I have seen Phantom on Broadway several times, on tour once, and in London once (London was the best). I entered the theatre today a little jaded I must say. I was sceptical of a film version of one of my all time favorite musical stage show. Overall, I thought the movie was great, but there were some things that bothered me (much like a book taken to film would). I was not a huge fan of the added dialoge in some places that were originally written to music (although there were not too many instances of that). I did not particualry like the fact that some of the scences were take out and the music and dialoge was placed in other scences or new ones all together. I understand how this might work better on film, yet it is different. The most agitating was that the chandeliear fell at the wrong point in the movie. I can see that that where it fell in the moive makes it more dramatic and climatic, nonetheless, I liked it better as it was in the play.
I did like a good deal though. I liked the flashbacks (or perhaps flashforwards). The added backstory was interesting and very nice, but I do feel it takes away a scence of 'mystery' that it holds in the play. The grave yard scence worked well in the movie I thought, as well as the mascarade party. Some of the party I did not like as much (like Andre and Ferramen not wearing their matching skeleton costumes, or that some of the great constumes like the monkey with cymbals or half man/half woman character were not present), but it did make a better spectical and party feel. I will give the movie this, the final parts back in the Phantom's lair (where Raul comes to save Christine) were VERY dramitic and quite moving on film. I was captivated at that point more than any other time in the movie.
With anything like this (taking an acclaimed play and making it into a movie) there will be pros and cons. I liked the movie, but I like the stage version better. Nonetheless, it still holds the wonderful music Sir Andrew provided us and the familiar and everlasting story. I love this play/movie!