Phantom of the Opera (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|When the wandering minstrels wander into my backyard and sing of the worst films ever made, they will be hard-pressed to ignore this one. Considering that Dario Argento is an mature adult who has been making films for decades, some of those films stunning in their own way, the breadth and depth of the incompetence in this film is beyond imagining. Usually even bad movies have some redeeming qualities. This has none.|
visuals, technical overview. There are two types of scenes. Type 1 -
really, really, really dark scenes in which you can't even see what is
happening. Type 2 - merely very dark scenes in which you can make out
the activity on screen. Of the two, the Type 1 scenes are distinctly
The visuals, artistic overview. Julian Sands has fantasies of humans trapped in a giant burning rat trap which floats angelically on cartoon clouds. There is a public bath and bordello filled with naked fat people. (This is one of the scenes that would have been better as a Type 1). There are several graphic impalings and dismemberments. 'Nuff said.
Nobody will ever accuse Dario of being anal retentive. In the
lip-synching scenes, he didn't even make a half-hearted attempt to
co-ordinate the sound and the visuals. There's, like, a guy with a
bass voice singing Wagner in German, and Asia Argento is synching
along in a different tempo while dancing the Mexican hat dance.
The script. The Phantom of the Opera is gothic melodrama to begin with, but Dario managed to add some great details. For example, the phantom is the way he is because he was abandoned by his mother and raised by rats. I didn't make that up. That's a real plot point, although I notice that Julian Sands speaks English with only a trace of a rat accent.
|Fanty's mortal enemy
is the official Opera House Ratcatcher, who has put down more than
4,000 of Fanty's family. He drives through the bowels of the building
with a mechanized contraption straight out of Time Bandits, complete with
little guy assistant, and this McCormack Rat Reaper sweeps up the
little critters and grinds them into ... ratatouille,
I guess. While the ratcatchers perform this important function, the sound track
features some "Gilligan pulled a boner again" music.
The acting. What acting? The leads are barely passable. The minor characters couldn't possibly be played by actors. These people must be members of the crew or their families or just people off the streets. Asia does OK and looks OK, but she only has about 30 lines, which leaves Julian Sands to carry the film on his own, surrounded by amateurs.
And we never do find out the things we really want to know about Fanty. Like how did he get such a gigantic organ?
But I have to say, in the final analysis, that Dario has his priorities right. Most guys directing their daughter in a movie would have worried about making her look and sound good. Dario was more worried about getting the right camera angle to film a shot up her asshole. Ya gotta admire the guy for that.
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