Joel Schumacher's Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera (2004) was directed by Joel Schumacher. It was initially a novel by Gaston Leroux, and then became a musical. Andrew Lloyd Webber was the playwright and composer of Phantom of the Opera the musical. The three main characters are The Phantom, Christine and Raoul. Gerard Butler plays The Phantom, Emmy Rossum plays Christine and Patrick Wilson plays Raoul. The movie budget was 70 million dollars and was shot in London, England, UK.

The story was based off of the Opera Garnier in real life. The opera house has tunnels and an underground lake. The chandelier of the Opera Garnier fell, set the building on fire and killed a woman. The real Erik was born with a disfigured face in a small village in Normandy. His parents left him at the age of 8. He was then used by a circus for 7 years as an attraction. Erik managed to escape the circus in Persia and became an entertainer for the Shah. Later, Erik worked as an architects assistant. He designed and built several Harems. With his architectural skills, Erik returned to London. He impressed Charles Garnier, who decided to sign Erik as a contractor for the opera housethe Opera Garnier. Erik worked 12 hours a day until the Opera house was finished. To hide his appearance, he would wear a mask, dress suit, cloak and large hat. He was respected and earned a good amount of money. Erik had his own personal Box 5 at the opera house with a hollow column so that he could come and go without anyone seeing him. Erik fell in love with an Opera singer who didnít love him back. He kidnapped her, she was found 3 weeks later and left Paris shortly afterwards. Rumor has it, after this incident Erik was so heartbroken that he walled up the door to his apartment beneath the opera house, starved himself to death, and years later a skeleton was found by a workman in a small apartment wearing a gold ring that Erik was known to wear.

Christine's character was based on Opera singer Kristina Jonasdotter. At a young age in Sweden, She learned violin from her older brother. Kristinas family was very poor, so she would perform violin in the street for money. Similar to Christine, Kristinas vocal talent was discovered by accident and she was a very attractive woman.

It is also said that the Opera Garnier is haunted by Eriks ghost. Many claimed to hear ghostly voices near Box 5 when no one was there. Others said they saw a figure wearing a mask and a black cape running through the Opera house.

The film starts at an auction set in the ruins of the Opera house, the ruined hope of the love between Christine and The Phantom. The actors really embodied their characters. Carlotta, played by Minnie Driver, has a voice that is rich and full of vibrato adding to her snotty character and luxurious lifestyle. The rich men in the movie were portrayed with thick mustaches and suits. Christines kind, quiet and humble nature add to the beauty of her character. The roses that the Phantom would leave for Christine with the black ribbon represented his heart. When the Phantoms heart broke it was visually represented by the crushing of the rose. Also, at the end of the movie there is a rose at Christines grave, showing that she always had the Phantoms heart. The many flowers in Christines dressing room after her performance symbolize her youth and innocence when Raoul meets her for the first time in years. The candles represent Christines happiness and peace. Once the Phantom arrives the candles go out. Christine follows him blindly and loves him. He lives in a dark dungeon and teaches Christine of his beautiful talents, but she fears his hideous face and quick temper.

Critics admire the beauty of the actors and the sensual symbols such as Rossums bare shoulders, Butlers open shirt and the underground lair reached by gondola. Some critics do not like the songs. I personally love the songs. The Music of the Night represents the evil and darkness that the phantom lives in, though his talents are beautiful and impressive. Stranger Than You Dreamt it is when Christine sees the Phantoms face and he is filled with rage. These songs are sung by the Phantom and reveal more about his character. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again was Christine remembering her father before his death. In the song, she realizes that The Phantom is not her father, and finally accepts that her father is dead and gone. The songs are beautiful and add to the story.

I love the songs, the symbols, The Phantom and the movie as a whole.