Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cassie's 'Phantom' Movie Critique

For writing class last year I was assigned to write a critique on a favorite movie and I chose 'the Phantom of the Opera' (big surprise, huh? :D)

Here is the finished 5 paragraph "critique":



The Timeless Phantom

by Cassie (age 14)

“The Phantom of the Opera” is a movie released in December of 2004 which was based off of the highly-acclaimed musical and novel by the same name. It's rating in PG13 because of brief violent images. Warner Bros. Is the movie's USA distributor. Its soundtrack is enchanting. Andrew Lloyd Webber, who previously wrote and composed the musical, produced the movie as well. Superb special effects were created by John Mathieson. Interestingly, the movie's tag line is “Her voice became his passion. Her love became his obsession. Her refusal became his rage.” and it truly describes the movie and successfully draws a person in.

This dramatic film enticingly opens in black and white in the year 1919 as an auction is underway at the dilapidated shell of the once lively and beautiful Paris Opera House. Raoul appears as an old man in a wheelchair and he purchases a music box, which once belonged to the Phantom of the Opera, from the auction. Continuing the auction, the auctioneer reveals the next item, an exquisitely massive chandelier, which had been restored from what the auctioneer calls a “disaster” of “the Phantom of the Opera”. Gloriously, the chandelier is raised as the theme music plays and the movie switches from black and white into color and the old, destroyed opera house melts away, revealing it in its past glory, almost thirty years previously. As a rehearsal is going on for a new opera, attention in drawn to a young chorus girl named Christine Daaé. Raoul is reintroduced, now a dashing young man as the Opera's new patron. Noticing Raoul, Christine confides in her best friend, Meg, that she and Raoul knew each other when they were young and were childhood sweethearts.

Continuing the rehearsal, Carlotta, who is the Opera's spoiled and self-centered diva, has an accident and the two opera managers are distressed because, as far as they know, no one can take her place on center stage at an important gala that evening. Surprising them all, Meg's mother, who is the ballet mistress and Christine's “mother figure” recommends Christine to understudy for Carlotta. Reluctantly, the opera managers give Christine a chance and are joyously surprised when Christine begins to sing with incredible skill and beauty. Christine was the shining star of the gala. After her astonishing success, Christine shared the secret of her voice with Meg. Ever since her father died and Christine began to live at the Opera House, a man's voice, which Christine earnestly believed was the “Angel of Music” that her father had promised to send to her, had been coaching her and giving her lessons. Raoul, who had recognized Christine while she was singing, met with her, but refused to believe her story about the Angel of Music until he later returns to find her missing. The “angel”, who was a mysterious man wearing a mask, had taken Christine down to his lair, far beneath the Paris Opera House. Unaware of drastic and horrible consequences, Christine allows her curiosity to get the better of her and she inconsiderately tears the mask from the Phantom's face. She is horrified! Filled with rage, the Phantom hurried to reacquire his mask as he exclaims that, now that Christine has glimpsed his horrifically disfigured face, she will never be free again. Back above ground, the opera manager, Raoul and Carlotta have all received letters from the Phantom or “Opera Ghost” demanding that Raoul never be with Christine again and that Christine replace Carlotta determinately as the Opera's star. Defiantly, all four of them decided to ignore the letters and the Phantom's orders. Christine returned and she shared her story and professed her love for Raoul and the two of them decided to become married. Seeing the two of them together enrages the already bitter Phantom as he ruthlessly decides to stop at nothing until Christine is his.

Presently, the Phantom composes and presents a new opera to the two managers. They agree to preform it, with Christine playing the largest role. Christine feels extremely timid because, in order to ensnare the Phantom, Raoul and the managers have decided to use Christine singing as bait to lure him in. Raoul attempts to assure Christine that her fear are not necessary, but all it does is convince her that, no matter what, if she sings, the Phantom will take her and never let her go. The important night arrives. Waiting and ready to strike, the police are there. The Phantom, unbeknown to all, has murdered the male lead in the play and had secretly taken his place. Part way through a duet, Christine is horrified to realize that her singing partner is the man she dreaded and feared so much. Thinking through her limited options to save herself, Christine decides to become very close to the Phantom so she could have the chance to unmask him in front of the crowded audience. As she does so, the Phantom acts quickly, grabbing Christine and taking her down to his lair and, in the process, in order to create a diversion, causes the chandelier to crash down, Thus setting fire to the Opera house. Thoroughly invested in saving Christine's life, Raoul pursues them and discovers where the Phantom has been hiding. Cunningly, the Phantom catches Raoul with a lasso and tightens it into a noose. In a fit of rage, the Phantom then forces Christine to chose to either spend the rest of her days living with him in order to save Raoul's life, or chose to leave, but killing Raoul in the process. Raoul urges Christine not to think of him, but it doesn't do much while Christine, after showing Raoul her devoted and pure love for him by mouthing, “I love you.”, turns and passionately embraces and the kisses the Phantom, showing her deep care for him. Christine earnestly loves both Raoul and the Phantom, but both in different ways. Finally, relenting of his past cruelty, the Phantom releases Raoul and urges Christine to leave along with him. As a mob of angry people close in on the Phantom's lair, hunting him down for murder, the Phantom smashes all of his mirrors and shuts himself away declaring with despair, “It's over now, the music of the night!” All that is visibly left of the Phantom as the mob enters his house is his lone white mask, resting on a chair, empty. The movie then switches color again and becomes black and white once more as we see Raoul place the music box that he purchased on Christine's grave. Glancing over, Raoul notices something else left there. It is a red rose tied with a black ribbon, the Phantom's trademark, a sign that the Phantom is still alive and still remembers and loves Christine. Attached to the black ribbon is a plain engagement ring, which was offered and refused so many years ago.

All in all, “The Phantom of the Opera” is an enchanting film, full of intense action, complicated mysteries, horror and twisted romance. This movie would be thoroughly enjoyed, of course, by “phans” of the original musical and a mature audience who enjoys drama and music. Even without the music, the stunning visual effects were nominated for many awards and are a pleasure to watch and a delight to the eyes. The movie was nominated for over 30 awards and won 5 of them. The majority of those wins were bestowed upon Emmy Rossum for superb acting by a younger actress, since she was only 16 years old at the time of the shooting. Emmy did an incredible job at portraying Christine's innocence and longing and she successfully captured the very essence of Christine's emotions and character. The other actors were fantastic as well, especially Patrick Wilson's (Raoul) voice was very well trained and his acting was flawless, especially during the end scenes of the movie. Gerard Butler (the Phantom) was very passionate and emotional and he became better and better in the part as the movie progressed. Phantom is a timeless film that will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.


Apparently, according to Aunt Becky, my teacher, I had too many details and it was more of a summary than a critique.

Here's take 2...


The Timeless Phantom

by Cassie (age 14)

“The Phantom of the Opera” is a movie released in December of 2004 which was based off of the highly-acclaimed musical and novel by the same name. It's rating in PG13 because of brief violent images. Warner Bros. is the movie's USA distributor. Its soundtrack is enchanting. Andrew Lloyd Webber, who previously wrote and composed the musical, produced the movie as well. Superb special effects were created by John Mathieson. Interestingly, the movie's tag line is “Her voice became his passion. Her love became his obsession. Her refusal became his rage.” and it truly describes the movie and successfully draws a person in.

The movie follows the story of a young and naïve chorus girl named Christine Daaé, who is earnestly seeking for love and protection after the death of her beloved father. The Viscount Raoul de Chagny, is Christine's friend from childhood and, now, is her love. Raoul's rival and Christine's admirer who is a masked man with a horrific facial disfigurement is the mysterious 'Phantom of the Opera' and is passionately involved in Christine's life and success and desires her love in return. The setting is in France and more specifically, the Paris Opera House in the year 1870.

Ever since Christine's father died and she began to live at the Opera House, the Phantom, who she whole-heartedly believed was the “Angel of Music” her father had promised to send to her, has been giving her lessons and helping her to become the greatest singer the world has ever known. Once Raoul comes back into her life and she discovers who the Phantom really is, however, Christine refuses the Phantom's declarations of love and she and Raoul become engaged. This enrages the already bitter Phantom as he ruthlessly decides to stop at nothing until Christine is his.

Presently, while Christine is preforming, the Phantom cunningly kidnaps her and leads her down to his lair, far beneath the lively and beautiful Opera House. Attempting to save Christine, Raoul pursues them, only to become trapped by the clever Phantom. The Phantom then declares that Christine must chose to either live with him forever in order to save Raoul, or leave, but killing Raoul in the process. Pressured and torn, Christine eventually decides to save Raoul and she shows her deep love for the Phantom by kissing him. Christine earnestly loved both Raoul and the Phantom, but both in different ways. Finally, relenting of his past cruelty, the Phantom releases Raoul and urges Christine to leave along with him. Then the Phantom despairingly shuts himself away and is never heard from again.

All in all, “The Phantom of the Opera” is an enchanting film, full of intense action, complicated mysteries, horror and twisted romance. This movie would be thoroughly enjoyed, of course, by “phans” of the original musical and a mature audience who enjoys drama and music. Even without the music, the stunning visual effects were nominated for many awards and are a pleasure to watch and a delight to the eyes. The movie was nominated for over 30 awards and won 5 of them. The majority of those wins were bestowed upon Emmy Rossum for superb acting by a younger actress, since she was only 16 years old at the time of the shooting. Emmy did an incredible job at portraying Christine's innocence and longing and she successfully captured the very essence of Christine's emotions and character. The other actors were fantastic as well, especially Patrick Wilson (Raoul) who's voice was very well trained and his acting- flawless, especially during the end scenes of the movie. Gerard Butler (the Phantom) was very passionate and emotional and he became better and better in the part as the movie progressed. 'Phantom' is a timeless film that will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.


OK, so MUCH better! I cut it more than in half!

Whew, so, after you spend your entire afternoon reading this gargantuan post, comment and let me know weather you liked the original "summary" or the abridged critique better.



Pitiful creature of darkness,
What kind of life have you known?
God give me courage to show you,
You are not alone...

2 comments:

Eldarwen Failariel said...

Wow, that was super good, Cassie! :D I loved it! Did you get an 'A'?

tinydancer said...

lol.
sounds like me: too many details, far more wordy than it needed to be.......
i liked it!

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