Friday, August 10, 2012

Love Never Dies: embarrassing but fun

I'm gonna be honest, Love Never Dies is a guilty pleasure of mine.  It's a little embarrassing to admit that I love it as much as I do.  I mean, objectively, I get why a lot of people dislike it.  It's certainly not equal to Phantom of the Opera.  The story is exceedingly silly, the music isn't as good, and honestly PotO didn't need a sequel.  In fact, there's a reasonable argument that the sequel actually detracts from the fantasticulosity of the original.  Well, not really original, the actual original Phantom of the Opera is Gaston Leroux.  Which if you've never read it is still pretty good!  Not least because of how often the Phantom calls people "a great booby."  Hahaha, boobies.  Classic.

Not what he meant, but still. Boobies. Heh.

But still, LND.  I just can't help but love it!  I know it's got pretty glaring flaws, but it's got enough good bits to make it genuinely enjoyable despite them.  For example, the music being not-as-good as in Phantom doesn't mean the music's actually that bad.  That's the problem with comparing decent things to awesome things, the decent starts looking crappy because of how awesome the awesome thing is.  And the silly story....well, it's very silly.  But I've read sillier fanfic that I still enjoyed.  And that's basically what LND is, live-action musical fanfic that just so happens to involve the original(ish) creator.  After all, it is partially based on Phantom of Manhattan, which is in fact published fanfic.  When I went to the movie theatre to see the screening of the Sydney production of Love Never Dies, I didn't go in thinking "At last! The long awaited second half of the Phantom's story!"  I went in thinking "This is going to be amazingly ridiculous and I am going to love it for that."

Amazingly ridiculous.

I already knew the general plot beforehand, because Internet.  Spoilers: Raoul had become a drunken gambling loser who lost all his money, he and Christine and their son Gustav go to America to make money singing, and Erik the Phantom hires Christine through deceit and trickery to sing at his carnival because he has a carnival now.  Surprise!  Turns out Christine had an affair ten years ago right before getting married to Raoul, tracking down the Phantom for a sexy night of sexy sex (a moonless night btw, because dude's ugly remember?  hot ladies can't sex ugly dudes if the light's on!) and then the Phantom ditches her because somehow he didn't realize she loved him?  So Gustav is actually the Phantom's son, to the surprise of nobody watching because it wasn't exactly subtle before the big reveal.  You mean the ten year old child who's uncommonly gifted with music is actually the son of the genius musician Christine knew ten years ago?  Never!  So Erik the Phantom and Christine have their happy ending where Raoul fucks off and they get to be all sweetly in love because nobody actually remembers all the evil stuff the Phantom did in the first movie, may the shippers rejoice, but then Meg accidentally kills Christine when she kidnaps Gustav and tries to commit suicide.  By the way Meg is a crazy person now and has fallen in love with the Phantom, despite all her excellent don't-be-in-love-with-an-evil-opera-ghost advice to Christine in the original.  So yeah, very silly.  But fun-silly, in a way that works!  No, it doesn't all make sense when you look at it next to PotO.  But it's like, it could make sense in a fanfic-universe, because that's how fanfic works.  It takes canon and sort of bends it just enough that, say, Christine could leave Raoul right before the wedding because she's realized that she truly loves the Phantom despite, you know, everything.  The same way that so many people find Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy slash fic to be adorable and possibly realistic.  Or Draco and Hermione, if you aren't a slash fan.  Doesn't make much sense, isn't everybody's cup of tea, doesn't really work with canon at all.  But still fun, and still almost possible with the right bending.  The right fanficcy universe-bending, I mean, not sex-type bending.  Or element bending, that's a different series.

Of course, it's only fun-silly in a way that works in my personal opinion, because the show does have a lot of legitimate haters.  LND does kind of ruin the plot of PotO a teeny bit, what with the Phantom suddenly not being crazy and evil any more and Christine apparently developing amnesia after running away from the evil scary man who tried to kill her childhood sweetheart, did kill several un-hot people over the course of the musical, and tried to imprison her and force her to become his unwilling wife, and also, possibly his worst crime, destroying the beautiful and historic Paris Opera House.  But it's a silly musical with decent though not PotO-amazing music, pretty incredible effects, and fanfic-like shipping.  No, it's not equal to Phantom of the Opera, but if you were expecting it to be then you are also very silly.  Nobody expects a sequel to live up to the original.  Have you never seen any of those direct-to-video Disney sequels?  

What did you expect from these?

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