Criticism toward Joel Schumacher's attempted enactment of Andrew Lloyd Webber's cherished stage musical The Phantom of the Opera likely will fall on deaf ears. If you love the source material (I don't), the chances are high you'll thoroughly enjoy the latest film to pay tribute, even though Schumacher is functionally talentless.

Schumacher and his financial backers certainly spare no expense, though the bulk of their budget apparently went to candles. Their Phantom (the not-so-hideously-disfigured Gerard Butler) hides beneath opulent and gaudy-yet-dimly-lit theatrical set pieces that turn the normally regal Opera Populaire into the west wing of the Moulin Rogue. The Phantom's water-logged lair resembles exactly what it is - a poorly constructed, artificial set dropped into the corner of a vast soundstage. Hire the man who put nipples on the Bat suit, and you're going to get what you pay for. The masquerade ball, which occurs late in the story, starts to explore methods of filling the artistic canvas, but by then, it's too little, too late.

Continue reading: The Phantom Of The Opera (2004) Review