The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do The Time Warp Again
A straight-laced, square couple, seeking shelter from a storm, find themselves in the castle of a transsexual alien mad scientist intent on creating a buff bodybuilder.
A few months ago I seen a trailer online hyping a re-imagining of The Rocky Horror Picture Show for Fox. Feeling quite excited as Rocky Horror was and still is one of my favourite films, never mind favourite musicals. As the months became weeks and the weeks became days I couldn't contain myself waiting for the night on which I could finally see this version of a cult classic, that I hoped would introduce an entire new generation to the original.
We'll start at the opening scenes. Now, one of the most iconic images of 20th Century film has got to be the red lips of Rocky Horror so I'm sure you can imagine how disappointed when all I got was a pretty actress singing the opener, Science Fiction Double Feature whilst marauding around a cinema dressed like something out of a 1950's double feature. This would have been fine if the rest of the cinema goers had the same look and costume. Which brings me to my next point...
Rocky Horror is known across the world for being a cult film that can produce nights out that will never be forgotten. If you've never been to a late night showing of Rocky Horror, you're missing out. The audience are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite characters and join in on the songs and some of the more improvised parts of the audience partici..........PATION!
I feel the creators of Let's Do The Time Warp Again have tried to hard to replicate something that can't be forced and should have happened organically, as it did in the original. The scenes with the "cinema goers" made the entire movie feel somewhat fractured as they disrupted the narrative of the story unfolding.
I think the producers should have taken for granted that viewers will be familiar with the show already instead of re making it for a new audience and a new generation. Without prior knowledge of Rocky Horror fan groups the scenes with the "cinema goers" will seem very random and out of place.
Now on to the main points I wanted to make about this 2016 version. The Acting. Without doubt the star of the show is Lavern Cox, her performance as Dr. Frank N Furter is one of the only standouts in acting terms of the whole movie. To me, it seemed like the rest of the cast, being aware of the original, played their parts very tongue in cheek. Ms Cox came across as the only one who was a fan of the original and the only one actually having any fun playing her role.
Victoria Justice embodied the role of good girl Janet but lacked the edge to pull off the sexually liberated side of the character. Ryan McCartan is completely wooden, whether this was from instruction, I'm not sure, but he can't be happy with how his performance of Brad Majors turned out and he only woke up during Rose Tint My World. Then we have Reeve Carney as Riff Raff, Christina Milian as Magenta and Ben Vereen as Dr Everett Scott, not what I would call bad performances but as I said before, the more tongue in cheek portrayals and in my opinion they seemed to be mocking the original. Annaleigh Ashford's take on Columbia was a different take on how Nell Campbell played her in the 1975 film, I generally didn't mind it as I came up with a back story of sorts as to what was going on with this character. Overall, Laverne Cox excepted, it seemed like a high school production. So I don't end these points on a negative, Adam Lambert as Eddie was actually quite good and I enjoyed his version of Hot Patootie!
Next I have a few opinions on the treatment of the songs and music. I haven't heard or read anything on what Richard O'Brien or Jim Sharman thought about the production but mostly I liked how the songs had been updated but not lost their original charm and kick from 1975. The only negative I could have about the music is that I think The Time Warp could have had a bit more flash and a lot more balls, being the most well known song from the production, I feel it could have been made more memorable.
Some of the more positive aspects of the show are definitely the production values themselves. Nowadays we all like the clean, shiny things. While visually quite stunning, Rocky Horror 2016 has lost the low budget campiness that was the appeal of the 1975 film and what endeared it to so many fans worldwide and made it the longest running theatrical release in history. Somehow, in forty years, I doubt we'll be talking about doing The Time Warp Again in regards to this 2016 release.