The Phantom of the Opera

Rated 2.0 Andrew Lloyd Webber’s international smash musical (from Gaston Leroux’s novel) about the masked recluse of the Paris Opera House (Gerard Butler) and his soprano protégé (Emmy Rossum) comes to the screen considerably diminished—despite having Lloyd Webber himself as producer and as co-writer of the script (with director Joel Schumacher). The sung-through stage show becomes a standard book musical, which hampers the faux-Puccini tone of the score, and all that dialogue makes the songs sound like halfhearted afterthoughts (Schumacher seems intimidated by the musical numbers, and his overall staging suffers). Butler’s singing is strained; he chews on his words like a dog gnawing a bone. Rossum comes off best for singing, but even she gets lost amid all the rococo bric-a-brac of the cramped and cluttered sets.