Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones
cleolinda

All right--you guys may or may not have noticed this about me yet, but I'm a little obsessive-compulsive (no!) and I tend to go from ig'nant to expert, or at least obsessive, in about sixty seconds. I couldn't sleep last night (you know how it is when you're sick--you can tell you're getting well because suddenly you can't sleep around the clock anymore), so I pulled up The Phantom of the Opera on Project Gutenberg and read the whole thing, which was totally awesome. Of course, I'm big on nineteenth-century lit and I guess just about anything would seem like a page-turner after the dense poetics of Paradise Lost. Anyway. I also spent a good bit of time on the movie's official website, so I have a pretty good idea of how much of the book plot made it into the musical (and thank God Andrew Lloyd Webber ditched the torture chamber, y'all, because I was about to tear my hair out after three chapters of that shit). I'm still trying to figure out why in the world they hired Joel Schumacher to direct it, but I'm pretty much figuring at this point that the movie's going to be either fabulous or godawful, and either one will be awesome. Well, awesome from the perspective of a newcomer who isn't emotionally attached to the property, but then, I'm sure there will be riots in the streets no matter how the movie turns out (see also: Harry Potter fans who hate the movies).

There's one problem I can spot offhand, however, and that is letting a hot guy play the Phantom. I noticed in the last entry, the one with the photo captions, how the Phantom fans among y'all were disconcerted by this, and I didn't really understand why until I read the book. In the book, the Phantom's hideous. I don't quite know how this works out, but he's, like, "made of death." Like, a walking living corpse or something. Smells like death, bony hands, grody face, etc. And every time Raoul gets jealous, Christine's like, Dude, you saw the guy, are you kidding me? By the end of the book, the best she can muster is abject pity for Erik, even though she's managed to pretend that she "loves him for himself" so as to regain her freedom. But faced with the prospect of marrying him so he doesn't blow Raoul, the Paris Opera, and several hundred people sky high, she tries to kill herself, while tied up, by bashing her head against the wall over and over.

Now, without having seen the musical, I can tell you just the same that I'm pretty sure the book Phantom has fuck-all to do with the show Phantom, because millions of fans wouldn't be in love with him if he were all, you know, necrotic and stuff. Book Phantom does not have the cute little half mask; Book Phantom doesn't look spiff in formal wear. If we're talking about Musical Phantom, we've basically got a guy with an underground palace and a gorgeous voice who's willing to worship this girl and make her the greatest singer in the world. Raoul? Is cute. Okay, okay--he's also nobility, but (in the book, at least) he and his brother make all these snippy comments about "giving an opera wench his name," which is so not on. So the nobility thing is both a pro and a con and therefore sort of cancels itself out. And yeah, childhood attachment, okay, that's nice. But he also acts pretty childishly throughout the book (the book is great with this, by the way, and notes at one point that he says something so asinine to Christine that he can't think of any way out of it other than "to keep being odious"), so he's not sophisticated or worldly or mature--another point for the Phantom. So, in conclusion, Raoul: cute, and won't tie you up (woe). Do you see the problem we now have if the Phantom is also hot? Raoul is basically outclassed on every level except for the whole "actually lets you walk around freely above ground now and then" thing, and I'm willing to bet you pretty much don't care about that if you're in the thrall of this guy. I mean, the musical already undermines Raoul by letting Erik be just a little disfigured instead of the walking maw of fetid death, and if you cast a hot guy, you've just thrown the entire dynamic out of whack.

I mean, not that I won't be there with bells on, but still.

And then I went and downloaded some Whitesnake (shut up, man--Kingdom of Loathing got me all nostalgic), so now I totally associate the Phantom of the Opera book with "Is This Love." (And it fits, y'all. Shut up.) Man, I totally miss Baz Luhrmann. He needs to come back and make some more movies. He would rock a Phantom of the Opera movie (from the book, not the musical) with nothing but '80s music. Man--you know, the more I think about it, the more awesome I am convinced that would have been. Come back, Baz!
Tags: phantom of the opera
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