Saturday, January 31, 2009

Movie Journal: The Phantom Of The Opera

How many movies have you seen in your lifetime that have actually moved you? Sure in Live Free Or Die Hard everyone in the theater gasps as our hero John McClane struggles not fall down an elevator shaft. We've all experienced that: the wave of emotion. Millions of people on the edge of their theater seats, all experiencing the exact same thing. Where else does that happen but in entertainment? Some emotions are more powerful than others, and go deeper. Some emotions can rock you to the core. And that is what the classic tale The Phantom Of The Opera does for those willing to let it.

The sensation that it delivers is one of what I like to call "epic romance". I'm not talking about those "romantic comedies" that guys so often prefer to epic romance, "because they are funny." So often are romantic comedies merely chick flicks. They belittle love in a way, because they communicate that love is humorous, and whimsical. Epic romance differs. Epic romance conveys that love is a very serious matter. Love is something that lasts for all eternity, and beyond.

Movies are about emotion. True epic romance does not fall back onto exotic and erotic sex scenes in order to gain our interest, because that would be very near redundant; though so many Hollywood filmmakers think otherwise. Sex is not emotion. Sex is sensation. Pure, unadulterated emotion is what true epic romance delivers, and does not hold back. It's so powerful because it reminds us that it is better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all, because love is not a means to the end of happiness. Love is a means to the end of love, and all it stands for. It's something every individual pursues, and is never satisfied without, because they know their essence, their being, yearns for it, and will die without it.

So epic romance voices endlessly, and so the film The Phantom Of The Opera has taught me. It is one of the only movies that has ever actually moved me to the core, and despite some of it's few flaws it will continue to be a great story for generations to come, because it is the epitome of epic romance. Not only is it perfectly cast and breathtakingly well played, it's concoction of vibrantly empathetic characters and the impacting emotion of opera are a lethal combination that you will not be prepared for. I wasn't.

9 out of 10

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