(Review originally written at 7 September 2007)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It isn't the fastest going movie. Some moments drag and it of course doesn't meet today's standards anymore. So obviously you have to be in '20's movie to really enjoy this movie best. It's one of those movie that has sequences in it that go on and on, without telling as much. The movie doesn't have the greatest storytelling at times and the first- and second part of the movie differ quite a lot in story and atmosphere, which perhaps makes the storytelling a bit disjointed. But I mean you basically can't go wrong with the great written story by Gaston Leroux, no matter how hard you try!
Some great comedy gets used in the movie. It helped to make the movie and the story a pleasant one to follow at all time.
All of the actors are overacting in a way you should expect from that time period. All but with the exception of Lon Chaney, who remains very restrained with his acting, movements and even his eyes. It adds immensely to the movie its mysterious- and also uneasy atmosphere. The fantastic and creepy looking make-up effects from Lon Chaney himself, also adds to this atmosphere and the horror of the movie. Its perhaps hard to really sympathize for the Phantom character because he's quite selfish and murderous, until the ending, but that doesn't make his character any less compelling.
Interestingly enough, also some early color techniques are used in the movie. That was sure surprising and worked effective as well, since it was used in the most 'colorful' sequence of the movie.
The rest of the movie is also good looking, with some nice period costumes and the opera that serves as a perfect backdrop the movie. Some of the sequences are greatly shot. I especially liked the one in which the Phantom was on the rooftop by the statue seeing and hearing how his great love Christine 'betrayed' him.
Definitely worth seeing, already for Lon Chaney alone and his fantastic looking and unbeatable make-up effects!