I've ranted enough individually about this, but reasoned that what else is LiveJournal for if not for braindumping this sort of thing? I'm also slightly reluctant because enough other people are ranting in similar ways and being part of a crowd never appeals to me, heh.
But enough of such self-analysis! Here is the rant as promised.
I've always - since I can remember - been interested in the story 'The Phantom of the Opera' - this is no surprise to anyone who knows me. The story concept is a fascinating one with a potential that I think has never been fully realised (including, bizarrely, in the original novel.. it is as though the potential was slightly beyond the grasp even of the original author who produced a strangely unsatisfying mish mash of a work that was not quite detective story, not quite thriller and not quite romance). Each retelling of it focusses on a particular aspect, usually to the detriment of other aspects.
The most famous recent incarnation of the Phantom's story has been the musical version created by Andrew Lloyd Weber (now Lord Weber of Toad Hall). This was bastardised into a 2004 talkie version which played up the gooey romance to the detriment of the other aspects, making the disfigured loon into a tall, strapping, tanned heart-throb with a slight skin irritation. Frankly if I'd paid to see him exhibited in a freak show as the backstory has it, I'd have asked for my money back and a free goldfish.
Perhaps bolstered by the attention this Silhouette-Romance Phantom garnered from the general mass of swooning illiterates as well as by his insatiable desire to grind his once proud reputation into the stinking dust of mediocrity which he has been indulging for the last several years, the squishy faced ALW has made good on his intention to produce a sequel to his musical.
This festering pile of pus is called "Love Never Dies" and does more damage to the original concept and characters than all the fanfiction produced by hormonal illiterates over the past ten years. All the worst cliches of fanfiction are there, and embellished by lyrics of such triteness they would embarass William McGonagall.
At the end of the Phantom musical, the Phantom himself has a moment of clarity and performs the first selfless act of his life, releasing the object of his adoration to a loving life with another man, the heroic young aristocrat Raoul De Chagny. This redemptive act is the dramatic climax of a life of isolation and bitterness.
So where does the sequel go from here? To a funfair in America where the Phantom has opened an amusement park. He's still obsessed with Christine, so that redemptive climax was obviously a short lived thing of no consequence. Meanwhile since the creators of this faecal golem need to shoe-horn a romance between Christine and the Phantom back into things, her marriage to the heroic Raoul is in the way... hmm... Easy! Make him a drunken abusive husband with no genitals (result of a duel) who has no time for his child (more later) or for Christine's singing.
Of course! Dramatic tension in making a difficult choice may be difficult to write for Christine's character... so let's make it easy for her. I'm surprised they didn't make Raoul radioactive too to make it even more impossible for her to stay with him.
Oh the child isn't Raoul's of course, it's the Phantom's. Apparently on the night before her wedding to Raoul, sweet Christine sneaked off back to Erik's lair to make the beast with two backs and little Gustave was the result. Do I need to point out how out of character it would have been for Christine to do that? Even Erik at that point - after his redemptive clarity - would I think have refused any offer of that kind.
Anyway, back to "Love Never Dies" (or "Shit Never Flushes" as one critic described it on Twitter) - Christine and family (phamily?) come across to Erik's funland paradise and Erik wants her to sing for him again. This annoys Meg Giry (Christine's former best friend who is now hoping to be a star of the light musical cabarets Erik is now hosting, when he is not working as a bartender) and of course it annoys Raoul.
Erik finds out he has a son and takes him to his WHACKED OUT LAIR with giant robot monkeys and singing chandeliers. Christine is then asked to choose between the two men in her life. It's not a hard choice, as Erik is now a wimpy, romantic, harmless suitor who adores her while Raoul is a brandy-sodden, violent, bad tempered eunuch (note to the author: Removing all tension from the choice does not make good drama).
She chooses Erik of course. Frankly not a surprise. Raoul leaves, presumably to found a support group for alcoholic eunuchs back in Paris and bide his time before turning up as an old man in the prologue to the original musical.
Meg gets jealous, kidnaps Phantom's Child. Phantom talks her out of it then patronises her horribly ("After all not everyone can be Christine") and her gun goes off in time honoured fashion, killing Christine.
Cue long drawn out mournful scene. Phantom forgives Meg in a moment of surpassing wtf. Christine's death may have been an accident, but this is the fricking Phantom of the Opera for goodness sake (or the Barman of the Funfair) and surely if he was allowed a moment of in-character grumpiness it would have been appropriate to string up the murdering trollop at least a little.
Why? Other than his desire to make more money, why would Lord Hamster-Cheeks think this is in any way an appropriate continuation of the story that has been his biggest success so far?
What next? A sequel to Les Miserables in which it transpires that Jean Valjean faked his own death in order to pursue a career as a cat-burglar?
There are no answers I'm afraid, and I shall rant to myself (or in the company of other like minded devotees) and dream wistfully of falling chandeliers.