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on June 5, 2016
Very beautiful Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical. A lot of Love never dies' songs don't leave my head like the Phantom of the opera's musical. Superbe production. La musique ne quitte plus notre tête et nous demeurons ému par la finale...très touchant.''
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"Love Never Dies", with music by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber with Lyrics by Glenn Slater/Additional Lyrics by Charles Hart is beautiful. The original production which opened in London a few years back met with a cold response. Although I never saw it, I did end up eventually falling in love with the music and listen to the London Cast Recording often. Shortly after the show's premier, it was re-tweaked - certain plot elements removed, scenes shuffled around and although the principal songs were left intact, the changes made did impact the overall production. This new production was launched in Australia to some critical acclaim and this is the show Webber decided to immortalize here.

The plot is set 10 years after the events of the original story and centres around the 3 main characters:

The Phantom (Ben Lewis), now living in New York's Coney Island and owner of "Phantasma", a Coney Island amusement park.

Chrisine Daae (Anna O'Byrne), a famous French soprano. She is summoned by composer Oscar Hammerstein to sing for him in a New York opera house.

Raoul - Vicomte de Chagny, now married to Christine. They have a 10 year old son Gustave. Raoul is now an insecure, bitter alcoholic who is constantly clashing with his young wife.

Also returning from the original story are Meg Giry and Madame Giry. Meg who is no longer a ballerina, she performs in the Phantom's vaudeville show and has dreams of stardom while Madame Giry is a bit more questionable. She remains loyal to the Phantom but questions his motivations and is angered that he shows little interest in Meg.

When Christine is summoned to sing in New York by the famous composer Oscar Hammerstein, the Phantom, upon knowing Christine is in town, intercepts and has members of his troupe pick her up at the pier along with Raoul and Gustave. The Phantom, who for years has longed to be reunited with Christine, wants her to sing at his "Phantasma" and has written a song specifically for her. The story is laced with love, bitter love, passion, obsession and betrayal and at the centre of this is the always vulnerable Christine who again has to chose between the 2 polarizing men in her life.

Simply put. I love this show. This newer version of this relatively new show moves much better than the original staging which did have a lot of unnecessary scenes. The most obvious revision was with the Phantom's song "Till I Hear You Sing" which was moved from the middle of act 1 to the opening number. Although "Love Never Dies" is very different than the original "Phantom", Webber's music is varied and still majestic with its sweeping melodies and glorious orchestrations. The original was darker. Its location and time, the Paris Opera house in the late 19th century, demanded a more classical tone. Webber succeeded and created some hauntingly beautiful songs and mock operas with some dark, atmospheric music. Although "Love Never Dies" is a follow up, it is a totally different animal. There are lesser moments of operatic grandeur and since it takes place in the confinement of a Coney Island amusement park, there are a whole array of quirky, colorful images and characters. The music fits this scene. It is sumptuous with the Phantom and Christine, as expected, having the best tunes of the bunch but unlike the original musical where Raoul didn't really have a solo number, he is given a great tune here ("Why Does She Love Me"). The songs here are not as instantly catchy so it may take a few extra listens for the viewer/listener to appreciate the full beauty of some of these melodies but once embedded in your head, you may find yourself humming several of these tunes. Some of the score is very reminiscent of "Sunset Boulevard", "Jesus Christ Superstar", even "Cat's" and despite some less than memorable numbers, the positives in the score far outweigh the negatives.

Many have complained about the drastic changes to the characters. Unlike some reviewers, I find these changes refreshing. As much as I love "Phantom of the Opera", with the exception of the Phantom and that Grande Diva "La Carlotta", the characters are a bit bland. Raoul and Meg for instance, were a bit boring. Meg especially is under-utilized and severely under-developed. Although Christine herself was interesting in the sense that she sang the best tunes in the show (she is in almost every scene), she spends most of her time in a trance so there is not much range of emotion and she was far too naïve to excite any real sympathy (I think this is where the movie worked, because Rossum's youth made this naiveté believable). That was then, this is now as Raoul, Meg and Madame Giry have been turned to more complex characters, loud, selfish, maybe not as likeable but so be it. They are the complete opposite to how they were portrayed in the original musical. Raoul's drastic transformation is believable to me because, well, we didn't really get to know him in the original piece. He was simply a stiff, rich pretty boy who was in love with Christine and who was more than willing to place her, the love of his life, in danger to try to capture the Phantom during the staging of his "Don Juan Triumphant". Also a lot can happen in 10 years. The guy is made more human and this is not far-fetched. The 2 main characters remain the same overall. The Phantom remains as obsessive, as dangerous, as loving as ever; although more human, we do not see many magic tricks here. Christine, although more mature, still retains the charming characteristics of a decade earlier.

The leads are great. Ben Lewis (The Phantom) and Anna O'Byrne (Christine) are both fantastic with solid vocals and great stage presence, delivering just the right amount of emotion. I am very picky with stage Christine's. After watching Rebecca Caine's (Canadian Cast) sublime performance in Toronto 2 decades ago, I have not been able to find a Christine that commanded my attention the way Caine did (and I've seen the show 18 times). O'Byrne is almost as spellbinding. She is beautiful and the score really shows off her wonderful soprano. While the original musical was the "Phantom's" show, this is clearly Christine's show. Simon Gleeson is also noteworthy for portraying the sometimes really unlikeable but far more interesting-this-time around Raoul, Vicomte de Chagney. While Raoul was a cookie cutter pretty boy with no real personality the first time around, he is an embittered, angry-at-the-world failure here.

The costumes and sets are wonderful. Despite not having any crashing chandeliers or subterranean lakes, the musical is a spectacle. The Phantom's lair this time around is more modernized. Gone are the thousand, melting, flickering candles. It is now an overwhelming, crazy maze of steel, smoke and mirrors.

Some of the highlights include:

"Till I Hear You Sing" - An emotional ballad sung by the Phantom. Beautiful and melodic. Ben Lewis' rich tones are splendid. A great opening scene.

"The Coney Island Waltz" - Originally this was an instrumental piece. This revised version is a full blown ensemble piece with added lyrics. It is visually a spectacular number.

"Look With Your Heart" - A lovely ditty sung by Christine and her son Gustave. A bit sugary but Webber's melody is so sweet and O'Byrne's vocals soar.

"Beneath A Moonless Sky" and "Once Upon Another Time" - This entire scene between the Phantom and Christine during their first reunion is a powerful one. "Beneath a Moonless Sky" is one of my favorite songs from the musical and noticed changes were made to the lyrics.

"The Beauty Underneath" - Although this song sticks out like a sore thumb since the screeching guitars and drums differs from the romantic strings of previous songs, it works. The melody is infectious and the mix of the 2 voices, the Phantom and the young Gustave, is a good combination.

"Why Does She Love Me" - Showcases Raoul in all of his tormented glory.

"Love Never Dies"- I love this song. Christine's aria written specifically for her by the Phantom is beautifully sung by O'Byrne and here, she is a site to behold. If ever there was a number where the costume and set take centre stage, it is this one. However Webber and O'Byrne's talents ensure that we are not mesmerized just by the scenery, but the music, the voice, the performance all contribute to making this a fantastic scene.

The DVD/Blu-ray picture quality is sharp and the sound quality is fantastic. Watch this on a big screen with the volume turned up for maximum effect. A "Making of" documentary with cast interview is also included. Overall, a beautiful transfer.

"Love Never Dies" works for me as a sequel and as a standalone piece despite the drastic changes. Those enamored with the syrupy romance of the original may find plenty to dislike here as this tale deviates considerably from its predecessor and as previously mentioned, the stark changes in character personalities may be hard for many to swallow. I do find this to be Webber's best musical since "Sunset Boulevard". Taking into account the setting, the music successfully captures the era and the love songs in typical Webber fashion are gorgeous. The score may sound repetitious at times and there are also brief moments in the score where melodies from Webber's original piece, "Little Lotte", "Twisted Every Way", are mixed in with the new, but there is no denying the beauty that permeates the score. When the Phantom burst into his songs and Christine beautifully sings her aria showcasing her delicate soprano, it all comes together to create a certain magic. The Phantoms return may not please all but if you are accepting of it, you may find yourself surrendering to the music all over again.
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on April 22, 2012
After watching The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall, I went to see Love Never Dies in a movie theatre with some trepidation. I feared the directing of the musical. However, it was BRILLIANT! The way Simon Phillips directed those cameras... There were times when I forgot I was watching a film version of a theatre musical; it was that good.

The cast is unsurpassed. Ben Lewis and Anna O'Byrne... Well, I don't think there are words to describe the clarity and passion of their singing. Jack Lyall, who plays Christine's son Gustave, more than kept pace with the adults.

Though I am not fond of the way the writers messed with the characters of Raoul and Meg, I understand why they did, and the two roles were again brilliantly acted by Sharon Millerchip and Simon Gleeson.

The rest of the cast was amazing, as well. I certainly hope they release the soundtrack by the Melbourne company.

The only reason why I give this film 4 stars instead of 5 is that the producers and the director did not elect to digitally remove the ridiculous microphones. They were very distracting, at times taking your eyes from the brilliant performances. Considering how much money the entire franchise has racked in, they could have spent a minuscule portion of the money on removing the unsightly things.

Since there are no previews on amazon, I suggest you find some on You Tube and take a gander.

The ending of this movie is not what I would have wished for, but it was satisfactory. Though not every song is as magical as the ones in the original Phantom, there were several gems that raised the production as a whole.

I do not wish to spoil the movie for those who have not seen it yet, so what else can I say...

I assure you that I'll purchase a copy of this film as soon as it becomes available.
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on April 20, 2013
Thoroughly Enjoyed this movie..The SINGING was SUPERB..with GREAT PASSION !
The acting and the sets were authentic....
One should not compare the Stage Play to the Movie Version....or to THE ORIGINAL - PHANTOM OF THE OPERA..IF YOU ARE A FAN...but we all do.
Over the years viewing LIVE STAGE and Movie Versions ..I have come to be Passonate for ALL the versions of SIR Andrew Lloyd
Webbers works ! Take and embrace each on their own...IF you are a true fan.....
We will always have biases for performers...The Original Stage Play with Miss SARA BRIGHTMAN and MICHAEL CRAWFORD ..will remain with me Forever....but I was touched by many others in their roles as well.
I do not wish to give this performance away....But I Believe You will be thrilled and moved by Ben Lewis and Anne O'Byrne --Applause.....Applause !
Great Passion in their voices ....
Twist and turns which leaves us as indiiduals perhaps not obtaining Our View of the outcome....?

As stated ..I have viewed this film version on a couple occassions--- 8-10 times -- if you are a " PHANTOM ADDICT "

So sit back and enjoy ..with an open mind and ears !!!!
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on July 4, 2012
I've been a phan since the 90s, so I was skeptical about LND when I heard about it. Even more skeptical after I read all the reviews and people bad-mouthing it - but as a phan I HAD to see it from start to finish, and I'm glad I sprung for the blu ray. The production was incredible, the music has completely grown on me, it's now stuck in my head daily! This stage show is beautiful to watch and the actors do a great job. I'm still a little undecided on Ben Lewis as the Phantom, acting-wise but there's no doubt he's got the voice.

My recommendation to any PHAN who is seeing this for the first time (and hasn't read any spoilers) is: be open-minded! I was pleasantly surprised, and though there were parts in the story that were a little silly, I really got into it and now I'm in love with the show.
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on April 14, 2013
This was a fantastic movie. I would recommend this movie to anyone who is Phantom of the Opera fan. It is a wonderful sequel to he first and had an interesting twist which I did not expect. The music was phenomenal and one of Andrew Lloyd Webbers best. It was really sad at the end though so for those people who like a great love story, musical with a sad ending just make sure you have a box of tissue near you. You will need it. I can't get the music out of my head and it has one of my top favorite songs ever on it. The main one Christine sings "love never dies"
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on April 24, 2015
I'm quite sure the product is good, in fact, I know it is a beautiful movie. I already own the DVD and I wanted to offer it to two of my good friends, so I ordered two of them. They arrived in good time and were inexpensive, but my biggest disappointment was the fact that I am unable to play them here in North America. I searched all over when ordering and there was no mention of it being in PAL format. In fact it clearly states that it is readable here. I have 2 beautiful boxes though.
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on January 1, 2013
Love Never Dies was OK, but nothing about it will remain in your head tomorrow. Great sets, singing, but when I first started watching it, I thought I'd put in a Circuit du Soleil Blu-ray which was a bit of a turn off. Gave it a 3 for Great try. The Phantom at the beginning was a turn off as well, but he grows on you.
Going to have to watch the Original on the 25th Anniversary Edition now to give back that 5 Star feeling.
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on February 18, 2014
For fans of Phantom of the Opera, you will not be disappointed in this sequel. The music is grand and sweeping like the original, and the storyline is intriguing. Combining drama, comedy and thrills throughout, Love Never Dies is another winner from Andrew Lloyd Webber.
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on April 23, 2012
I cannot improve on the review by Milica Hovanec. I can only say ditto except the microphones did not bother me at all. That is exactly what you see when you attend a live musical so it keeps the experience real. Therefore I will not deduct a star, but rather give it a full 5 stars. I have already pre-ordered the DVD and anxiously awaiting it's arrival so I can watch it again. There have been mixed reviews about the entire production of Love Never Dies and it seems rather shocking the run ended prematurely in the UK. Some say A.L.W has lost his touch, but I say this musical is as brilliant as the original Phantom of the Opera. I have the 25th Anniversary production and when this one arrives later this month, I can't wait to sit through both musicals for a Phantom marathon. I just loved it. Ok, it will probably never happen, but the way the show ends leaves it open for yet another sequel. Looks like the angel of music has a new candidate.
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