Billy Zane, Treat Williams, Catherine Zeta Jones
Phantom takes on an evil tycoon looking for three legendary skulls.
Phantom is based on the original superhero comic strip, created in
1936 by Lee Falk. Despite his reputation as “the ghost that
walks”, there’s nothing supernatural about him, or his alter ego Kit
Walker. The Phantom doesn’t have super powers; just well honed muscle
and a finely tuned mind. The Phantom's reputation as a spirit comes from
his apparent longevity: in fact Walker is the latest of twenty-five heroes
that have assumed the mantle (Walker inherited the role from his father,
providing a cameo for Patrick McGoohan). Also aiding The Phantom is the
original Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Kristy Swanson, as the daughter
of a campaigning newspaper tycoon (Millennium’s Bill Smitrovich).
Phantom is a second-rate Indiana Jones-esque adventure (it was written
by Jeffrey Boam, scriptwriter of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and
The Dead Zone). Although it lacks panache, it's very entertaining,
and a great Sunday afternoon popcorn movie.
Paramount seem to be the last of the major studios to take full advantage
of the DVD format by offering consumers an added incentive to upgrade from
VHS by adding bonus materials. Thankfully the disc impresses where it
matters most, with a first-rate anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer, and suitably
elaborate 5.1 audio mix (at 448kbps). The film, shot by David Burr, looks
stunning, helped by some fine period production design by Paul Peters.