July 27, 2010
NC: Hello, I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don’t have to. Let’s talk about “The Phantom.” (The advertisement poster for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “The Phantom of the Opera” is shown quickly) No, not that “Phantom.” (An image of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom as portrayed by Gerard Butler is shown; NC recoils in disgust) Definitely not that Phantom! No, believe it or not, there is actually something far worse than Gerard Butler’s singing…..almost. This is the Billy Zane version.
(The title screen for the 1996 film “The Phantom” is shown, followed by a montage of clips from the movie)
NC (voiceover): Based on the 1930s comic strip, “The Phantom” is a very old superhero that definitely shows its age. I mean, I could see this being made in the ‘50s or even the ‘30s like when the comic strip came out, but the ‘90s? (The movie posters for “Independence Day” and “Mortal Kombat” are shown briefly) Hey, we bought a lot of shit during that decade, but this was really pushing it.
NC: So, let’s see why this purple sack of shit reaches all sorts of new blows. This is “The Phantom.”
(The movie begins)
NC (voiceover): So the movie oddly enough begins with this saying. “For those who came in late…”? Wouldn’t that be better in the middle of the movie?
Narrator: It all began a very long time ago. A small boy watched helplessly as his father was killed by the pirate leader Kabai Sengh. (Freeze frame on Kabai Sengh as NC’s caption “I don’t know, can you?” is shown with a rim-shot heard in the background) He (the small boy) jumped overboard and was washed ashore on a mysterious jungle island called Bengalla.
NC (voiceover): So, yeah, it’s your typical “killed father revenge” backstory, except in this version, he’s picked up by natives, who decide to give him a ring of unbelievable power. Why they give him this ring, I have no idea. What, did nobody else want it? Nobody was interested in a ring of unbelievable power?
NC: (as a native, holding a ring) Oh, come on, nobody wants a ring of unbelievable power? (Other natives make dismissive noises off-screen) Nobody wants the ring of unbelievable power? (The other natives make dismissive noises again, saying “Nay.”; NC looks off camera right) Oh, hey, a washed-up white kid. (He tosses the ring off-screen camera right)
NC (voiceover): Cut to years later as a band of thieves, [who] I guess kidnapped this little boy to get them through the jungle to find a treasure skull.
(The boy speaks in his native language)
Morgan: Oh, wait, now I get it. Turn the map around. (laughs) You got it upside down, you big moron!
Quill: If the map’s upside down, then there ought to be a bridge up ahead, and all I see is more jungle. (Pauses before quickly reacting and slamming on the brakes to stop at the edge of a wooden bridge) Oh, shit!
NC (voiceover): (as Morgan) Look out! The punch line!
(Both thieves get out of their vehicle and Morgan continues to hold onto the boy)
Morgan: No sudden stop. What’s the big idea?
NC (voiceover): So they reach their destination as the kid is afraid to go any further.
Morgan: (interprets for the boy) He says we can’t go on. These woods are protected.
Quill: Protected by who?
(The boy speaks in his native language)
Morgan: (grins) By a ghost.
Thief: A what?
Morgan: “The Ghost Who Walks.”
NC: (gasps and places both hands on his face in shock) A ghost who walks? By God, that’s almost as scary as the ghost who…does anything other than walks!
NC (voiceover): So they tie up the kid and throw him in the back of the truck as they venture forward into the cave. Hmm, a guy in a fedora hat looking in a booby-trapped cave for ancient treasure that’s in the shape of a golden head? Thank God I’m unbelievably stupid, or I just might’ve made a connection to “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” But nope! I’m just a dummy who wants to see the bad guy from “Titanic” wear purple spandex. Don’t look at me funny.
(The thieves turn around to see the Phantom riding a white horse in slow motion towards them; NC starts laughing at this sight)
NC: (laughs) Oh, no no no no…. (He stops laughing) I’m sorry, it’s the Purple Hamburglar.
NC (voiceover): I mean, how is anyone supposed to look at that and take it seriously?
Morgan: Aw, shit!
NC (voiceover): (as the robbers) Look out! It’s the gayest thing you’ve ever seen!
(The Phantom grabs one of the robbers and hurls him into a tree)
NC (voiceover): I don’t even get it. Why purple? How does purple blend into anything in the jungle? In fact, how does purple blend into anything period? Actually, I think they did a survey recently asking army recruits what was the best kind of camouflage, (images of military soldiers in green and brown camouflage gear are shown) and their response was “Not Fucking Purple.” (Accompanying text in purple is shown) I just don’t get it. I can’t fucking get it.
(The two thieves drive away in their vehicle)
Morgan: Who was that guy?
Quill: Somebody I already killed.
Quill: You heard me. I killed him. Years ago.
Morgan: Well, guess what? He’s back.
NC: (as one of the thieves) But only a ghost can do that! A ghost…who walks!
NC (voiceover): Seriously, outside of Pac-Man, how many fucking purple ghosts have you ever heard of?
(The Phantom has landed on the hood of the vehicle and starts fighting the thieves inside the cockpit)
NC (voiceover): Wow, look at that. This in no way resembles an action scene from one of the most famous adventure movies of all time. Or maybe it does, but it certainly loses all dignity once you put your main character in a purple costume. So the Phantom saves the boy, but unfortunately, the bad guy escapes. So we cut to the…”Phant-cave”…as he (The Phantom) looks for information on the skull while his faithful boy servant tends to his needs. (Beat) That’s probably not as gross as it sounds, but I’m not denying anything, either.
The Phantom: (examines a large book while out of costume and is shirtless, talks to his servant) The skulls of Touganda. When placed together, the three skulls harness an energy a thousand times greater than any force or high explosive known to man. For four centuries, there’s been no trace to them. (He closes the book) That’s as good as anything, really.
Boy Servant: Very well, Ghosts Who Walks.
NC (voiceover): Really? He has to call him “Ghost Who Walks”? You know, how about something more appropriate, like “Man Who Wears Eye Shadow” or “Spirit Who Should Put on a Shirt” or “Guy Who Tee-hee-hee, I’m So Sorry, I Just Can’t Get Past That Stupid Purple Costume”? But oh, well. We see another adventurer named Diana Palmer, who is trying to help her uncle prove than an evil business man named Drax is tampering in piracy.
Uncle Dave Palmer: He’s on a quest for a supernatural power.
NC (voiceover): And it turns out that Drax is on a quest and is super evil as well, as this scene where he confronts a traitor demonstrates to us.
Dr. Fleming: All requests for access to special collections come directly to me. I’m the only one who sees them.
Xander Drax: Well, good. Thanks so much for coming.
Dr. Fleming: Not at all.
Drax: Oh, uh, one more thing if you don’t mind.
NC (voiceover): (as Drax) Your murder!
Drax: I’d like your professional opinion on something out of this microscope.
(Dr. Fleming takes a look into the microscope and focuses the lens to read a message that says “Liar” before we hear a piercing sound and he screams in pain (Drax had put sharp blades in both the eye pieces))
Drax: Well, I guess you won’t be needing these anymore. (He breaks apart Dr. Fleming's glasses)
NC (voiceover): Now, again, why didn’t he (Drax) just shoot this guy? I mean, at first, I thought it was to maybe cover up his tracks, but how do you explain DEATH BY KILLER MICROSCOPE? So the plane that was carrying Diana gets ambushed by air pilots.
(A clip of Don Karnage from “Talespin” flying a plane, yelling “Attack!” and firing his ammo is shown along with the reaction shot of Diana looking up to hear the commotion of air pilots ambushing her plane)
NC (voiceover): It turns out they come specifically for her, as we see the leader of the pilots is…
(Diana pulls off the leader’s helmet, revealing the face of Sala (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones); sexy music plays here)
NC: (reacts to the sight of Sala) Oh, snap. Catherine Zeta-Jones!
Sela: Happy now? Get a good look.
NC: (admires Sala) I don’t care if you haven’t been in a good movie for eight years. (Speaks in a deep, booming voice) One day, you will be mine!
NC (voiceover): So the Phantom catches up with an old friend to investigate Diana’s kidnapping.
(Captain Phillip Horton is washing up at his sink and he turns his head to react in surprise to see The Phantom (in full costume) simply sitting in a chair)
Phillip Horton: (sighs) Can’t you ever come in through the front door?
The Phantom: It’s too obvious.
NC (voiceover): Too obvious? The man dressed up like a purple condom is afraid of being too obvious? You couldn’t get more obvious if you were shitting fireworks!
Phillip Horton: She’s on her way to see me, oddly enough.
The Phantom: I’ll see what I can do.
NC (voiceover): So we see Catherine Zeta-Jones is working with that fedora-wearing schmuck we saw earlier in the movie.
Diana: Who are you, people? (She looks to Quill) Are you crazy? Do you realize how many lives you’ve broken?
NC: (as Quill) Oh, God—she’s right! I didn’t even comprehend—OK, put her back. Put her back. I mean, we can’t keep her here obviously for breaking some law—YES!!
NC (voiceover): But luckily, The Phantom is on his way to save her.
Sala: (opens an envelope before Diana) Ooh, a love letter.
(The Phantom slides through a chute and lands between Sala and Diana)
NC: (as Sala) …I can safely say I didn’t see this coming.
(Diana punches Sala, knocking her out)
The Phantom: Let’s go.
Diana: Why should I go with you?
The Phantom: Trust me, Diana.
Diana: You know my name?
The Phantom: You’re Diana Palmer. Your kidnapping’s been reported to the authorities. This is a rescue.
NC: (speaks like a valley girl) Ch’ya! Like, I’m a ghost who walks, you know.
NC (voiceover): So let’s see just how stealth a man in a purple suit can really be—(The Phantom gets captured by some henchmen as soon as he steps out onto the boat’s deck) Well, that didn’t take very long, did it? Worst escape ever!
Quill: Relax! Small world, huh?
Indiana Jones (from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"): Too small for two of us!
NC (voiceover): But his (The Phantom’s) wolf named Devil helps him escape as Diana—(Diana quickly slips out from the clutches of a henchman, elbows him in the groin and punches him) Oh, God, you gotta be kidding me! I mean, I can see Yosemite Sam fall for that, but a real-life person? Come on, it’s really pushing it! So they fight off the bad guys and escape by using one of the boat planes and…he just sort of leaves the wolf behind! Well, that’s nice. Real nice. What the hell is he supposed to do? Catch a cab back to the island?
(Devil runs far from the boat deck and meets up with The Phantom’s white horse; they have a conversation with NC’s own “translation” subtitles put in)
Devil: “That douche left me.”
Horse: “What an asshole.”
NC (voiceover): But it turns out their gas is leaking, so—get this—the horse and the wolf catch up with the plane. Are these just, like, the fastest fucking animals in the world? Look at all this shit they have to go through to catch up to them! A goddamn cheetah from Krypton wouldn’t be that fast!
(As the plane flies low over the horse, The Phantom readies himself to jump off the plane and land on the horse’s back)
NC (voiceover): (as the Phantom) So long, toots! You’re on your own! I’m sure there’s some plain area in the mountains where you can land that thing, and… (Diana climbs out of the plane to land on the horse’s back as well) Uh, oh, you want to come with? Uh, yeah, that’s cool.
(The plane crashes into the jungle, causing an explosion as The Phantom and Diana ride into the jungle away from it; cut to the two of them seeing a jeep with the bad guys on either side ready to fire with their pistols and chase after our heroes)
NC (voiceover): (sputters) Oh, wha-je-AND THE CAR CATCHES UP WITH THEM, TOO? GOOD LORD! The Road Runner on speed wouldn’t be able to go as fast as these guys! Your blood must be made out of grounded-up Jesse Owens! (The bad guys get caught in some rope by a native tribe) Thankfully, he (The Phantom) comes across a helpful tribe that…we’ll never see again, as the Phantom tries to get Diana to safety.
(The Phantom guides his horse toward a cave entrance shaped like a skull (which isn’t a very subtle design))
NC (voiceover): (speaks blandly) Oh, gee, I wonder where his hideout is. I mean, not that it’s hard to track down a person who looks like Grimace’s anorexic brother, but a giant freaking skull might be a little bit of a giveaway. So he meets up with his friend we saw earlier as they try to figure out what’s going on.
The Phantom: (to Phillip Horton) Captain, I want you to take her back. Use every man at your disposal. Give her all the protection she needs.
Diana: I came here to do a job, and that’s what I’m gonna do.
The Phantom: (pauses) Goodbye. (He leaves)
Diana: Wait a second!
Phillip Horton: Diana. Nobody argues with The Phantom and wins.
NC: …Mostly because The Phantom just runs away in the middle of the conversation. It’s a cheap job, but that’s The Phantom.
NC (voiceover): So we see The Phantom go to New York, as it turns out he has an alter-ego named Kit, who, of course, Diana happened to know growing up. Like they said…
(A clip from the “It’s a Small World” ride is shown)
Singers: It’s a small world after all.
(Back to the movie)
Kit Walker (aka The Phantom): I’ve read about what happened. Are you all right?
Diana: Oh, I’m fine. It started out bad, but all turned out okay.
NC: (as Kit) I heard you were saved by a dashing well-endowed purple man.
NC (voiceover): But more important things are going on, as it turns out Zeta-Jones is working for Drax, as he divulges his evil plans to his business partners.
Drax: There is opportunity in chaos. I give you… (He holds up a metal skull to show everyone)…the skull of Touganda. This skull is one of three. When all three skulls are united, they will produce a force more powerful than any army on earth. The skulls will be ours, and all the power that comes with them.
(All the business partners applaud after Drax’s presentation ends)
NC (voiceover): (as a Business Partner) Don’t you think we should invest in ammunitions, seeing how there’s a war in Europe?
NC (voiceover): (as Drax) Nope! Skulls!
NC (voiceover): (as Business Partner) How about a public works program with government backing—?
NC (voiceover): (as Drax) Skulls! Nothing but skulls!
NC (voiceover): (as Business Partner) Well, how about diversifying our portfolios?
NC (voiceover): (as Drax) Skulls! SKULLS! Our entire financial future is completely skull-based! Now please be quiet! Skulls!
Ray Zephro: Company hell. This is wrong. Skulls? Forces of darkness? This isn’t right.
NC: (scoffs) What businessman would honestly question a supernatural treasure hunt for an evil skull that has demonic powers?
Drax: OK, Ray, if that’s how you feel about it. (He takes a spear hung on a wall and throws it at Ray in the back, killing him)
NC (voiceover): Boy. You know, for a guy who probably spent days putting together the mechanics of that killer microscope, I’m surprised he resorted to the most basic means by throwing a sharp stick! Surely, he could’ve rigged the curtains to…eat him or something.
(Cut to Kit and Diana riding in a cab together)
Kit: I gotta say, Diana, you look great. You got changed a bit.
Diana: You just vanished, Kit.
Kit: I guess I did.
Diana: Without a word, without a letter, not even a phone call.
NC: (as Diana) You just vanished like a…phantom or a…ghost who walks, if you will!
NC (voiceover): So they find out that the second skull—coincidentally enough—is in a museum in New York. So the Phantom uses all his cunning secrecy and top-secret ways to figure out a way to—(Kit simply takes a barrier pole and uses it to break the glass on the display case) OK, what is up with this guy? “Superhero,” my ass! He couldn’t cover up the fact that he was a superhero any more than Edward could cover up that he was a vampire!
(Kit grabs for the skull before he is approached by Drax and his men, who are holding their guns at him)
Drax: I’ll take that, thank you.
NC (voiceover): (as Kit) Aww, but I was so cautious.
Drax: (addresses to the museum visitors) Museum security. Everything’s under control. Listen, folks. Free cake and sandwiches are being served in the Hall of Nature.
NC (voiceover): (as the museum visitors) Cake and sandwiches?
NC (voiceover): (as Museum Visitor #1) Well, gee, I sorta want to know about that whole glass-breaking thing.
NC (voiceover): (as Museum Visitor #2) Me, too, until he said “cake and sandwiches,” and now all I can think about is cake and sandwiches!
NC (voiceover): (as both Museum Visitors) Wow!
NC (voiceover): (normal) So it turns out when the two skulls join together, they point out the location of the third skull. And thankfully, there just so happened to be a map in the room to point the location, which is good, because it doesn’t look nearly as dramatic to see the skulls type out the direction on Google Maps.
(Red and blue lasers coming out of the respective two skulls point to a location on the map as the camera does a close-up on it)
NC (voiceover): (sighs) Again, this scene doesn’t look the least bit like that other series of adventure movies. Hell, did they just have the same writer or something? (Cut to a clip from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” showing the credit “Screenplay by Jeffrey Boam”, followed by a clip from “The Phantom” showing the “Written by Jeffrey Boam” credit) Oh, holy shit, they did. I was just kidding! They really had the same writer? Well, that’s…really sad! What, did he really think that Indiana Jones would’ve been taken more seriously if he was dressed in the feces of Barney the Dinosaur?
Drax: That doesn’t make sense.
NC (voiceover): Oh, well. Kit escapes and dresses up like the Phantom to save the day.
(The Phantom’s legs appears out of nowhere to choke two bad guys with them)
NC: (as the bad guys, pretending to be choked) D’ahh! Death by purple ass!
(The Phantom slides down an elevator shaft and gets through the elevator doorway in the nick of time before an elevator would crush him; He leaves the scene while a few men witness him walking away)
NC (voiceover): (as one of the men) Oh, hey, a purple man climbing out of an elevator. So how are the kids?
(Cut to Diana looking behind herself in the backseat of a car (wondering where Kit might be) with Drax’s other bad men and Sala)
Drax: Forget him. He’s not coming.
Sala: He’s probably dead by now.
Diana: What is wrong with you? Why are you so mean? Don’t you care about anything?
Sala: Like what?
Diana: You figure it out.
Drax: Alright, alright, everybody just shut up.
NC: …That was a lame conversation.
NC (voiceover): So they (Diana, Drax and his men) stumble across the island of the third skull where they find the ancient order of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride!
Drax: (asks Kabai Sengh) Who might you be?
Pirate: He is the great Kabai Sengh, leader of the Sengh brotherhood.
NC: As well as the Shang Tsung brotherhood.
Shang Tsung (from “Mortal Kombat”): (appears alongside Kabai Singh for comparison between the two) Your soul is mine.
NC (voiceover): But one of the business partners doesn’t trust him and points out a gun at their leader.
Charlie Zephro: It’s every man for himself, okay. You lead me out of here, or else you’re really gonna sleep with the fishes.
(Kabai Sengh speaks a phrase in his native language)
Charlie Zephro: What is that supposed to mean?
Kabai Sengh: (as a cannon is being loaded) “Fire the cannon.”
NC (voiceover): (as Charlie Zephro) Oh, gee, maybe I should, like, shoot you or something. That is, after all, why I point the gun at you in the first place (The cannon fires a blast at Charlie)—Oh! I’m dead.
(Charlie goes flying after being shot at and lands in a pool of water dead)
Shang Tsung (from “Mortal Kombat”): Fatality.
NC (voiceover): So the Phantom comes in to fight everybody off as Drax finally gets a hold of the third skull. But it turns out there’s also a fourth skull, which is the most powerful of them all—the Deus Ex Machina skull, if you will.
The Phantom: (as Drax holds out the three skulls at him) I’ve worn it all my life. For protection. I never really understood what that meant until right now.
Drax: Ha! What a cheap jungle trick!
NC: (mimics Drax) Ha! I am acting! (He pretends to fire the three skulls at the camera)
NC (voiceover): So it turns out the fourth skull was on the Phantom’s ring the whole time—Yeah, what a really weak twist—as he uses it to destroy Drax forever.
(Drax yells in a high shriek before he gets blown up in an explosion; soon, other parts of the island start to explode as well for some reason)
NC (voiceover): (laughs) What? What is up with the explosions? Did the entire island just pass gas or something?
(The start of the explosions plays again, this time with NC adding a fart sound effect in there)
NC (voiceover): So they all get off the island safe, Zeta-Jones is a good guy now…sort of came out of nowhere, as Diana asks the Phantom to reveal his true identity.
Diana: Before I go, take off your mask. Let me see your face…Kit.
NC: (as Diana) Yeah, you-you really weren’t fooling anybody with that. (whispers) It’s kind of embarrassing.
NC (voiceover): So he takes off his mask and…spontaneously, his eye makeup, too…as he confesses something important to her.
Kit: You know, I’m not really permitted to reveal all of my secrets. Actually, I am. That’s only to one person.
Diana: Who’s that?
Kit: Another woman I intend to marry.
NC (voiceover): I don’t know if that’s wise, lady. Here’s the last one that he tried to marry.
Cal Hockley (from “Titanic,” played by Billy Zane): (argues with Rose) My wife in practice if not yet by law, so you will honor me.
NC: Bit of a buzz kill.
NC (voiceover): So, oddly enough, she doesn’t marry him as I guess they’re saving that for the incredible sequel that’ll never ever come.
NC: And thank Lord, because this movie is stupid!
(Clips from the movie play again as NC speaks)
NC (voiceover): It’s not the worst ever, but it’s just so unimpressive. We don’t really get to know the Phantom well, and what we do know we don’t really care that much about. The fight scenes are standard, the villain’s pretty standard, and…gah, purple? Really? I just can’t get over that. You picked fucking purple. Why don’t you just paint polka-dots on his head while you’re at it?
NC: But, thankfully, there is one upside to this movie.
(A shot of Sela as shown for the first time in the movie is shown again with sexy music in the background)
NC: (mutters a bit under his breath) The only problem is I can’t get it back to the downside. (He clears his throat) I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you— (He stops getting up partway, implying that his erection is in the way), so he scoots off in his chair camera right and waves goodbye a bit before disappearing off-camera)
Channel Awesome Tagline—Drax: What a cheap jungle trick!