Director:  Simon Wincer

Starring: Billy Zane, Treat Williams, Catherine Zeta Jones

The Phantom takes on an evil tycoon looking for three legendary skulls.

The 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).

The 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.

Sadly, 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.








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