Revisiting POTO

Revisiting POTO

Postby Rose » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:05 am

Ok, I'm planning on re-watching 'POTO 2004', 'POTO 25th Anniversary Show' and 'LND', and doing a in-depth talk about each, how they differ, how they are similar, how the different actors approach the characters differently, basically stuff that we've probably already talked about before in the past but it's been a long time for me to even just sit down and watch these films again...that I think tackling old topics with fresh eyes is always fun and it keeps thing interesting.

If we get a good discussion going, maybe eventually I'll expand it to other Phantom films, like the old 1925 silent film, or the Charles Dance miniseries (another old favorite), but for now I'll keep it to just the above. So I hope you'll join me in re-watching these or maybe just jumping in and talking about them if you've been watching them again recently.

I think I'll just start with something that is true for almost every version of POTO going back to the original Leroux book...and I personally think it's the heart of the story and strangely I don't think it gets talked about enough. And that is the theme of redemption.

Usually when you ask a person 'what is the message of POTO' they probably will jump to the 'don't judge a book by it's cover' message which is obvious to anybody watching or reading POTO for the first time...Erik a musical genius, a master architect and magician, forced to live in isolation in the cellars of the Opera House because he is disfigured and therefore rejected by the world.

That message is obvious, and is the first thing people see, but ultimately as I've gotten older and grown with this story that I love, I don't feel that is THE central message of POTO, certainly it is a important message but it's not the heart of the story. The heart of the story for me... is how love is the ultimate power of redemption. Of how you can completely transform someone's life by showing them love, even love when they might not seem to deserve it.

It's a very 'Christian' theme in a way, the idea of salvation through love and Christ sacrificing his life for mankind therefore allowing believers to achieve redemption after mankind has sinned and done everything possible to make God hate us, he gives us his love through the sacrifice of his own blood. And here we have Christine showing love to Erik after he has done everything possible to drive her away and make her hate him, and then being willing to sacrifice herself (in a way) by choosing him... ultimately transforms Erik. He's so touched, so blown over by what Christine has done that it changes him, and he ultimately redeems himself by making the right choice by letting Christine and Raoul go.

Whatever your religious beliefs it's an interesting parallel and one I think Leroux was definitely drawing upon in his novel. Especially since Erik's actions in the original novel are much more brutal not just to Christine but especially to Raoul and the Persian, that Christine's sacrifice stands out a bit more because of how badly she has been put through the ringer by Erik. But the theme still beautifully holds for Webber's Musical as well, and because Erik isn't as far gone as Leroux's Erik, his redemption is probably a little more believable, we can see that he CAN be redeemed.

I will talk much more of this theme in the coming days, but in many ways as I've gotten older and gone through the trials of life, so to speak, I feel that if someone were to ask me what is the #1 thing that makes me love this story so much, I would have say it's message of redemption. Everyone is looking for their own 'Christine' I think lol, mine is my faith in Christ, who has pulled me through some pretty dark times in recent years and into the light, but everybody's 'Christine' is different but no less profound for them. :)

So everybody, let's talk Phantom!

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