Thursday, July 21, 2011
A Phantastic Rant: The Cast
When I like something, I really love it. This thing then becomes a fandom, which are glorious entities I deem worthy of my fanatical devotion. Examples include Star Trek, Pirates of the Caribbean, Les Miserables, and today's topic, The Phantom of the Opera.
My first exposure to The Phantom of the Opera occurred in 2004 when my mom and I saw the film adaptation of the musical. I was smitten. The music, the story, and above all, Gerard Butler had me as transfixed as Christine when she sees a chocolate muffin.
It took me a whole two years before I realized how awful the film was.
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy watching it, it has plenty of redeeming qualities. But once I heard the original cast recording and experienced the show in Las Vegas, it dawned on me how little justice the film did to the original material.
Imma break it down fo ya.
The most obvious problem lies within the title character, played by Gerard Butler. How in the hell he was cast, I don't know. But I can certainly guess. Just look at those toasty eyes.I imagine his audition went something like this:
Gerard: Um, hi, my name is Gerry Butler and I can carry a tune--
Casting Directors: *Mopping drool from floor* --You're hired!
Gerard Butler, bless him, cannot sing. At least not this material. He's got a smokey/rock 'n roll voice that I quite enjoy, just not when he's trying to eek out those notes that need a trained powerhouse vocalist. But Gerard makes up for it with his own spin on the character, which is a sexed up badass/pitiful vibe that makes you want to molest him and run away at the same time. Plus, his appearance is so distracting you hardly notice he's straining to pull off the music.
Holy deity of tight pants, we thank thee for this blessing:
I have similarly mixed feelings about Emmy Rossum. She pulled off the naive-hypnotized-dunce aura that embodies Christine Daae, but her voice was wanting in several ways, mainly the last shrieking notes of the title song. Thanks to studio magic, I hardly noticed how weak she was until I heard those same notes blasted out by Sierra Boggess when my mom and I saw the show in Las Vegas. Holy hell, what a voice.
In addition, Rossum's lack of expressions aside from 'hypnotized' and 'I-just-had-a-lobotomy' make it difficult to ascertain what's going on in Christine's head at any given moment.
And my personal favorite:
(She's not singing or making a sound in any of these pics...just letting that jaw hang...)
At least Rossum met the physical/age description for Christine. She was only 16 when they started filming. Gross when you consider Butler was 34. But Christine's youth accounts for her impressionable naivety and severe lack of common sense, and the Phantom is supposed to be a lot older than her anyhow.
I've never liked Raoul, but I have no complaints about Patrick Wilson. He's got a beautiful voice, he's a decent actor, and his hair is prettier than Christine's. The perfect fop. I particularly enjoy his appearance as Old Raoul, which is some of the best 'aged' makeup I've ever seen in a film.
And he really pulls off acting like he's got one foot in the grave too.
The rest of the cast was likewise pleasing, in particular, Minnie Driver as Carlotta. Aside from Butler and Rossum, I'd say the casting was dead on.
So who would I rather play the Phantom, you ask? He was in the movie, actually.
Ramin Karimloo played Christine's father, Gustave Daae. You only see him a moment. It's almost as though the filmmakers are teasing me, "This is who could have played the Phantom if we knew what we were doing...ha!"
Karimloo has played the Phantom in London for a few years now, and is currently the youngest artist to ever don the mask on stage.
He also played the Phantom in the sequel. Behold his awesomeness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_ExkTV1pJw
Aside from that song, the sequel is pretty horrendous. But alas, that is yet another rant for another day.
For Christine, I would choose the aforementioned Sierra Boggess. Like Karimloo, she's had plenty of past experience with the role and also starred in the sequel. (She's pictured with him above in the 'almost kissing' pic.) I can say from experience she is a phenomenal singer and actress (Mom, you can back me up on this).
Next time I'll rant about what was wrong with everything else in the film/musical versus the original novel. Namely the storyline. That's all for now, folks. Please punch a kitten on your way out.