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Monday, December 13

Well, I'm a sad lonely man. I went to the cinema on my own this evening. I saw Phantom of the Opera as planned.

Quick bit of backtracking. In many ways it's good to have people to share things with. It's nice to have company and it's nice to have the support. But you don't NEED to have these people at every step of the way through life. If you're alone and you are used to be so, then not having support is not a problem. It's not expected. It's actually worse to be with company and NOT get the support you think you'd like.

Today I had some rather disturbing news. Nothing particularly bad or particularly likely to affect me, but detrimental anyway. I'm often the recipient of such information. One hears tidbits through the grapevine that have to be taken in one's stride. I remember a time when sharing such bad news actually doubled it. I would dread telling the story since I worried that I would have the confidante turn into a member of "the other side"; these frequently happened. When alone, one doesn't have to worry.

Likewise, going to the cinema with a friend is great, but when you come out, you're bound to talk about the film. It's generally a bad idea to criticise the movie you've just seen - what if the other person really liked it? What if you spoil the whole evening by being critical? I'm a critical guy. I like to chew over what I've just paid £5.60 (five pounds sixty!?) for.

So, it was probably for the best that I left the cinema tonight alone. I was incredibly puzzled by how they'd managed to take one of the most cinematic and slick stage shows in theatre history and turn it into such a clunky and heel-dragging movie. In addition, they seemed to be trying to do something to temper the extremes of sung-through musicals by speaking some of the lyrics that would normally be sung as recicitive. My enjoyment of this was hindered by the fact that I've seen the stage show twice and frequently listened to the definitive original cast recording. In some ways, I think they were trying to avoid the movie turning out like a predictable musical. In others I think they were in denial that they'd basically taken a stage play, crossed out the word "stage" and written "screen" in crayon and then done a bit of editing.

Key problems were the tempos (tempi) of the songs and gratuituous scenes of backplot which did not help the mood of the film and probably confused us more about our feelings to the Phantom. The actress playing Christine, beautiful though she is, didn't really seem to know what she felt about the Phantom either. The Phantom was far too handsome for most of the show and didn't seem old enough. Raoul was too flimsy and foppish until the moment of the sword fight and even then that was a little overblown. Most of the thing felt a little like karaoke of a stage show with a music video director having a go at some scenery behind it.

Having said that, the denouement (and I like a denouement) was on the whole better than the stage version. I'm referring to the scene where Christine is forced to choose between the Phantom and Raoul - this worked really well. Having said that, the very end of the show is a magic trick which would look rubbish on screen. As such, they had trouble stopping the film. I don't think they did a bad job of it.

Jennifer Ellison was very pleasant. Minnie Driver is actually quite witty with her brashness and appears to have a damned big pair of lungs on her. She does, however, look like the mumps covergirl. And wasn't it Jack Boswell from Bread, playing Piangi? (yes, it was, I looked it up on IMDB)

I had planned to buy the soundtrack to this movie. I'm not sure I want to now. I think they could have done it a whole lot better. And to think... I actually looked forward to this movie and forced myself to take myself to see it. I should have gone to see The Incredibles instead.


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