The Phantom of the Opera – Movie 2004

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Last night I watched my first film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera.  Let it be said though, that this film is based on the musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber, not the original book.  If you’re looking for a movie that closely mirrors the book, you’re going to be disappointed.  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of musicals, I sat through this one without a problem.  It was so well done that I was willing to put up with a ton of singing just so I could see the story played out.  Gerard Butler was an amazing Phantom and I thought that Emmy Rossum made a very believable Christine.  Their singing was a joy to listen to.

The look of this movie was absolutely magical!  The costumes and sets were perfect and added a wonderful richness to the tapestry of the story.  I thought the Phantom was a little too handsome in his role (when compared to how the book described him), but I’m not going to complain too loudly.  Apparently he’s extremely talented with prosthetics and hairpieces in this version.

As far as differences between the movie and the book, I hesitate to get too critical.  I’ve never seen the musical before, so I can’t comment on how closely this version resembles the original.  It definitely strays from the novel, but that’s what I expected.  There are many changes which push the story even further into the realm of fantasy and theatricality.  Candelabras being held by moving arms originating from the walls?  Oh, yes.

My biggest criticism of the film is that there are a couple of scenes which were shot in such a way as to make you dizzy while watching them (a fight scene and the mirror room).  That is a no-no for me.  If I wanted to feel motion sickness, I’d go take a ride on a roller coaster.

I recommend The Phantom of the Opera to all the ladies out there who enjoy a love story combined with a musical.  If that isn’t you, this movie might be a little over the top for you.

Possible Objections:

  • Brief view of a man’s nude backside (blink, and you’ll miss it)
  • 1 instance of the d-word
  • Some mild sensuality
  • A hanging which is a bit graphic

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…




The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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I checked this book out on a whim.  Whenever I read the newspaper, I notice that list of popular books right next to the crossword puzzle.  I never have looked at any of those books–until now.  I thought it might be fun to see what’s so great about the current popular books out there.

I finished reading The Girl on the Train a couple of days ago.  It’s not the type of book that I normally pick up, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  It’s a little hard to classify.  I’d call it a cross between a psychological/crime thriller and peoples’ personal memoirs.  It sounds a bit strange, but the book focuses equally on events and peoples’ thought lives.

Each chapter focuses on an individual character and records their thoughts and actions in diary form.  The chapters jump around from one character to another, where we learn what happens in the story, the characters’ motives and thoughts, and what they think about one another.

This book is interesting in that you don’t really know who the “good guys” are until the end.  In the beginning you will probably think that you have it figured out, but as the story progresses and peoples’ thoughts are exposed, you will come to a new understanding.  The book really got me thinking about what makes a person good or bad.  Outward appearances can be deceiving.

I don’t want to tell you a lot about the plot because that will totally ruin the book for anyone who hasn’t read it yet.  I will tell you that it’s about a woman named Rachel whose husband (Tom) divorced her for another woman.  Rachel can’t move on and she becomes an alcoholic.  While riding on the train past the row of houses where she used to live, she witnesses something that is seemingly inconsequential, but that has a major impact on the other characters in the story.  There are other characters who become entwined in the story–Anna (Tom’s new wife), Scott and Megan Hipwell (neighbors of Tom’s), Kamal (a therapist), Cathy (Rachel’s flatmate), etc.

I would recommend this book as an interesting and engrossing read.  It kept me guessing almost up to the end about who the “bad guy” was.  It’s also a good study on human nature and what makes people tick.  I would say that it’s appropriate for adults because of the language, sex, and violence.

Possible Objections:

  1. Bad language–quite a bit of it.
  2. Sexual themes.
  3. Violence.

Rating: 5 Stars


Until next time…


Jane Eyre – Movie 2011

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I have decided that in addition to reviewing books, I’d also like to use this blog to review movie adaptations of books.  To that end, Jane Eyre is my first movie review.  I believe this is the second time that I’ve watched the version that features Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska.  I’m not going to give an extremely detailed breakdown of the movie and all the pros and cons.  I prefer to talk lightly on whether or not I liked it, if there were any glaring errors, etc.  I’d rather you come away with your own ideas from the movie, than be overly influenced by mine.

First, I like the look of the actors they chose to portray Mr. Rochester and Jane in this version.  I know that sounds silly, but if I don’t think “Jane” and “Rochester” when I look at the actors, I’m not going to enter into the story as readily.  I really enjoyed Fassbender’s portrayal of Rochester, though he wasn’t quite as dark and brooding as in some other adaptations or the book.  He didn’t seem to be quite as tortured as he should have been.  Wasikowska’s portrayal, I’m not quite as sure about.  I did enjoy her performance, but it seemed to be lacking something.  There seemed to be a flatness to her character at times, and a general lack of emotion.  I also thought that the chemistry was a little lacking between Jane and Rochester, which is of course one of the main ingredients that makes the whole plot believable.

There were a few bits that I noticed had been changed from the book, but I’ve come to expect that in screen adaptations.  It doesn’t bother me too much.  Unfortunately, there were some scenes left out that I think would have added to the story, but there may have been time constraints.  One thing I thought was quite clever in this adaptation, was that Jane’s story alternated between present day (once she had left Thornfield), and her past (beginning with her childhood).  I think that was an interesting way to tell the story.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to Jane Eyre fans and those who enjoy a good love story.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, as long as you go into it allowing it to be its own version of Jane Eyre.  🙂

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…