Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Phantom of the Opera [2012]

Well, the actual musical was written in, what? The 1980's? But the one me, mom, little sister, and little brother watched off the DVR was a production put on in 2012.
This would be the first time I've actually seen the whole thing all the way though, so it was nice of Grandpa to leave it on the DVR for us.
Oh, and it's 2014. Howabout that. :D
Oh and I have to warn you, when I rant, I rant incoherently, so I apologize in advance for any ineloquence that lies ahead.
Why does the poster have a full mask,
but he only wears a half-mask in
the actual thing?

So we sat down and skipped the opening pledge drive muckety muck (It was on KQED), and right off the bat, my brother starts asking "Which one is the Phantom?" over and over and over again.
The Overture is just... oh my goodness, that is one awesome piece of music. I really liked that.
Next up came the Hannibal Rehersal (I'm looking up the tracklisting for all the song names. XD), and we were a little confused as to when 'stuff' would start to happen. Not like I don't enjoy ballet in moderate doses, it's just that when you've got a musical, it's nice to have some story to go with it. Ahem.
Think of Me was pretty, the lady playing Christine did a really good job there. She seemed a little nervous at first, but when it transitioned into the actual performance, she seemed like she was really enjoying it.
Then Madame Giry came up, and we were so sure that she was evil, what with all the black she
wears, and the evil hitting-stick. But it turned out she wasn't, she just really likes black, apparently.
I like Christine's friend, Meg. Even if she doesn't do anything besides panic and announce the Phantom's presence. After Meg congratulates Christine on her good performance, Christine's ol' sweetheart Raoul (now a rich guy who patrons the opera house.) comes by and invites her to dinner. It was really funny how he just brushes off her 'Father sent me an angel of music!', and insists that they go to dinner. Unfortunately, that makes the Phantom allmightlily angry, and as soon as Raoul leaves, he ceases to be the Angel of Music and becomes the Angel of Snippiness. There was a neat effect where Christine 'walked' through a mirror and the Phantom took her down to his lair.

This part was probably my favorite, the sets, the music, and everything made a great atmosphere. The guy playing the Phantom was really good too. I thought his voice had kind of a rocker edge to it, and his acting was great, maybe a little hammy at times though.
Anyway, the sets totally blew my mind. I mean, I have no idea how they did all that, so for somebody ignorant of theater ways (like me) it is quite mysterious.
So then he welcomed Christine to his palace where all must pay homage to music. Muuuuusiiiiiiiiic. And then I got to thinking that I should deck up the garage like that... Get a load of candles and statues... when people come in, I'll welcome them in the same way...
And now... the song that makes all the ladies swoon! Music of the Night!! Besides the icky bad touching, and eternal length of the song, it's very pretty. I can see why it's prime swooning material, too.
Ahem. Music of the Night was very well sung. In The Phantom of the Opera, I mentioned that his voice sounded kind of rock-ish, but here he did really well in the softer parts too. Quite nice to listen to. After Music of the Night, the Phantom mashes his organ keyboard, and then Christine wakes up. Not from the keyboard mashing, mind you. She actually wakes up because of the music box. Huh?
So there was a nice little instrumental reprise of Angel of Music, which is cut short because Christine pulls off the Phantom's mask, and he goes loco crazy. That freaks out Christine, and after he gets his mask back on, the Phantom decides that the field trip is over and Christine needs to go back up.
Meanwhile...  Some guy is terrorizing the ballerinas with horror stories about the Phantom. Then Madame Giry tells him off. Now that guy, he belongs in a seedy pub more than anyone else I've ever seen. Anyone else I've ever seen outside of a Masterpiece Theater adaptation of a Dicken's novel, that is.
The goofy opera house owners, I think they were called Andre and Firmin, are also going loco crazy because of all the letters they're getting.
One was from the Phantom, and he insisted that Christine play the lead in an upcoming opera. Well, that made Carlotta, the prima donna, none too happy. So we get a song about how Carlotta will be playing the lead.
This part was pretty funny, especially the Phantom's letter. "Carlotta plays the part of the pageboy, which is silent. So you can see that my casting is in a word... ideal." I don't think I got that quote quite right, but you get the gist of it anyway.
So we have an Opera, within an Opera. Christine ended up playing the pageboy, though she didn't seem to mind much though. Actually seemed to be enjoying herself. XD Things went all well and merry until the Phantom showed up and was displeased that Christine wasn't playing the lead. This leads to him dishing out total pownage to Carlotta, making her voice all... croaky and worse than usual. Wonder how he did that.
So they go to the ballet from Act III, which also goes well and merry until the magic lasso guy gets murdered by the Phantom, and thrown onto the stage from the rafters.

 Naturally, this sends everything into chaos, and Christine and Raoul run up to the roof where she has a panic attack. This part has a lot of Raoul grabbing her shoulders, then Christine grabbing his jacket.

First we were joking that Christine was surrounded by men who grab her by the shoulders and shake her. Then All I Ask of You started, and I took back all bad thoughts I had on Raoul. Sure, he could have just been manipulating a panicky woman to make her love him, but I choose to sit on the idealistic side of the bench, and say that he was genuinely comforting her. I mean, they spun! If that's not a sign of true love, then there is no sign of true love.

Oh, I just neglected the scene before All I Ask of You.  I really liked it when Christine sang to the tune of Music of the Night. And part of what makes All I Ask of You so sweet (in my opinion, that is) is that Raoul doesn't believe Christine about the Phantom even existing, but he still comforts her about it anyway. It just makes my heart feel so fwuffy and melty just thinking about it.
So, after this song, any happy feelings you might have for Raoul and Christine all but disappear when the Phantom emerges from his hiding spot, utterly heartbroken. I mean, you could just see the moment where his heart split in half.
His actor was so good at this part. And that line- "You will curse the day you did not do all the Phantom asked of YOOOOUUUUU!!!" .... wow. I don't know whether to be happy about how cool it sounded, or creeped out by the angry oath of revenge.
Then he brought down the chandelier. Or rigged it with explosives, cuz' that's what it looked like. XD My little brother really liked that part. I mean, he's been doing impressions of the Phantom's crazy yell thing ever since New Year's Eve when we watched it.

Now there's another really pretty instrumental bit, and after that, Act II starts. There's a really long masquerade ball. Not so popular with the little brother, but me and mom are going to sing a variation on it next time we go to a potluck, or other party! "POTLUUUUCK!! EVERYBODY BRING A DISH!!"
Anyway... Raoul and Christine are now engaged, but for some reason they're keeping it a secret. The festivities are interrupted when Guess Who comes in, accompanied by his theme music.
Dude, that is a fabulous sombrero. I'm wearing that outfit if I ever get invited to a Dia de Los Muertos party! :D
So the Phantom gives them the score for an Opera he's composed, and of course, he wants Christine to play the lead.
So he leaves, no doubt to attend a Dia de Los Muertos party, and everyone scatters.
Raoul chases down Madame Giry, and she explains some backstory, yada yada, yada, Raoul gets mean when he gets panicky.
Now they have to practice the Opera the Phantom wrote. This part's serious, but I had to laugh when Madame Giry came in...

Madame Giry: I have another note.
Everyone Else: [disgruntled sigh]

The Phantom's also kind of funny in sort of a mean way, at least in his letters. XD
Anyway, everyone goes NUTS. Raoul and Carlotta are chewing out Madame Giry, and Christine totally flips out. At first I was like "C'mon, Christine!", but I quickly remembered all that was going on and came to the conclusion that anybody would flip out. Raoul does his best to reassure her, but mere minutes after telling her she doesn't have to be in the opera, he tells her she has to.
But that (understandably) does nothing to soothe her mood, and she runs off. Raoul goes nuts and yells at the Phantom, who was probably listening.
Next we've got more rehearsal, in which they can't figure out a rhythm, and a piano plays itself.

Then we change scenes, and shivers are sent down many a spine, because there's this gorgeous violin solo. I mean, wow. The next song is Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again. I had a few issues with the fact that Christine went way out of tune towards the end (Mom says it wasn't out of tune, but rather some weird Opera technique. I dunno.), but besides that, this part was so pretty. Her costume was lovely, and song is one of my favorites from this.
We've got Christine at her most confused and scared, and this song demonstrates how much she misses her father, which was really touching. Judging by the applause, this seems like the 'big' solo for Christine.
Then, the Phantom shows up. Again, the singer really surprises me with how soft and calm he can make his voice. After he sings to Christine for a moment, Raoul arrives, and I start to wonder just how many people followed Christine to the graveyard.
There's a confrontation, cool pyrotechnics, yelling Raoul(which is becoming a scene requirement, at this point.), and the Phantom declares that now it's war between them all.
The night of the Opera, Raoul has some army guys or cops come to stand guard to watch for the Phantom. He tells them that if they see the Phantom shoot, and shoot to kill. Yikes. On one hand, it is very sweet you would do that for Christine. On the other hand... Uh, doesn't that sink you to his level?
The Phantom's opera begins, but not before Raoul yells at some more people.

At one point, the Phantom swaps places with the lead actor and sings a duet with Christine. There's about two problems with this scene. First. I know he was wearing a cloak over his face, but Christine didn't recognize the Phantom's voice? Second. This song had some rather icky lyrics, and there's waaaaaaaayyyy too much touching. Ew.
But the tune is so brilliant, it's title is very fitting for the intense feel it has- Past the Point of No Return.
Gradually, Christine notices the difference (about time.), and pulls the hood off his face. He sings a rather sad reprise of All I Ask of You, until Christine pulls the mask off too, and everything goes crazy!

In the chaos, the Phantom takes Christine down to his lair, Meg discovers the dead body of the lead actor, and an angry mob forms to hunt down the Phantom. Madame Giry helps Raoul down to the lair (well, partway there, anyway.), and we enter the Finale.
This part is, well, it was really cool. The singing, acting, and music, they were all really good. The makeup on the Phantom too- wow. I think my younger siblings were a tad traumatized by that. They kept commenting on it and wondering if that was his real hair, etc. [They're fine, by the way.] But really, the part that squicked me out were his lips! I mean, I bet kissing him felt like rubbing your mouth against cold, uncooked hot dogs!
So, Raoul arrives as the Phantom and Christine are arguing, and you know, the poor guy does his best to rescue his sweetheart, but...
You tried Raoul, that's what counts.
C'mon Raoul, I know that you're under a lot of stress at the moment, but did Madame Giry not warn you about the lasso?
Well, too late now, I guess. So now the Phantom gives Christine one of those impossible choices- Spend your life with me, or I'll kill him!
Things get rather chaotic, musically, for a few minutes. Everyone's singing and yelling at once (Even Raoul, from his noose), and it was a little hard to pick out everything everyone was saying. The Phantom was saying something about however she chose, she wouldn't win, Raoul was off about how if she chooses to save his life his life is over without her, and Christine was understandably upset about the whole Angel of Music thing.
In the end, Christine chooses to stay with the Phantom, and she shows him that he's not alone by totally kissing him. The look on the Phantom's face when she did that, was just wow. And then there was Raoul. He looked pretty brokenhearted to see Christine kissing another man throwing her life away for his sake.
Christine's act of kindness must have really touched the Phantom, because the next thing he does is let them go. You can tell it was torturing him to see Christine leave, and the guy playing the Phantom really hammed it up for this scene. So he's left there all alone with the wedding veil, and a creepy monkey music box, and just when you think it couldn't get any more sad- Christine comes back to return the ring he gave her.
And it ends with Christine and Raoul going off, presumably getting married sometime in the future, and the Phantom all alone down in his lair, utterly heartbroken. Then Meg comes down, and finds nothing there except the mask.
The. End.

The Verdict: A-
First off, the music was absolutely gorgeous. The songs aren't really easy to sing along with, like they are in a certain other musical based on a French book, but they are so pretty to listen to. The sets and costumes too, at least in this version, really had me impressed. The singing was good, with a few minor complaints. So yeah, I liked it. XD Romance isn't really my big thing (or I choose to believe it isn't.), but I'm willing to make some exceptions. :)

Now if you excuse me, I must make my way to a Dia de Los Muertos party!
Good-morrow to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I have enabled comment moderation, but you have nothing to worry about unless your comment has swearing, vulgar language, or is rude and uncourteous.
Feel free to subscribe to follow-up comments, since I'll probably respond sooner or later.
Oh, and if you're commenting with the anonymous setting, please leave a name or alias at the end of your comment, so that I can have something to call you. :)