Thursday, June 27, 2013

#4 With Opera: The Phantom Lover

The Music of the Night apparently translates into Mandarin!  Today's film is The Phantom Lover, yet another version of The Phantom of the Opera.  People must really see something in this story!  In the last four years, I've covered a few different versions of the tale, including one by Dario Argento, one with Robert Englund, one set in a Mall and one that's a Disco musical.  It's been almost four years since I've done a Phantom film.  Why the wait?  No reason, really.  I just haven't.  There are still a few juicy ones out there to cover, including a pseudo-sequel *not* written by Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Yeah, he made his own.  So what's unique about this film?  For one, this was made in China.  Secondly, it has a very operatic feel to it, making it a mid-point between stuff like the horror versions (i.e. Hammer's) and the Gerard Butler film.  This one is *very* pretentious and very arty.  Since it's too late to give it to Bob to review, I'll just dive right in...
The film has a main plot and lots of flashbacks.  They tint the flashback bits, which helps, but the DVD version is a bit washed out already.  So yeah, not easy to follow.

Basically, a new Theater troupe comes into town and buys up a vacant building with a history.
Thankfully, a mysterious and not-at-all suspicious man is there to help them.  I'm looking for a Phantom- have you see one?
Since this is an Opera, they do the equivalent of a Bollywood film and just stop to perform.  If I wanted to watch an Opera, I'd...just end things on my own, thank you.
As it turns out, this guy was a great Actor and got too close to this woman engaged to this rich guy's son.  They doused his face in acid and set the place ablaze.  Why not shoot him too while you're at it?
It all got covered up and he would have gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling Opera Performers!

Actually, he did get away with it.  Oh, I see.
This Phantom guy looks totally trustworthy, right?  I mean, the Dr. Doom (movie version) outfit alone inspires trust.  In spite of all of this, he seems to have some sort of plan.
Not wanting to have his lady oggled by a SECOND lead in an Opera Company, the man's son goes on the offensive.  After he beats the lady in the streets, it's hard to imagine where my loyalties lie.
In a surprisingly-tame finale, the Phantom just kind of shows up and says 'Can we just leave in peace?'  'Well, I was trying to kill you five minutes ago, so..."
'Of course you can!  Leave in peace.  After all, my son is dead- at your hands.'

Seriously, that's it!  He just lets them leave and she apparently just died some time later.  The End.
Eh, it wasn't for me.  This is not a bad movie.  The big thing is that it just tries to be this big, romantic epic.  That's all well and good...for someone else.  I guess I should have expected this, to be honest.  As it is, it's a film that I recommend for people that go for it.  For non-Opera fans, there's some good performances, it's shot well and The Phantom looks mysterious and all.  Ultimately though, he's just some guy.  I didn't expect him to be some sort of Spy or Super-Villain, but him being some love-struck Opera Performer is kind of a letdown for me.  If you like the tone and the music, you'll like the film overall.  If you're a bigger fan of the Horror-styled versions, you will not be.  Like I said, it's by no means a bad movie.  It's just not my kind of movie.  I do have to laugh when the Menu just starts playing the Music though...
Next up, a film to consider for any of you planning to see White House Down.  Before he was blowing shit up, Roland Emmerich was making ghosts take over puppets!  Stay tuned...

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