- Oct 20th, 2016
- Comedy / Musical
- 1 Hour 28 Minute Run Time
The Rocky Horror Show is viewed as one of the biggest cult classics of all time having one of the biggest fan bases behind it. Does Fox’s re-imagining of it do the original and the play aspect of it justice or does it fall into the ever so familiar category of less then stellar remakes?
Nothing really in the story has changed, we follow Brad and Janet a newly engaged rather straight and plain couple who after getting a flat land upon the doorstep of Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s door. From there the night carries on in ways that neither ever could have thought of.
For this one however they don’t take the route of a direct remake. This time we start off going into a movie theater with a packed crowd when “Science Fiction – Double Feature” is sung. From there are shown what is the opening studio credit from the original before going into this. We are given the feeling that the original is known in this and that this is a showing of another version of it. It gives the homage to the original film by doing this. Often times we are shown back to the theater crowd chanting lines or throwing props around during the viewing like they do at many late night screenings of the original.
With the songs being a large piece of Rocky Horror one would hope that those were nailed. Sadly however only a few of the songs come off sounding well. “Damn, It Janet”, “Over At The Frankenstein Place” and “Hot Patootie” all come across as sounding good. Not much has changed with them and the new cast did a good job with them. One of my huge issues though is with the new version of “Time Warp” they made. From the start it comes across as almost a completely different song. The song doesn’t have that giant epic musical sound the original had. Even the chorus seems slowed down and more mellow. I feel partially this is due to the fact that background music seems slowed down. The verses (minus Riff Raff’s) as well just don’t sound that great. Even “Sweet Transvestite”, the first time we are introduced to the Frank -N-Furter character comes across as less then stellar. From not coming down in the iconic elevator to starting out wearing a costume piece that looks like it came from a Lady Gaga video it just doesn’t feel right. Now I know that this is a re-imagining almost and that from musical to musical it can change and that is fine and fully understandable. I know that especially Rocky Horror with all the local casts that perform this can change it, it is just in this version the changes they made to it didn’t help it instead hurting it. I will say as one of the new things they added for most songs was the choice to have a backing band with a line of backup singers and I felt that in most cases helped the songs and gave us some entertaining set pieces when they were involved.
Now the cast is a really mixed bag here. Starting from the top we have Laverne Cox (from “Orange Is The New Black” fame) plays the iconic Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Now here is my problem with it first off. In the original film we had Tim Curry give a standout role as a man in full drag as a woman, this version has Cox who is a transgender person playing the role. The original made it almost shocking for Curry to dawn the lingerie because he had the manly and grossly hairy look. Cox however has the feminine look and body to make this portrayal while singing songs like “Sweet Transvestite”. Cox does at times give a great performance but often times I just felt like she didn’t have the same mixture of appeal and danger that Curry had given the original role. Ryan McCartan on the other hand as Brad Majors did a phenomenal job. Victoria Justice though as Janet I feel often played her role too serious not giving into many memories where a more lighthearted moment would of suffice. Reeve Carney seemed to truly go in as Riff Raff bringing back the feeling that Richard O’Brien gave as him in the original. Carney gave one of the best performances next to McCartan. Sadly Christina Milian as Magenta and Annaleigh Ashford as Columbia just fell flat. I though Milian’s role with Magenta was absolutely horrendous and ruined a great character. Ashford was okay but sometimes just didn’t come off with the same level of zing that Nell Campbell gave her in the original. Thankfully we do get the return of Tim Curry though as the narrator. Donned in a nice outfit and put into positions to hide his wheelchair just the fact that he is on screen is enough to crack a smile. They should of given him more however especially reading the dance moves for “Time Warp”.
I do have to quickly point out that Adam Lambert as Eddie was so great for the short amount of time we had him. His entire song number was so well done and it’s a same that he came and went so quickly. I feel too that his character was even more swept under the rug though then in the original with him coming and going without a huge feel of importance.
There is just so much small stuff in the film that Fox and director Kenny Ortega just didn’t seem to get right. Ortega of course from High School Musical fame where he seemed to try to make this film feel more like HSM rather then Rocky Horror. I should point out that with the lyrics in some songs so strongly conveying what we were viewing in the show and with the themes presented this remake seemed to have strongly forgotten. In “Sweet Transvestite” we have lines sung as “don’t get strung out by the way I look” where as in the original we have the image of Curry in a tight laced up lingerie outfit and heels with bright red lipstick as to here we have Cox completely dolled up almost as a Beyonce homage. When looked at it like that the lyrics and message seem to become lost in an instance. Ortega just seemed to make the entire play in itself more upbeat and flashy. Instead of being dark with a creepy undertone to it like the original we are subjected to more of a silly feeling with it. Of course with it being a made for TV PG production we don’t get the strong sexual overtones that the original presented as well.
Overall The Rocky Horror Picture Show : Let’s Do The Same Warp Again doesn’t come close to capturing what the original brought to the table. Only having a few good things come from it we are subjected to bad casting with an overall feel of being made for a wider audience and more so for a TV audience instead of catering to the fans that helped make the original as beloved as it is today. Fans of the original will more then likely not enjoy this and from watching it as a mild fan I can’t seen many thinking this is anything more then just mediocre at best.
Score : 4/10