Located on a small expansion shelf about midway between the Third and Fourth Circles, Musical Hell is presided over by Diva, a minor demon charged with passing judgement on the worst musicals ever committed to film. (She still hasn't figured out if this is their punishment or hers.) Take a seat on the bench and have your earplugs ready, because court is now in session.

New videos posted on the first Monday of the month. Other viewpoints, news, and general ramblings posted when they crop up.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Musical Hell Review: Love Never Dies

You normally have to go to the darker corners of Fanfiction.net to find a story on the caliber of our next subject.  But thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber and his huge piles of money, Love Never Dies is available on DVD for you to...um, enjoy.



This episode would not have been possible without the input of two generous and talented guys.  The first is Roby "TheAbsentCommentator" Johnson, who graciously agreed to cameo on the "Beneath a Moonless Sky" parody.  He has a website where he reviews movies, video games, and other various oddities, and you should totally check it out.  The next is the amazingly talented Raphael, who wrote the hilariously dirty lyrics to said parody, and also let me borrow one of his drawings as a visual aid.  You should also totally check out  his website, as well as his latest project "Phantom Fight Club," which uses the Soul Caliber V character creation option to put the characters and creative team of Phantom of the Opera through a no-holds-barred tournament.  Because deep in your heart, you've always wanted to see Joel Schumacher getting the crap beat out of him with a flaming skull.

13 comments:

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    1. You want tits, become a breastfeeding coach.

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  2. This was an amazing review. What I love the most is that, while you obviously see this steaming pile for what it is, your review does not come across as simply mindless bashing or trolling. Your points are all very thoughtful and well phrased, all combined with a wry sense of humor.

    As for me, I don't exactly hate Love Never Dies itself as much as I find it unnecessary and hate it AS a sequel to Phantom. I've coped by viewing it as a high-budget musical fanfiction, which has served me well. You have perfectly articulated some of my thoughts on the musical as well as brought up points that I hadn't considered before but ultimately agree with (for example, the slow pacing brought on by all the ballads).

    About the Phantom's characterization in Love Never Dies as opposed to in the original musical - he DID come across as more likable in the original, and I think a lot of that had to do with the way he was framed as the protagonist in this one as opposed to the antagonist in the original. Like you said, this musical seemed to lose awareness of the Phantom's psychosis and tried to hard to make him a romantic bad boy figure, as opposed to that sort of happening organically in the original. I like how in the original he was presented with little bias and we were led to be simultaneously repulsed and attracted to him - like Christine! Seems like ALW only saw the fangirl reaction and tried to capitalize on that, while missing the point of what created those reactions in the first place.

    Not much to add about Raoul's villification and Bathing Beauty and the Phantom's idiotic "WE CAN'T ALL BE LIKE CHRISTINE" except...Yes.

    That Love Never Dies parody was brilliant. You two are excellent singers. On that note, I would watch the hell (no pun intended) out of a Phantom Holiday Special. XD

    Now, I actually do like "Beauty Underneath." It is out of place, and in context it sounds very wrong, but by itself, it's got a neat little sound. Guilty pleasure, though. Like this whole musical is for me, and again, I have to view this musical out of context from the canon of the original story to get any enjoyment from it at all. I thought it was interesting that you thought the best and only halfway-decent song was "Til I Hear You Sing" because that one was a little too slow, repetitive, and angsty for my tastes.

    And with Christine killed off, at least there won't be another sequel. Unless, of course, it explores Gustave and the Phantom's relationship... which might be interesting, but I'd rather it be saved for the realms of fanfiction. Kind of like this musical should have been. Meh, at least there won't be any more Phantom-Christine romance, because seriously, that should NOT be canon. One of the best parts of that ship is its impossibility.

    GREAT review, Diva. I look forward to these, so thanks a lot for making them.

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    1. I think I would like "Beauty Underneath" a lot better if a) it wasn't so out of place stylistically and b) it wasn't being sung TO A TEN YEAR OLD BOY. I still can't believe nobody on the creative team realized how wrong all those "yes"-es sound.

      I kind of like the Erik/Christine relationship--it has this mix of creepy and erotic that I find very intriguing--but nothing turns me off on the whole thing faster than treating Christine like she's the bad guy in the equation. I get the impression that her unhappy marriage and ultimate death are meant to "punish" her for going with Raoul instead of the Phantom, which apart from the ugly implications of that idea kind of misses the whole "redemption" point of the original's ending. (I've known people to swear up and down that LND is Lloyd Webber's revenge fantasy against Sarah Brightman, who he never got over. While I think this is reading a bit too much into the whole thing, I can kind of see where a person might get that idea.)

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  3. Gustav just needs to go live with his Auntie Mame for awhile.

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    1. I'm trying to decide if Mame's nudist school is better or worse than what goes on in "Beauty Underneath"...

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  4. great review, glad to know somebody else notice that Christine was the one in the wrong instead of just being a poor helpless victim. You'd think SHE'D be the drunk or be addicted to something (over the guilt) but no its somehow Raoul's fault, when I saw this I didn't see I how was suppose to sympathize with Phantom/ Christine, I felt bad for Raoul!

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    1. No kidding. Ten years of an emotionally distant and faithless wife and annoying precocious kid would drive anyone to drink.

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  5. Say, are you ever going to tackle the High School Musical movies? You said you had "a lot to say" about them in another post, and they hit pretty much everything on your list of most hated cliches ("unlikely talent," love story that makes "Attack of the Clones" look like high art, etc.). the second one in particular may be the single most bizarre film I've ever seen in my life.

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    1. There's something extra-special in store for the first movie, at least. More than that I will not say, but check back around March 19th and you'll see what I mean. ;-)

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  6. Long time fan, first time commentor. I was going to make some snarky comments, including how the song "Dear Old Friend" reminds me of the awful Les Miz Oscars mishmash, or that, once again, ALW has conveniently forgotten that, not only in the original novel, but in just about every freaking movie adaptation of Phantom, ERIK DIES! (oops. did I ruin it?), thereby making this or any other sequel completely unnecessary. I was going to do all of this, until I did research and saw the people behind this. The (usually) hilarious Ben Elton! Frederick Forsyth, author of Day of the Jackal and The Fourth Protocol! How is this possible?! My mind is boggling right now, so I'll only say a couple other things. Please, puh-lease don't give ALW any ideas for a porn sequel to this. However, and with that being said, the first poster was right. Tits or I'm not watching! :p

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    1. Well, the musical has always been ambiguous as to Erik's ultimate fate; I've heard from some people who've said that their problem with Love Never Dies is that it provides answers that really should be left up to the audiences' imagination. (Personally I tend to see the Phantom's disappearance as symbolizing his death, partially because it fits with the book and partially because I refuse to acknowledge LND as anything resembling canon.)

      Again, I think a big part of the problem is Lloyd Webber having too much creative control and not enough sense to listen to input from others, which tends to stifle the abilities of his collaborators (kind of like how--sticking with the George Lucas comparison here--Ewan MacGregor and Natalie Portman give brilliant performances elsewhere but can barely muster the energy to make it through the prequels).

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