Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Comic Pages to Screen: Loses It in Translation

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Comic Pages to Screen: Loses It in Translation

Article excerpt

"THE PHANTOM"

Rating: PG. Running time: 1:45.

ABOUT halfway through a preview screening of "The Phantom," a young woman who had come with the sole purpose of ogling Billy Zane in his skin-tight purple catsuit leaned over and whispered, "I wonder how he goes to the bathroom in that thing?"

The question suggests her mind was wandering, and understandably. "The Phantom," based on the '30s comic strip about a jungle superhero, is pretty much a boring mess. It's also silly, but not quite silly enough to be fun, despite occasional attempts at "Batman"-style self parody.

The best thing in the movie is probably Treat Williams, who plays dastardly villain Xander Drax for laughs. But apparently director Simon Wincer ("Operation Dumbo Drop") neglected to inform the rest of the cast that "The Phantom" was supposed to be a comedy, which leaves Williams looking like a cut-rate Jack Nicholson who had wandered into the wrong movie. (The disjointed impression is abetted by the incessant but faint background music that sounds as if it is leaking through from the auditorium next door. …

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