main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
YMMV: The Phantom of the Opera

Leroux's original novel and its fandom contain examples of:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: In the case of the Phantom, it's done on purpose in the Broadway production. However, the original novel is much more straightforward about how we're supposed to interpret that character.
    • On the other hand there is a lot of this concerning Raoul and especially Christine. She has been interpreted as a child-like idiot savant, a young woman suffering from a severe Electra complex, and even a straight-out victim of sexual abuse.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In the original novel, a character known as the "brown man" is introduced, living in the sewers parallel to, and only intersecting momentarily, Erik. It's explained that he's a hermit monk, and that he's just always been there. Erik is understandably more frightened of HIM than he is of Erik. He is never mentioned again.
    • Interestingly, this character is a lot closer to the real figure Erik was loosely based on.
  • Die for Our Ship: Raoul, more often than not.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Well, that's a Foregone Conclusion!
  • Funny Moments: Now has its own webpage.
  • Ho Yay: The Persian and Erik — Raoul doesn't help by comparing the ways the Persian and the smitten Christine swoon over the charismatic Tragic Monster...
  • Jerkass Woobie: Erik.
  • Macekre: The only English translation available until 1990. It's now in the public domain, so any English edition that does not specifically credit a translator by name is most likely the Macekred version.
  • Nightmare Fuel: "The rousy hours of Mazendaran", the time while Erik worked as a Torture Technician for the Shah-in-Shah.
  • Possession Sue: Is to Christine what Draco in Leather Pants is to the Phantom and Die for Our Ship is to Raoul.
  • The Scrappy: Raoul might be one of the least popular heroes in all of literature.
  • Tear Jerker: Several moments qualify.

The famous musical and myriad other adaptations further contain examples of:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: And how! Erik has become more or less the poster-child for woobiedom. Try to find a fic where he ends up miserable and alone. The fan base is quite split over this, but a strong majority finds Erik to be by far the most sympathetic character in the book/play/film. And how you feel about this will make a difference on what you think of Love Never Dies. Fan works aside, there's been a lot of different interpretations of who Erik actually is—he's been portrayed as everything from a doomed romantic who just got pushed a little too far (Kopit/Yeston version) to a slasher-style killer who sold his soul to the devil and flays the skin from his victims (the 1989 film starring Robert Englund, yes, Robert Englund).
    • Christine. Is she genuinely in love with Raoul, or is she unconsciously attracted to him simply because he can save her from her Stalker with a Crush? Notice on the rooftop scene, after Raoul declares his love for her, Christine immediately says, 'Order your fine horses, be with them at the door...'
      • When she kisses The Phantom at the end, is it because she really loves and/or pities him or because she's trying to save Raoul?
      • It's interesting to note in the stage production that while both Raoul and The Phantom explicitly say they love Christine and make that declaration to her, she never says it back to either of them, not even in song (there is a lot of dancing around it in "All I ask of you," though).
      • She DOES mouth "I Love You" to Raoul before she kisses the phantom in the 2004 movie.
  • Awesome Music: The Overture/title theme, "Music of the Night," "Masquerade," and the final scene, among others. Really, the whole score can qualify.
  • Base Breaker: Gerard Butler; you either found his performance as good as any other Phantom actor, or found him unbearable.
  • Broken Base: The 2004 movie sharply divided fans of the show over plot changes and cast quality issues. However, most fans agree that movie revived interest in the show itself, because people either loved or hated it and wanted to see what it had been based on—there had supposedly been plans to close the Broadway show before ticket sales resurged in the wake of the movie's release.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: The fans have always done this to the Phantom to some extent, but it really skyrocketed once the movie came out thanks in part to Hollywood Homely. To be fair, the scar was downplayed in the film because Joel wanted to play up the fact that Erik's scar wasn't really that bad...which was a case of the director not doing the research.
    • The "Wandering Child" trio. Good thing it's gorgeous.
    • "Masquerade", in all of its iterations.
    • It could be said that nearly every song is an Ear Worm
    • Oh, Lord, it's been 26 years since I first heard "Music of the Night" and the damn thing still won't go away.
  • Fan Hater: Plenty, who believe the show is nothing but style (and gooey romance) over substance. Interestingly, though, liking the book too is a good way to find redemption with the hatedom... so long as you say the book is better.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Most fanfictions have Christine ending up with Erik.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: A lot of fans would like to forget The Phantom of Manhattan, a novel by Frederick Forsyth that was based on the original plans for a sequel to the musical in the late 1990s, ever happened. Love Never Dies appears to be heading in the same direction.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman were considered for the roles of Christine and the Phantom, respectively, in the 2004 movie. Hathaway was in fact the front-runner before having to decline the part because of a commitment to The Princess Diaries. 8 years later they were cast in major roles in Les MisÚrables, yet another movie adaptation of an immensely popular Broadway musical. What makes this especially "funny" is that this frequently happens in London or on Broadway—actors who play the Phantom often go on to play Jean Valjean or vice versa, while actresses who play Christine end up as Fantine or Cosette. Case in point—London's debut Jean Valjean and Cosette, Colm Wilkinson and Rebecca Caine, were the first to play the Phantom and Christine in the Toronto production.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The fact that Andrew Lloyd Webber essentially wrote the musical for his wife and muse, Sarah Brightman, in order to make her a star - he even gave her a chance to show off her skills en-pointe by switching Christine from a member of the chorus to one of the corps de ballet - become all the more awkward and depressing after their divorce.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The fact that the 1989 film starring Robert Englund, which many people take for just another forgetable 80's gore fest that has nothing to do with the novel, is, along with the 1925 silent film, one of the closest to the source material.
    • Minnie Driver plays the legendary bad singer La Carlotta in the 2004 movie; just nine years before, she played the even worse nightclub singer in Goldeneye. Whatever Erik would have made of that one!
  • Hollywood Homely: In the movie, at least. Yes, Gerard Butler is supposed to be hideous just because he has a really bad sunburn. Let's not forget that during "The Point of No Return," Butler's mask barely conceals more than his eyes and we see no deformity whatsoever - even over the parts of his face which, when exposed later, are deformed. The filmmakers attempted to Hand Wave this by showing some makeup on the Phantom's dressing table.
    • Some Phantom fans (or "phans") say that the stage makeup is also a cop-out, as it's still only over one half of his face, but, let's be honest - a man who's good-looking on one side and like a rotting steak with an eye on the other alongside a partially exposed cranium and about as much hair as the average healthy person cleans out of their brush at the end of the month is still deformed enough to be believably outcast from Victorian society, even if he's not the "living corpse" Leroux described. (And with those conditions, being handsome on the other side tends to only make the deformity look worse.) Word of God says that:
      • the half-mask was created because it was very difficult for Michael Crawford to sing properly through a full-face mask,
      • Both Crawford and Andrew Lloyd Webber have said that it just took too long to apply make-up all over his face; Lloyd Webber was apparently worried no actor would play the role for very long if it required five-plus hours in make-up. Even with a half-mask, it takes time: by the end of Crawford's tenure, the make-up application was down to two hours, and that's about how long it takes for his successors.
      • And, in addition to all that, it's very hard for an actor to emote to people at the back of the theatre when most of his face is covered half the time.
    • And in the Takarazuka Revue productions of the Arthur Kopit/Maury Yeston musical, both Wao Youka and Haruno Surime were WAY too pretty for their own good. Bizarrely, they both managed to make it work regardless.
  • Ho Yay: Andre and Firmin seem... unusually friendly in the film version. Becomes a Les Yay with Christine and Meg.
  • Internet Backdraft: The following topics will cause your Phantom message board to explode: Michael Crawford, Gerard Butler, or Ramin Karimloo (especially vs. each other), Sarah Brightman, Emmy Rossum or Sierra Boggess (ditto), the movie in general, or Love Never Dies.
  • Magnum Opus: The most well-known and acclaimed work of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
  • Nightmare Fuel: While the unmasking scene in the 1925 film is considered Narm these days, it was absolutely terrifying to audiences at the time.
    • Here's a challenge: show the movie to a group of people who are only acquainted with the 2005 movie and/or musical and know nothing of the 1925 film. Chances are high there will be screaming.
    • While there are charges of Lighter and Softer leveled at the Lloyd Webber musical, there are several sections that are extremely dark and frightening, such as:
      • The Phantom laughing wildly as he makes Carlotta croak. He already sounds completely insane - "Behold! She is singing to bring down the chandelier!!!" - and takes malicious, gleeful delight in humiliating the poor woman.
      • The ballet scene that immediately follows this, as he casts ominous shadows on the backdrop, the dancers get more and more frightened and agitated, and the music more sinister. If you haven't seen the show before, you're just waiting for something horrible to happen; if you have seen it before, you're waiting for Buquet to drop.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Inverted. Raoul is widely hated in the fandom, but the number of people who hate him drops dramatically when the role is played by Hadley Fraser. "I hate Raoul, but I love Hadley too much to care!" is a common refrain, as is "Hadley is the only Raoul I've ever liked!"
  • Ron the Death Eater: Expect Raoul to get hit with this a lot by Erik/Christine shippers who make Raoul to be a horrible person to Christine (before Love Never Dies technically made it canon) despite the fact that Erik himself definitely has his own problems as well.
  • Special Effects Failure: The opera house explosion at the end of the Joel Schumacher film immediately brings to mind a late-1990s Playstation FMV cutscene.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: The Phantom dishes out a handful of insults to Raoul every time he mentions him.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Lon Chaney's legendary makeup job, which reportedly caused many audience members to faint.
  • What an Idiot: It still wasn't exactly smart of Christine to unmask Erik in the novel, but at least there she had the excuse that it was a full face mask. She thought he was trying to hide his identity from her and - quite rightly, all things considered - wanted to know who he was, justifiably assuming there was a perfectly normal face under there. Christine in the musical, on the other hand, whips off the mask of a man who keeps only half his face covered - and therefore is probably concealing it for a very good reason. Such as to hide a deformity, perhaps? And she's shocked that he starts screaming at her? (Though the 'little lying Delilah' and general rough handling was too much.)
    • And in the miniseries too. Erik repeatedly warns her that his face is too horrifying to look at. She assures him that she loves him too much to be repulsed. He finally relents and takes his mask off. . .and it's so terrifying (though the audience never sees it) that she faints.
  • The Woobie: Erik gets this treatment in some versions, while in others he causes at least as much grief as he gets.
  • What The Hell, Casting Agency?: In addition to Crawford's celebrated Playing Against Type turn, the title character in the musical has been played by Paul Stanley (of KISS fame) and Robert Guillaume (until recently, the only black actor to play the Phantom. In all fairness, the casting department might be trying to avoid the Black Vikings trope, as well as the Unfortunate Implications of a black man lusting after and stalking a young white woman).
    • Paul Stanley really did a nice job. See it here
    • The same with Robert Guillaume.
    • Gerard Butler: a phantom who can't sing worth a damn? Really?
      • YMMV on that one. He might not sing as well as most of the actors on Broadway or in London, but to say he can't sing worth a damn might be a stretch. There are those who feel he does pretty decently for someone without prior experience or formal training. (Of course, that can then raise the question of why they didn't cast someone who had the aforementioned experience and training...)
    • The 25th anniversary concert got a bit of this from the fanbase, as well — some were skeptical since the Phantom and Christine would be played by the stars of Love Never Dies (though, to be fair, they had previously played those roles in the original show as well); and since Raoul, Piangi, and Meg were played by actors who had no prior connection with Phantom. Once the event actually took place, though, the casting was generally pretty well-received.
    • The movie. To a lesser extent, the musical itself.
    • At long last, after 26 years, Broadway cast its first African-American Phantom (Guillame's turn was as part of the national touring company), Norm Lewis, who debuted in May 2014. Thus far, opinion seems to be that his acting and singing talents are transcending the problematic above-mentioned tropes, as they did during his turn as Javert in the 2006 Broadway revival and 25th Anniversary Concert of Les MisÚrables.

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy