The Phantom of the Opera

The New York Times has given this new movie just about the worst pan I’ve ever read, blaming it all on the lugubrious and bombastic music of Andrew Lloyd Weber. Among the more irresistible quotes:

Lord Lloyd Webber’s thorough acquaintance with the canon of 18th- and 19th-century classical music is not in doubt, but his attempt to force a marriage between that tradition and modern musical theater represents a victory of pseudo-populist grandiosity over taste – an act of cultural butchery akin to turning an aviary of graceful swans and brilliant peacocks into an order of Chicken McNuggets. The songs fill your ears, but you are unlikely to find yourself humming any of them after the movie is over (which may, come to think of it, be the only merciful thing about this “Phantom.”)

Actually, I like some of the tunes from Phantom. But he’s right about ALW, who is way more popular than he deserves.

The Discussion: 11 Comments

The NYT is just now critiquing the songs of the Phantom of the Opera, which have been out since 1988 and are familiar to *everyone* on the planet?


December 22, 2004 @ 8:12 am | Comment

Because the movie just opened — so it’s red meat for the critics.

December 22, 2004 @ 8:26 am | Comment

David Edelstein in Slate on the PoTO:

I’m more inclined to suggest that it be used to entertain the prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo—at least until Amnesty International gets wind of it.

December 22, 2004 @ 10:31 am | Comment

Sepoy, that is priceless. Thanks!

December 22, 2004 @ 10:40 am | Comment

It’s probably much worse than it has to be because the theaters I go to always turn up the sound far too loud and crank the bass.

Hidden in the nastiness of the review is one good point, that what works on the stage doesn’t always work in a radically different medium like film. Hell, even changes to stage technology (like adding electric lighting) can kill a production that depends on a gestault of effects to produce an overall aura.

December 23, 2004 @ 1:20 am | Comment

I’ve seen it on film 3 times. Am going again today. Hum the tunes while mowing the grass. Talk about pomposity. The NYT reviewer could use alot of toning down on his verbiage. Read that critique again–I would not allow such overblown language in my classes. But that is to be expected of the NYT, a publication who hires the likes of Jayson Blair, lying journalist who was finally caught in his lies. The NYT is a den of left leaning pseudo intellectuals posturing against a moving story both on film and on the stage. The film is powerful and creative in its presentation of the love of two men for one woman, the eternal tragic love triangle. I would like to know what the NYT reviewer and the other critics of the film consider worthy of their praise. (Probably something with Barbara Streisand and Robert DeNiro or Mr.Oh- So-Not-Funny Adam Sandler or Wesley Snipes.) Reviewers think it their duty to criticize a piece as it underlines, they think, their good taste and bookish knowledge. It does neither. It only shows them to be self-important and egotistical. The local reviewer criticized the film as well but only succeeded in showing his youthfulness and knowledge of pop culture and his involvement in the fad of parading himself as an icon of good taste– an operatic and cinematic demi-god. He too, like other critics, shows that he is neither.

December 31, 2004 @ 1:39 pm | Comment

So far I have read only negative reviews of this movie across the board. And to be honest, I find the Times critics to be above average. Maybe they’re all wrong and you’re right, I’ll have to decide after I see the movie.

December 31, 2004 @ 3:27 pm | Comment

I am looking forward to your opinion. “I don’t know art, but I know what I like.”

December 31, 2004 @ 8:40 pm | Comment

As always it is each to there own.
I have seen the movie twice and I have also purchased the CD, which plays in my car whilst travel to and fro from work.

I have seen the stage show in London and have the original recoreding with Mr Crawford and Miss Brightman on CD also.

I hum the tunes in my head all day almost, and cant wait for it to come out on DVD so I can ware it out.

I admit I did find the lipsink a bit annoying, but the second time around I relaxed and enjoyed it for what it was. I really liked it even more the second time round, I think they captured the atomosphere of the show the best they could.

At the end of the day, I think you should see it for your self. Its like Marmite.”you either hate it or love it”


January 4, 2005 @ 9:16 am | Comment

Excuse the grammar and spelling mistakes, scribbled this down whilst at work.


January 4, 2005 @ 9:18 am | Comment

well, i really like the movie personally for it has something that others don’t have… i really like to see the movie again…i like the ending of the movie and the whole production was awsome…. its incredible

February 12, 2005 @ 1:10 am | Comment

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