair, especially in "Think of Me" - see above picture.)  Also, I have to say that the amount of sliding she did in her singing rather annoyed me:  "And through music, my soul began to soooahhhr!"  It seemed like maybe the only way she could reach the high notes was by sliding, and it just sort of - oh, well.  (You see, in my first two years of SVCC, we kind of had it drilled into us to never slide.  Ever.)   Speaking of "Think of Me," I wasn't at first a huge fan of her rendition, which was probably because I had watched Sierra Boggess's (25th) exuberant performance first, and so the fact that Emmy Rossum basically just stood there as she sang was a little weird to me at first.  However, I read a blogger comment that Sierra Boggess's ToM seemed "too happy overall to really communicate the wistfulness of the piece."  (Oh, dear me, how inconsiderate I've been.  Here's a link to her blog, which I have been reading but not following(:/) for quite a while:  http://miss-dashwood.blogspot.com/2013/09/phantom-of-opera-at-royal-albert-hall.html)  I think I'd have to agree with that, even though I could also argue for Sierra Boggess that she was just portraying Christine's total excitement at securing her first starring role.  (Assuming it was her first starring role.  Which I'm pretty sure it was.  Anywho.)  So all in all, I do like Emmy Rossum's version of ToM.  And her last "of me" was rather delightful;)  


This, peoples, is the lovely Sierra Boggess, who happens to be in possession of one of the best voices I've ever heard.  I have in the past couple months become quite fond of both her and Ramin Karimloo. So here's an adorable picture of them:   


You're welcome.  Now, between Sierra Boggess and Emmy Rossum, I prefer Sierra Boggess's Christine (okay, why don't we just cut to the chase?  I prefer the 25th anniversary in general).  I just like her singing and acting better overall.  (Not that Emmy Rossum isn't a great singer/actress, too.  I just didn't love her version of Christine.) I love the enormous amount of emotion Sierra Boggess puts into her performance, particularly in "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again."  That's my favorite song from the musical, I think, and Sierra does an incredible job with it.  Much as I would love to play Christine Daae someday (IF, that is, certain *ahem* changes were made to the play), I'm a bit concerned that I would simply copy her performance for the entire show!;)

Now, dear Lord, about Liesel about Raoul.  Um…I don't like him.  Much, that is.  I think I'm softening towards him, but…I just, I just wish that *SPOILERS* Christine had chosen the Phantom instead of Raoul.  But, then again…oh, I don't know!  It's a difficult situation.  Raoul has a better moral character throughout the show, but - but - the Phantom needs Christine!!  "Christine, why?  Why?!"  I can't help feeling that if Christine had stayed with him, he would have changed.  And in his defense, I don't think he necessarily enjoyed spending the majority of his days beneath a theater, shunned by that small portion of society that had seen him (with the exception, of course, of Christine and Madame Giry).  But more and more I'm having an unsettling feeling that that's just "wishful thinking, probably mindless dreaming".  (Sorry.  Taylor Swift song, in case you didn't know.)  So I guess I don't really know how I feel about it all. *END OF SPOILERS*  

(Would you not agree?:D )

I would now like to talk about "All I Ask of You/Reprise," specifically as portrayed in the 2004 film.  Visually, that scene was beautiful, and I loved how they had Erik behind the pillar for the whole song, but that did make it rather difficult to enjoy AIAoY for what it is as a song.  And then, of course, the "All I Ask of You Reprise" is such a fantastic song that just - just - ugh.  "How romantically tragic!" (A Gnomeo and Juliet quote, just to lighten the mood.)  And oh, oh!  The rose!!!  That is such a wonderful little touch that is sadly left out of the stage production.  That was probably my favorite part of Gerard Butler's performance -   him kneeling in the snow, crumpling the rose he had given to Christine.  The heartbreak on his face just about broke my heart!  (Oh, and other little touches.  I loved that he had a little model stage with a Christine figurine in his lair.  Some could call that cheesy, but…then again, I liked John Carter.  I don't really mind cheesiness;)  But the whole lighted candles rising out of the water was a bit too unrealistic for my taste.  Moving on.)  



Okay, now, I've been alerting y'all to spoilers when they come so far (even though I think everyone reading this has already seen PotO), but now I'm going to skip everything and move into "Final Lair."  (Or "Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer…", whichever you prefer.)  And that, darlings, means that spoilers will be flooding in, and so I'm not going to tell you in advance any more.  Proceed at your own risk;)

This last, climatic scene is so doggone intense!  And I love just about every minute of it.  The lyrics are mind-blowing.  Shall I list a few of my favorites?;)

"This face, which earned a mother's fear and loathing - a mask, my first unfeeling scrap of clothing!  Pity comes too late!  Turn around and face your fate!  An eternity of this, before your eyes…"
"Christine, forgive me, please, forgive me!  I did all for you and all for nothing!"
"Farewell, my fallen idol and false friend!  We had such hopes and now those hopes are shattered!"
"Pitiful creature of darkness - what kind of life have you known?  God give me courage to show you, you are not alone!"
"So do you end your days with me, or do you send him to his grave?"  "Why make her lie to you to save meeeee?"  
"Angel of music, who deserves this?  Why do you curse mercy?"
"Angel of music, you deceived me!  I gave my mind blindly!"
"GO NOW AND LEEEEEAAAAVVVE MEEEEEEH!"
"Christine, I love you…"

Oh the FEEEELLLLSSSSS!!!!:)  So do I agree with Christine's choice, or do I think she should have stayed?  I don't know.  Mixed feelings.  I tend to side with the character I pity, but…oh, well.  

I love Phantom of the Opera.  A lot.  It's probably my favorite musical.  (But it's so SAD!!!  Why do I like it so much?  Oh, duh, the music.  I figured it out:D )  But this post has dragged on for too long, and I'm going to end it now.  Au revoir.











       
  



8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. The Phaaaaaaantom of the opera is theeeeere, inside my miiind!

      Delete
    2. Siiiiiiing once aaagaaaaaaaain with meeeeee

      Delete
    3. Buuuut hiiiis vooice filled my spirit, with a strange, sweet sound--in that daaark there was music in my miiiiind...

      Delete
  2. Such a great post!!
    I also think Gerard Butler did a really good job with the singing - but you just cannot compete with Ramin Karimloo on that point.
    The 25th concert is the best thing ever invented, I can't watch it too much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you:D
      Ramin Karimloo is…just…yeah. You can't, so don't even try;)
      OH MY GOODNESS YES.

      Delete
  3. I LOVE THIS MUSICAL! I own the 2004 adaption, I own the soundtrack to the original musical/play, and I recently came across a version of The Phantom of the Opera on Netflix, so I'll be watching that soon, and I really want to read the English version of the book.

    GREAT REVEIW-COMPARISON-THING!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (Bekah, I don't know how on earth it's taken me so long to respond to this!)

      I KNOW ISN'T IT FANTASTIC?!?! GAHH. I want to rewatch it. It's been too long (perhaps a couple months). Ooh! Yeah, I personally didn't care much for the book *ahem*. But that's another story.

      Aww, THANKS, GIRL!

      Delete

It appears that you're about to leave a comment. I think you should know that if you do, I will giggle and smile and be delirious with joy, and then I'll stalk you to find out whether or not you have a blog *ahem*.

…All that's to say, please comment! :D