Underrated Brilliance: The Phantom | Tarreyn Land: Underrated Brilliance: The Phantom

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Underrated Brilliance: The Phantom

You may already be aware of my deep love for both Billy Zane and Cheesy movies. I love so-bad-it's-good, I love tacky, I adore Billy Zane. And recently, in a mad craving for some more Billy in my life, I re-discovered the genius 1996 epic The Phantom. Two Words: Life. Changing. 
This movie is genius. If Errol Flynn came back to life and made a superhero movie in the 90's, this would be it. 
With Billy Zane as the mysterious hero in his grape purple spandex costume, riding through tropic islands on a white stallion, with a sidekick wolf named Devil, how could any other super hero compare?
It has everything I want in a movie. Bad extras, cheesy one-liners, an enjoyable story, thick 90s traits, fun cast, super stylized aesthetics, and so-bad-it's good everything else. Voila.
Not only is the Phantom an agile fist fighting man of mystery who lives in a skull-shaped cave in the Caribbean (??), but he is charming, sensitive and thoughtful. He offers line after line of gems such as "Stay away from bad Guys" and gives gifts like rare black pearl necklaces.
The Phantom's alias, Kit Walker, is just as awesome. He deals in jewels instead of money, breaks into museum displays and has a faux 1940s swagger that's irresistible. 
Forget the continuity errors or the horrible dialogue. OR embrace it. It's half the fun.
Enjoy things like the fact that Billy Zane had on more guy-liner than Alice Cooper, yet when he takes his mask off he somehow is completely liner-less. Relish that he can jump awkwardly from a plane onto a running horse. Appreciate Catherine Zeta-Jones in her first American movie role and the original Buffy as the heroine. 
In a recent interview, Billy Zane called this movie "Ahead of it's time." I couldn't agree more, Billy.
Well done. 

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