I just saw the new movie "The Phantom of the Opera," based on the broadway musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and I felt that I must give all of you a review. First off, the short of it is that it is very good, but it isn't the musical, so don't expect it to be. "The Phantom of the Opera" is an age-old story by a French author about a series of strange events in a late 1800s French opera. It is about a chorus girl turned upcoming opera star named Christine Daae (pronounced die-ae), who is discovered when the opera house's primary soprano, a spoiled brat named Carlotta, quits due to a series of "accidents." It turns out that a deformed, masked man known only as "The Phantom of the Opera" or "Opera Ghost" has been giving Christine voice lessons and wants her as the star. In addition, the new owners of the opera house do not respect the wishes of the phantom or pay him, as the previous owner did, which angers him. Carlotta is jealous of Christine's success, the two new owners are fools, and the phantom is very possessive of Christine, which clashes with her romance with her childhood friend, Raul, the opera's new patron. What follows is a series of disasters and drama as the phantom wreaks havoc in the opera, Carlotta lobbies for position, and Raul tries to win Christine's heart despite her fear of the phantom. Ok, that's the breakdown. That may seem a little hard to follow, but the movie isn't. The movie follows the musical's storyline closely, with a few sequence changes and a couple of added scenes. All the same music is used, and the actors sing many of their parts, as is done in the musical, with the exception of Carlotta, whose musical lines are (well) dubbed. Most of the casting was wonderful, with the exception of Minnie Driver, who played Carlotta, but not her singing voice. The singing was wonderful and the music stirring and emotional. The only improvements to be made with the music were the phantom (who didn't sing quite well enough) and Carlotta (who wasn't bad enough, as Carlotta is supposed to be a bad singer). The choreography was also wonderful, and the dance scenes were well done and true to the times. The look was very similar to that of the musical. All in all, this is a very well done, high class movie that really stands out amongst the mindless drivel that makes up most of cinema today. Most critics I've seen bash something like the costumes, but many of the things they've criticized are in the stage production that regularly sells out after several years. I give it an 8.5/10, with deductions being given on the casting of Carlotta, poorly altered scenes and a few very minor shortcomings. I would recommend this to just about anyone. One more thing. Don't go in expecting the musical. The musical is a stage performance while this is a movie, and the media are very different, thus the two productions are different. It's the same music and the same story and if you like the musical, you will like the movie, but they're not the same.