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Tag Archive: Phantom of the Opera


Lea Seydoux as Belle Beauty and the Beast

French director Christophe Gans is bringing his award-winning adaptation of Beauty and the Beast to the United States next month well in advance of the latest Disney adaptation starring Emma Watson that is slated for a March 2017 release.  Both are live action versions, following the Academy Award-winning animated version that was nominated for Best Film of 1991.  Originally released in France in 2014, Gans’ version swept the art design awards at that year’s Cesar awards, France’s equivalent to the Oscars, for Best Production Design, Cinematography, and Costume Design.

The French adaptation is simply stunning, evoking epic visual spectacles with lavish sets and costumes like the 2012 film Les Miserables and the 2004 film Phantom of the Opera, and fantasies like Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and even the original Labyrinth.  It is also a follow-up star vehicle for SPECTRE lead Bond Girl Léa Seydoux, who portrays Belle.  Seydoux also starred in Inglourious Basterds, the 2010 Robin Hood, Midnight in Paris, Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

France Beauty and the Beast 2014

Vincent Cassell (Elizabeth, Shrek, Ocean’s Twelve, Black Swan) portrays the Prince.

Have a look at this stunning trailer for Beauty and the Beast:

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New metallic Alien figure   New Ripley figure Funko

Entertainment Earth is now shipping pretty much all of its gigantic, multi-franchise line of action figures inspired by the Kenner line of Star Wars action figures from the 1970s.  Many aren’t aware that Ridley Scott’s Alien had its own line of figures by Kenner, developed and ready to produce until someone realized they were marketing toys to kids based on an R-rated movie most wouldn’t get to see.  Those figures were finally remade by Funko toys and discussed here at borg.com last November.

The success of the Alien line prompted figures from nearly every great sci-fi and horror franchise you can think of except Star Wars:  Firefly, Back to the Future, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Predator, Escape from New York, and Terminator.  Blockbuster horror films including Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and even the cult classic The Crow.  And classic monster films including Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, and The Wolfman.  We previewed all of them here.and here and here.  A similar but unrelated toy line is producing its own line of Six Million Dollar Man and The Twilight Zone figures, too.

Facehugger figure   Kane chestburst figure

Make no mistake, these figures aren’t for the discerning high-end collector of photo-real sculpts.  These figures celebrate all things retro in their dated styling and five-points of articulation in a world of figures made today with far more movement and features.

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i-frankenstein moving poster

Review by C.J. Bunce

I, Frankenstein is a fantasy-horror motion picture released earlier this year, based on a graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux.  Starring Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight), Bill Nighy (Underworld, Shawn of the Dead, State of Play), Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck), Miranda Otto (Lord of the Rings), and Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard, Jack Reacher), all signs pointed to the possibility that the film could be minimally watchable.  But retellings of classic monster stories are tough to get right.  In our ongoing pursuit at borg.com to identify the best of Blu-ray 3D home video we screened I, Frankenstein in Blu-ray 3D.  Despite having some pretty stellar 3D special effects, the film unfortunately can’t overcome its thin effort to retell the Frankenstein story.

With creators of Underworld behind the scenes, it’s no wonder this film has the look of that franchise.  It also shares the same dark vibe as the respectable and fun monster mash-up Van Helsing.  But its clunky twist on Frankenstein’s monster isn’t saved by the serious acting of lead Aaron Eckhart, or the quality bad guy villainy portrayed by Bill Nighy.

Adam Frankenstein

Good monster retellings?  Try Young Frankenstein (1974), Phantom of the Opera (2004), Van Helsing (2004), the American Werewolf series, Wolf (1994), Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), The Mummy (1999), and the short-lived Dracula (2013) TV series.  These all show how retellings of classic monster stories can be done right.

Nicely done action sequences and fiery explosions?  It’s got ’em.  Beautifully-rendered, in-your-face 3D?  It’s got that, too.  And if you only want to watch special effects with the backdrop of a classic, then this may be something for one of those moments.

But I, Frankenstein is about a legion of gargoyles and their gargoyle queen (Miranda Otto) who are in a battle with demons under the control of a demon prince played by Nighy, posing as a modern-day biotech businessman.  Nighy’s character wants Dr. Frankenstein’s journal, to be able to resurrect soulless bodies for demons in hell to fill.  Otto’s character attempts to recruit Frankenstein (the monster has taken his creator’s name) to her cause, even giving him the rather silly name of Adam (which nobody else ever uses). Hundreds of years after their initial meeting, Frankenstein and the gargoyle queen reunite in the present day (still wearing the same costumes).

Huh? 

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The first movie trailer for the screen adaptation of Les Miserables the musical (not to be confused with countless prior adaptations of the original Victor Hugo novel) is here.  The trailer features Anne Hathaway as she’s never been seen before as the desperate and sickly French worker Fantine, singing “I Dreamed a Dream.”

Check it out:

It all looks very epic and bleak–hence, the misery of the title.  I know audiences love the Fantine song but I’m thinking I would have marketed this more as a rousing war movie, as the best part of Les Mis the musical in my view were the big chorus numbers with the soldiers or the “Master of the House” bit.

Hathaway in Les Mis.

Epic historical costume dramas focusing on music have to work to find their audience, and once in a while, as with Amadeus, you score a hit that brings everyone to the theater.  Is Les Mis capable of that success?

Crowe and Jackman in Les Mis.

With as much as the adaptation of the musical of The Phantom of the Opera had going for it, with superb performances by Emmy Rossum (The Day After Tomorrow, Poseidon) as Christine, Gerard Butler (Timeline, 300, Tomorrow Never Dies) as the Phantom, Minnie Driver (The Riches, Ella Enchanted, X-Files, GoldenEye) as Carlotta, Patrick Wilson (Watchmen, A Gifted Man) as Raoul, Ciaran Hinds (The Woman in Black, Munich, Harry Potter VII, Pt 2, Ghost Rider II, Lara Croft II, Road to Perdition, The Sum of All Fears, Mary Reilly, Excalibur) as Firmin, and Simon Callow (Doctor Who, Amadeus, Shakespeare in Love, Howard’s End) as Andre, it did not receive the critical acclaim it deserved.  It will take an incredibly well done Les Mis film to out-do The Phantom, so this new film has a lot to overcome.  And even then it may take a lot to get folks to see it again but this time on-screen or less likely, see it on-screen without first seeing the musical.

Patrick Wilson and Emmy Rossum in the brilliant adaptation of the musical of The Phantom of the Opera.

Hopefully more interesting, and not yet revealed, will be performances by Sacha Baron Cohen (Talladega Nights, The Dictator) and Helena Bonham Carter (Alice in Wonderland, Frankenstein, Harry Potter series) as the horrible inn keepers.  But Hugh Jackman looks appropriately haggard as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe looks uncharacteristically vile as the relentless Javert.  Amanda Seyfried looks just plain miscast as Cosette.  Can Hathaway pull off a singing and gritty role like Fantine?  She’s done serious work before and was great in the musical Ella Enchanted, although that was a comedy and didn’t require that she take herself seriously.  If she can pull this role off–a role that might as well be up there with the best known Shakepearean characters–it could catapult her into a different league of actresses and away from the typical modern 20-something roles.

Les Miserables hits theaters December 14, 2012.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

        

It’s like the Canadian band Barenaked Ladies said in their hit song:  It’s all been done before.

But of course it hasn’t.

We sometimes tell ourselves that when we run out of ideas.  But just as much as there are always going to be millions more stories for writers to tell, there are stories out there already created that are waiting to reach a new audience.  Stories we love, but stories that we’d really love to see transformed into another medium– onto the TV or silver screen.  These are the film adaptations.  And they are a key part of movies of any genre.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences even has their own Oscar for adapted screenplay that often coincides with the Best Picture winner.

What are your favorite stories?  Have they all been made into movies?  Do you wish that any of them would be turned into a movie?  Do you wish most of them hadn’t been made into movies?  What stories would you like to see that have not yet been adapted to film?

You can adapt anything into a movie if you’re creative enough.  The biggest source for adaptations are books.  The result?  Some are good (Jaws, Godfather, To Kill a Mockingbird, Jurassic Park) and some bad (like every live action film based on Dr. Seuss/Theodor Geisel, who must be turning in his grave at what happened to his franchise after his death), or even hopelessly bad (like The da Vinci Code, which should probably not have merited a novel in the first place).   A painting by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer inspired a novel and then a film adaptation—The Girl with a Pearl Earring.  The movie Ever After takes a fairy tale and merges it with a painting of Leonardo da Vinci’s Head of  Woman to create both a retelling and an alternate history of sorts, placing Leonardo himself in the middle of the fairy tale.

The Phantom of the Opera was turned from a theatrical musical into a movie (and even the reverse happens, as Sunset Boulevard went from film to musical).  The video games Tron, Doom, Resident Evil, and Tomb Raider all have been adapted into movies (how about Pitfall?).  Even the Parker Brothers games Clue and the Milton Bradley game Battleship have been adapted into film (wouldn’t it be great to try again with the characters in Clue?).

Wait long enough and even classic TV gets made into movies, like The Dukes of Hazzard, The Addams Family, The Brady Bunch, and the new Johnny Depp adaptation of Dark Shadows.  Last week the BBC reported that Bob Dylan’s album Blood on the Tracks is currently being made into a movie (and the album itself was even inspired by the short stories of Anton Chekhov), and the story of the song Amazing Grace (with Ioan Gruffudd and Benedict Cumberbatch) hit theaters only a few years ago.  Then there are adaptations of a writer’s angle on some famous or infamous figure in real life, like Schindler’s List—the biopic or historical adaptation is everywhere–but usually starts with the novel.  And even newspaper articles can end up as the original source for an award winning film, like All the President’s Men.  Certainly last but not least, comic books and graphic novels are the current rage, with movies adapted from Road to Perdition to Cowboys & Aliens to the soon to be released Avengers.

Source material for film adaptations is virtually unlimited.

We’ve asked our four borg.com writers not what the best adaptations are, but instead what are their picks for what should be the next adaptation from Hollywood.  What are the top 5-10 books, comic books, video games, or characters, etc. you’d like to see adapted into a movie—that haven’t been adapted yet?  We’ll start with Art Schmidt’s take on would-be adaptations tomorrow.