"Love Never Dies" releases on a single-disc Blu-ray package showcasing Andrew Lloyd Webber's follow-up piece to "The Phantom of the Opera." Featuring a story that happens a decade after the original tale, this 2012 musical drama presents the Phantom now living a new life in New York following his disappearance from the Paris Opera House. Brett Sullivan and Simon Phillips helm this motion-picture offering with Ben Lewis, Anna O'Byrne, Simon Gleeson, and Maria Mercedes starring in major roles.
The Phantom has found his new lair in the joy rides and freak shows of Coney Island, However, he still longs for Christine, now a famous opera star and a distraught wife married to her drinking and gambling husband Raoul. After sending an anonymous invitation letter to Christine to perform in New York, he makes his final bid to win his beloved soprano's heart back as she arrives in America with Raoul and their young son Gustave.
As expected, this film adaptation of the legendary musical franchise is filled with eye-candy stage productions, carnival pageantry, and heavy and moody lighting. Shots often burst with vibrant hues and lavish costumes, props, and sets. Its theatrical flavor visually immerses the audience in the bizarre new world of the Phantom. Many striking blue and ghoulish red lights are on display. Darkness and mist typically enshroud the scenes, yet this HD presentation is able to keep the picture always looking stunningly crisp and clean.
Its bold and finely saturated palette maintains well-pitched levels that provide precise color attributes on screen. Whether in the seedy spots or the quasi-circus and performing arts areas in the film's Coney Island setting, images consistently offer a nice filmic look, sumptuous details, stable contrast, and natural skin tones. Except for some negligible moments of crushed blacks, no outright marks, artifacts, and other issues disturb the picture's pristine visual quality.
The pleasingly nuanced five-channel audio track boasts excellent fidelity, dynamic range, and tonal depth. The extravagant mix effectively handles extreme highs and lows without suffering from any distortion. The mesmerizing score gives justice to the movie's musical facade, while the surround elements typically accentuate the story's carnival atmosphere.
From the soaring vocal performances to the crowd noise, the sound design aptly hosts a variety of elements that help push the mix with breathtaking force and emotionality. However, there are times that the heavy orchestral music overpowers O'Byrne's singing. The disc houses an alternative stereo track for the movie.
This Blu-ray edition supplies a single bonus material entitled "The Making of Love Never Dies," which is presented in HD format. The disc also includes subtitle options in English SDH, Spanish, and French.
"Love Never Dies" is undeniably an elegant production that is full of audio-visual panache. However, it lacks the valuable intrigue and conflict of its predecessor that its story merely alienates the audience. With its shocking and ridiculous ending, this melodramatic and predictable piece pales in comparison to the iconic "Phantom of the Opera."
Unable to live up to the reputation of the original romantic thriller that has already captivated legions of followers through the years, this lush production really does nothing as a cinematic follow-up to one of the biggest spectacles in stage history. It clearly capitalizes on the colossal theatrical success of its source material, but it fails to ignite a passionate response from its viewers. It tries to be a serviceable but unnecessary offering for the fans of the musical that it ends up knocking off the franchise from its pedestal.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Andrew Lloyd Webber