I originally posted this on IMDB's board as VampireOutlaw.
No one wanted a sequel, <-- (generally speaking), it was still made, the critiques hate it, the fans hate it, it keeps on having to close down...Yet it's still here?
I know it has its share of fans, but nonetheless the crucially and strongly negative reception seems to be the situation in general.
So why the bloody hell does ALW not give up? Or if he can't bring himself to, why does he keep on trying with only minor changes?
~ First a sidenote:
Love Never Dies is not a sequel to the 2004 movie because that movie is Joel Schumacher's interpretation and has a drastically changed storyline and emotional center, seeing to ALW's stage play whilst LND is a sequel to that stage play as in ALW's own original version.
So if you'd like to downright argue anything about this article - and by all means feel free to - but I'd like you to note there's no use bringing up any arguments using that film version. Because, as said, LND is not a sequel to that film.
~ I see they did a lot of cleaning up seeing to the original London production but the core story is exactly the same utter nonesense bad fanfic-type, and logic failure, that disgraces the original PotO.
To explain that negative opinion shortly;
1. LND completely destroyes PotO's extremely important moral which is that to love is to let go. Now ALW's PotO has no moral whatsoever, on the contrary it teaches horrible things; because according to LND you can do whatever the hell you want to your loved ones because love never dies. "Love never dies" isn't even a moral in itself, it's just a philosophy.
And already simply the fact that originally the Phantom learned that to love is to let go, but now apparently he didn't learn it after all even though he literally did that teeen looong yeeears ago.
2. The characterisations on EVERY character is unrealistic. And way too drastic to be nice anyway. Making the plot horribly contrived and illogic, both as a sequel and a stand-alone story. And this results in an addition to the number one reason why this is a disgrace of the original characters and story.
~ But what I appreciate about the clean-up is that the Phantom got some real darkness back. In the original London production he got dark only when met Raoul and another time when his kid was in danger - and that's all. In the Australian production he actually threatened to kill/hurt/abduct a 10-year old little boy. (Sidenote; at that point he did not know that the said boy is his own son but thought him to be Raoul and Christine's.)
But that scene was genuinely creepy as hell, he was genuinely heartless, and as usual he defended his attitude and intentions with his face looking monstrous.
BUT, as generally fine and appreciatable as I find that addition/change - it falls flat with the fact that he resorted into that just because he wanted to hear Christine sing. That doesn't fit when originally he threatened and killed in order to get Christine for himself because he was lonely and loved her obsessively, and then eventually learned what love means...and never before threatened little children anyway...So I think the motivation for this darker-than-ever threat is just way too weak and in that sense somewhat unrealistic still. Not to mention it makes LND's own ending even more utter nonesense. I didn't think it would be possible but hey, they managed to!
I mean, I know the title is "love never dies" but COME ON! What kind of a loving parent-!
*SIGH* If someone who supposedly loved me, was willing and able to blackmail me with the life of MY child, (or any child's but it being mine makes it a million-fold more significant), especially for such a stupid reason as to hear me sing...I would never in a million years enter into a relationship with that someone, no matter how much I loved him/her. Because I'd love my child much much more.
But Christine swears her love to the Phantom at the end and had she not gotten accidentally killed, she apparently would've stayed with the Phantom.
So, I have mixed feelings about that change/addition. On one hand it's a nice attempt to make the Phantom darker as he should be, but I think it crossed the line of making sense seeing to the entity. I mean, by logic, after the end of PotO, the Phantom shouldn't be that cruel to Christine as to blackmail her with her own child's life (just to hear her sing) - and Christine shouldn't have been all THAT in love with the Phantom after being blackmailed with her little boy's life...This change makes her as mental as Meg is in that gawdawful sequel.
Kudos for trying though...But then again, they still are as far as they ever were from realizing that the core story and characterisations is LND's crucial flaw and as long as those aren't entirely changed - LND will never work or be worthy of the original PotO.
~ I've seen the "fixed" Australian production, I watched it on YouTube.
...Love the song "Beauty Underneath"
But I'd gladly give its existence up if LND could be unamde into never-was.
...Think some of the other songs too have their moments, like a few lines that are great. And some songs have beautiful melodies.
...Think that generally the other songs are just forgettable...Although could be even more so...because good gawd most of the lyrics!! x(
- "I want the truth right now, if so!" ...Who the *beep* speaks like that anyway? Certainly not the Phantom. Shouldn't. Aggh.
...But then, the way he talked Meg out of committing suicide was very nice...up until he turned into a moron and brought up his adoration of Christine.
...Hate "Beneath A Moonless Sky"'s point and lyrics. But I like its melody.
X So, I've very mixed feelings for the songs/music aspect, but mostly I dislike it. Were the song writers stoned while writing? I mean, how can anyone write less-than-avarage or downright crap, but occational moments of great lyrics and one entirely great song? As in they were obviously skilled enough to write good/great songs, so why are most of the songs not? I know it's an opinion matter, but as far as I'm aware most fans have one or two favourites and feel that the rest of the songs aren't much - for a (PotO) musical anyway.
...Love Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom even more after enduring Ben Lewis' performance.
X Lewis isn't necessarely a bad singer/actor, he's singing voice just isn't good enough for my taste, and his acting isn't passionate enough nor convincing. Especially at the moment when Christine realizes Gustave is gone and the Phantom gets all angry...Ben Lewis comes off just upset or so. If I was a suspect on his Phantom's list, I'd have laughed at his face and then hidden behind something. Whereas Ramin managed to come off totally pissed off, had I been a suspect on his Phantom's list and not able to prove myself innocent, I'd run the hell away - fast, and with my hand on the level of my eyes.
...Hate the plot. It needs to be throroughly re-written, no other way could the show be saved.
And couldn't they at least have TRIED to make some sense within this plot if they HAD to write this crap?
- If Christine was going to go back to the Phantom forever and ever, why the hell didn't she leave Raoul first? Why on earth would she want to cheat on him instead?
- How the bloody hell did she ever find the Phantom?
- How could she know which one is Gustave's father? I don't think there was any way to make sure at that era. Unless they had sexless wedding night and numerous sexless weeks more but if so they should've SAID SO to make sense of it. The how-do-you-know beomes important as they make a huge deal about the kid and he's a crucial plot device.
- Why on earth was Meg obsessing about the Phantom's love? They never even spoke to each other in the original musical.
- I know that the Phantom might long to have a beautiful child with Christine, but come on - his conclusions for Gustave are RIDICULOUSLY drawn.
X The concept of disrespecting and not caring for the original story which one's writing a sequel to, can somehow be comprehended...But it's like the writers didn't care even about the new story they were writing, didn't care enough to have it make sense as a stand-alone. And these are supposed to be experienced, professional writers??!! WTF!?
...Hate the characterisations. Even though I have to admit they did make a nice effort to better some of them seeing to the original London version.
X But the thing is the effort was way too little and in the Phantom's case horribly failed, as pointed out earlier. But I'm glad Meg was more herself with her feelings about Christine, and didn't have gothic looks. And I'm glad Mme. Giry isn't so much a witch anymore. But I think the Australian version's actor was...well, I'm sorry but she just seemed to be saying the lines, not really acting much.
...The ending with the dying Christine revealing to Gustave that his real father is the Phantom, asking the Phantom to kiss her one last time and dying during that kiss, the Phantom holding her crying, Gustave coming to their side to hold/lay his head on his dead mother's hand, and the Phantom gently stroking the boy's hair...didn't move me the least bit. None of it. Not even though I'm an E/C shipper for life and eternity. That ending as an entity as in including how it came about, is just too contrived in every which way and the entire plot being so too, helped a lot in making the ending totally lacking emotional effect. Plus, I think that stuff was a bit over-dramatic, perhaps. Besides, because I don't hate Raoul, it annoys me that this Australian version had him almost emotionless at his wife's death. That ending screams a bad Raoul-hater fanfic.
...But the very last moment of the show did manage to genuinely move me, a little.
Gustave gets up from his dead mother's side, walks to the devistated Phantom, who at noticing this sings a bit of "Love Never Dies" to the boy, they embrace for a long moment, then the boy takes off the Phantom's mask and gently runs his little hand over the deformed side of his face with no fear or disgust.
Even though it doesn't make sense that at a moment like that the boy didn't hold on to the man who had raised him as his own for 10 years, but went to the man whom he'd met two days ago and only a few minutes ago learned to be his real father - which hadn't even made him happy but protest by running away instead. And even though Gustave's conception happened by a disgraceful and illogic plot twist seeing to the original end AND the E/C relationship. (I'd think E & C wouldn't screw each others' brains out as the first thing at their reunion but would talk about their relationship, past and future. LND's vision of that night is entirely upside down and lacking sense anyway.)
But the thing about this show's last moment is, I love the Phantom - and I think it's lovely that he didn't lose everything again, but had a child to love and eventually be loved by. That's so lovely that even the mockery, and contrived and illogic writing behind it doesn't take away all good emotional effect.
It was a momentary, warm I'm-so-happy-for-you feeling. (Although I doubt the Phantom would succeed very well as a single father.)
And I'd also like to think that Gustave didn't forget about Raoul but stayed in his life too. Poor Raoul, he shouldn't lose everything any more than the Phantom.
I think this results in a few minor, relative positives and a more numerous huge minuses.
Love Should Die.
If anyone has or knows of a live-performance recorded of "Beauty Underneath" that has Ramin Karimloo with someone else than Harry Polden...Please let me know.
I don't care for Ben Lewis' singing voice and acting at all, but I LOVE Ramin's voice and acting. I love Harry Polden's singing voice but the problem is the kid sounds creepily over-exited in that song. I think Ramin Karimlloo and the kid from the Australian version with the singing voice of Polden, would've been a nice combination. :D