Phantom Of The Opera

The '90s have seen many questionable revisionist adaptations of classics, from Roland Joffé's atrocious, girl-power-fueled take on The Scarlet Letter to the puzzlingly fairy-less Cinderella adaptation Ever After. Fitting nicely into this group is Dario Argento's Phantom Of The Opera, a reworking of the classic Gaston Leroux novel that features an opera-haunting phantom (Julian Sands) who isn't deformed; instead, he's a telekinetic, rat-controlling hunk who seduces his Christine (Asia Argento) without exerting too much effort. Though there's a germ of a good idea in creating a handsome and confident Phantom, Sands' character seems less tormented and conflicted than mean and unpleasant. Of course, it doesn't help that the film alternates wearily between PBS-style reverence and Fangoria-style gore, or that the dubbing is just a cut above the average Gamera sequel. From its unimaginatively brutal killings to its passionless love triangle, this Phantom Of The Opera is a bust, a film so despairingly dull and passionless that it's likely to make even the little-loved 1989 Robert Englund version look inspired by comparison.

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