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The Phantom of Opera
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The Phantom of Opera (1998)

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Plot Summary:
"Standard story of the Phantom does have one major variation - The phantom is not a disfigured individual, but rather is an unwashed orphan abandoned in the sewers under the Paris Opera & raised by rats. The Phantom invokes death upon anyone who dares harm his beloved rats. In fact, The Phantom's nemesis is the chief exterminator (Istvan Bubik) who develops a rat-catching machine."

Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 23 August 2003 My Rating: out of 5


Did ANYONE like this misfire? A horribly restrained (and cheap, what was the budget, around c? A buck?) Dario Argento wishes it were and people were still lauding him over 'Suspiria'. We also have an oddly ordinary-looking (huh? Trust me, it makes sense) Julian Sands as the unmasked (what? what's the point then?) Phantom who spends his days in the muck and grime with the rats he loves very (very) much. Ben...the two of us need look no, sorry about that.

Dario's daughter Asia is the lead actress here, playing a singer whom the Phantom becomes infatuated with...that's when he's not making sweet love to Ben, Willard and their pals (Seriously, he's one sick puppy- you've been warned). Even sicker than the rat stuff (which has nothing to do with anything really) is the sickness of the director, filming his own daughter in some nude scenes. The fact that ol' Dario's behind the camera means that the rest of us can't enjoy those scenes...mind you we're also talking about Julian Sands playing a supposed romantic/tragic figure.

Well, we would be if Dario had in fact even remotely followed the well-known tale- what were those rat catchers doing there?- but this is just a grimy, strange, slow-moving and incoherent cheapie. The great composer Ennio Morricone might best have not turned up given that not even his presence can save this garbage. Some gore here and there, but sorely lacking in thrills.

Message to those who lambasted the Robert Englund version- Anyone need a shovel? Got some digging to do?

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