“And that night, in an ancient ceremony of fire and drums, the tribal shaman presented the boy with a ring of great significance. The boy understood that he was destined to avenge his father’s death by fighting piracy, greed and cruelty in all their forms. When he grew to be a man, he became the Phantom! “
Title: The Phantom
Director: Simon Wincer
Cast: Billy Zane, Treat Williams, Kristy Swanson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, James Remar
The most I know about superheroes and comics basically comes from watching The Big Bang Theory. Oh, and I have seen an episode or two of Lois and Clark. And there, ladies and gentlemen, shameful as it is, my knowledge about superheroes comes to its end.
So when I clicked on the “play movie” button, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. My only expectation (and my main – if not only – reason to watch The Phantom) was to see Billy Zane dressed up in a weird purple dress, doing some sort of superhero stuff.
The beginning of the film did not strike me as original. I mean, white men penetrating into a jungle, being where they shouldn’t be, misusing a child to get there – quite the usual Western civilisation explorers. One man takes something he shouldn’t touch, he’s choked to death by a skeleton, the rest are quite composed about it and continue collecting the valuables. So far, so cliché.
But then the Phantom appears. I must say that his dress will never cease to amuse me, and I am convinced that but a few men could pull that off without looking terribly ridiculous. Billy Zane looks hot. Even in purple.
And to make the character even more attractive, his sidekick is a wolf, he rides a white horse, he can fly a plane, and as it at first appears, he cannot be killed. Oh, and did I mention that his real name is Kit? How cool is that?
As for the villain, he might not be as ominous as some, but Xander Drax (“Begins and ends with the letter X.”) is at least entertaining. I find it hard to take his evilness seriously but he is hilarious.
Yet (even though my main interest was to look at the male characters (because let’s be honest, when will you find a man of Billy Zane’s class in real life? Right?)) no movie could be sold and bring a lot of money without featuring pretty women. Both Kristy Swanson and Catherine Zeta-Jones do an amazing job in this film. Their characters are active, independent, strong – and they fight as well as any man.
The plot itself is interesting, I guess. The Skulls of Touganda. The Seng Brotherhood. I appreciate that there’s a background story, and the movie has certainly kept me entertained for one and a half hour. Still, in the long run, I prefer films that either leave behind a strong impression on my mind and soul or the ones that make me laugh out loud. It offered a pleasant way to unwind for a bit, but I doubt I would have watched it, were the cast not so good.
So – even though the movie might not be captivating for those who are used to loads of action improved by the most modern special effects – the bottom line is:
Have you seen this movie? Or do you have a favourite superhero?
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