of the Opera
Beware: Spoilers may be in the
A long time fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber's legendary musical
Phantom Of The Opera (must have seen it 15+ times since the
mid-1980's), I have to say it was a treat to finally see this up on
the big screen. Over the years, I
have looked forward to a phantom movie just as I look forward
to someday getting a XWP movie.
I was afraid I might be disappointed
because sometimes stories which play wonderfully on stage don't do
well on the big screen and vice versa, but I have to say that I
enjoyed the film and came out crying at the end just as I always do
with the musical. My biggest fear regarding a movie version of
Phantom was that they would use well-known or gorgeous actors
instead of people who could sing, thereby ruining the extraordinary
music, but I have to say that they did a good job finding actors who
are gorgeous, can act and can sing.
Gerard Butler makes for a
very sexy phantom and his singing is impressive. I don't know if
they enhanced his voice for the film but if they didn't the guy
could definitely do Broadway. Same for Emmy Rossum as Christine -
great voice, very pretty, with a youth and sense of innocence that
probably makes her more suited for the role than many of the
actresses who have played Christine on stage.
Patrick Wilson who plays
Raoul is also fine in the part with a strong voice though he has
this 'pretty boy' look that makes me roll my eyes at the idea that
Christine would pick him over the dark, sexy Gerard - slight facial
Director Joel Schumaker and Webber who
served as the film's producer does a nice job of translating the
musical to film. All the key scenes are there along with the
memorable props - the music box with the monkey on top, the
spectacular chandelier, the human-powered elephant for the Hannibal
sequence, the masquerade ball, the boat trip along the underground
tunnels, Christine's beautiful solo at her father's tomb, the
declaration of love on the roof top of the Paris opera house, the
sensual exchange between the Phantom and Christine during the
performance of Don Juan and the ensuing unveiling.
The filmmakers added scenes to flesh
out the story and connect those key scenes from the musical. Most
notably, they expand on the backgrounds of both the Phantom and
Christine by including scenes from their childhood, which explain
how they came to be at the opera house. I particularly liked what
they did with Madame Giry, played by Miranda Richardson. In the
musical she is a very serious, stoic figure who knows about the
Phantom and seems to have some contact with him but also fears him.
In the movie her character is revealed as a young girl who helped
the Phantom as a boy escape from his jailers. She is sympathetic to
the Phantom and seems almost to care for him as an older sister of
Now, having said that I did like the
film I must also note that it does not capture the full drama and
spectacle of the musical. Webber originally wrote this musical for
the stage and it is there that it really achieves greatness. The
film is good and in my opinion will be a treat to most fans of the
musical but it can't compare to the real thing. If any of you have
never seen the musical and enjoy the movie I would highly recommend
you catch the musical if you ever can. The music and the songs on
the big screen are nice - in a live performance in a theatre -
they'll leave you breathless.
Couple of things I did not like about
the film or thought they should have done differently - in the
cemetery scene when Christine goes to visit her dad's grave they
include a sword fight between the Phantom and Raoul in which the
Phantom loses. I haven't seen the musical in a few years so I may be
wrong about this, but I don't remember a sword fight between these
two characters. I do remember a confrontation at the cemetery in
which the Phantom starts throwing these flaming balls at Raoul and
Raoul then rushes off with Christine.
I think they wanted to
make Raoul seem more heroic in the movie so they have him riding his
horse to the cemetery and then having it out with the Phantom. The
Phantom ends up at the end of Raoul's blade, but Raoul lets him go.
Then, the very next scene is Raoul at the Opera House a few days
later directing the police and other men on a plan to capture and
kill the Phantom. Well, if he wanted the guy killed or captured why
didn't he just do this at the cemetery? I think it would have played
out much better if the Phantom had disappeared in the middle of the
duel or at the end of it with one of his illusions.
Also, in the climactic moment when
Raoul rushes to the Phantom's lair to save Christine, the Phantom
ends up capturing him with a rope around his neck. In the musical it
plays out as a trap the Phantom had set. In the movie they have the
Phantom sort of shoving Raoul back against a steel gate and then
tying him up there. Hard to believe, Raoul would just stand there
not struggling all that much while the Phantom ties his hands and
puts a rope around his neck. Raoul then sort of hangs from the steel
gate looking as if he is purposely holding his hands inside the
ropes rather than these actually restraining him.
Overall not a great film but a good
adaptation of a truly splendid stage musical. Hardcore Phantom fans
should enjoy it, as should those who like mushy romances.
- Review by Lunacy,
mini film festival!
Festival of Short Films by Young Sri Lanka Filmmakers will be screened
at the BMICH Cinema Hall today, from 3.30 -
The Asian Film Centre and the Tulana
Media Unit are presenting these films, in order to highlight the
work of some of their talented young filmmakes and to help create a
viable culture of short filmmaking in this country, which they feel
is an essential first step towards rejuvenating Sri Lankan cinema.
Unfortunately, due to financial and other constraints, only
a dozen or so films can be shown. There are many more young
filmmakers in Sri Lanka who have made short films and are desperate
to screen them to the public.
The AFC and the TMU hope that with the
help of public and / or private sector sponsorship, a festival of
this nature will gain a prominent place in Sri Lankan cinema's
calendar of regular events. They feel this is an important way to
encourage a serious creative engagement with the cinema among young
Some of these films were made by
students who attended some of the theoretical and practical training
courses and workshops in filmmaking conducted at various times by
Prasanna Vithanage, Studio
Artisans in Maharagama and in other parts of
the country, and by Robert Crusz (Tulana). Some films were
made by students who were completing their undergraduate studies in
Mass Communications and Sociology at the Kelaniya, and Sri
Jayawardnepura Universities. The rest are by young filmmakers who
have been working in, or involved with, the local film and
television industry in various capacities, or those who are earning
a living in unrelated fields, but have their hearts set on being
1. We Love Football - Aruna Lokuliyana
2. The 6th Bullet - Nilanka Alexander
4. Flower & Star - Ashoka
Weerasinghe (10.00 min)
3. Within 65610 Km2 - Thanuja
Srinarayana (10.00 min)
5. Jane - Suranga Ranawaka (11.00 min)
6. Those Who Thirst - A joint
directorial effort by Mass Communications
Undergraduates of the University of Kelaniya (11.00 min)
7. Existence - Indrajith Mahawaduge
8. Colour Dreams - Thilina Alahakoon
9. After That He Fell Asleep -
Chinthana Dharmadasa (16.00 min)
10. It Isn't The End - Jeewanthi
Kodituwakku (8.00 min)
11. Diyawaka - Kumudu Nishantha Perera
12. Moonlight On A Moonless Night -
Saman Rajapaksha (25.00 min)
13. On The Time - Lilantha Deshapriya
Swarna Javanika - a presentation of
selected scenes from the spectrum of creations by famous theatre
artiste, poet and writer, Henry Jayasena will be staged on June 30,
at 3 p.m. and 6.45 p.m. at the Elphinstone Theatre in Maradana.
Selected scenes from Hunuwataye Kathawa,
Kuveni, Apata Puthe Magak Nethay, Jangle, Thavath Udesanak and
others will be included in this presentation for which the music
will be by Nalin Alwis.
A CD titled Seethala Sanda Eliye
was recently released by singer Raj Seneviratne. It promises to be
an extremely entertaining experience for music lovers, with
compositions by Rohana Weerasinghe and Mahinda Bandara and lyrics by
Bandula Nanayakkarawasam, Chandradasa Fernando, Kumara Godage,
Ajantha Ranasingha, Hector Wijesiri and Hemasiri Halpita. Raj teams
up with Sunil of Gypsies fame, Mariazelle and Ashanthi for various
In an unusual setting, the well known
Swiss harmonica player Roland van Straaten per formed his concert, jointly with the Symphony Orchestra
of Sri Lanka in Colombo. The musician and composer from Switzerland
ranks among the world's best harmonica players, and was invited to
Sri Lanka under the patronage of the Embassy of Switzerland. The
concert, took place at Elphinstone Theatre on Friday, June 17. It was an exciting new approach to musical co-operation
The Concerto No. 1 for harmonica and
orchestra, composed by the soloist himself, and performed for the
first time with the Zurich Symphony Orchestra last February, has
been welcomed by the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka as a challenge;
the musicians usually geared to classical music in the strict sense,
have taken up the co-operation with van Straaten enthusiastically.
The rehearsals, which are now in progress, show that the orchestra
is eager for this new experience in 'crossover music', as it is
called. The Concerto No. 1 (since it is the first ever composition
for harmonica and orchestra) has a blowsy touch, but a symphonic
feel, and will indeed excite the lovers of classical and
contemporary world music alike.
In the second part of the evening, the
Swiss artiste demonstrated his musical talent in a solo performance.
Van Straaten has developed new playing techniques and experimented
on variations of the modest harmonica, to free himself from its more
limited, conventional sounds and styles. The 'blues' was the
starting point for Straaten's love of harmonica playing, from where
he carried it, inspired by influences from the Indian raga to the
Argentinean tango, to a new level of world music.
annual art exhibition
Art Attack' was held at the Lionel
Wendt Art Gallery on June
6,7, and 8. This picture shows
Head, Junior School, Dushyanthi Parakrama (centre) showing
some of the paintings to Chief Guests Luxshman Nadarajah
(photographer) and Nelun Harasgama (artist).
The exhibits of art and craft by
students from Primary I right up to O'Level were creative, colourful
and thought provoking.
to perform Gloria
Next Sunday, June 26, Camerata Musica
Chamber Choir will be performing Antonio Vivaldi's famous
Gloria with orchestra and soloists, and will celebrate the 500th
anniversary of the great English composer Thomas Tallis, with a
tapestry of some of his most beautiful motets and anthems.
Written around 1715 in Venice, the
Gloria has the colour and sparkle of that great city. It is by turn
exuberant and operatic, or reflective and grandly majestic, and is
probably Vivaldi's best loved work after the Four Seasons.
Unusually, all the solo voices are
female as it was written for a girls' orphanage in Venice where
Vivaldi was music-master. Anagi Perera, Amandi Ekanayake and
Kumudini David who are members of Camerata Musica will sing the
solos. Within the chamber orchestra, solo parts will be played by
Hasitha Pathirana - oboe, Navin Fernando - trumpet, Tamara Holsinger
- cello, and Ramya de Livera Perera - organ and harpsichord.
Thomas Tallis is best known for his
magnificent 40 part Spem in Alium, one of the greatest choral
masterpieces of all time. Given their more limited numbers, Camerata
have chosen to celebrate his 500th anniversary and to demonstrate
the variety and beauty of Tallis's music through 10 English anthems
and Latin motets, some of which may surprise the audience with their
Led by their Director of Music, Adam
Smyth, the Camerata have chosen St. Paul's Church, Kynsey Road for
the concert since its vaulted, stone spaces will allow the soaring
soprano lines and multiple melodies of Tallis's music to be heard at
their most inspirational.
The concert begins at 7pm and admission
is by programme which may be purchased at the Lionel Wendt or at the
Church door from 6 pm.