First off this post will contain spoilers, so you are warned. And if you don't know the plot of this movie, what have you been doing, living under a rock? Also- it is more like a running commentary.
If you know me well you will know that I Love, Love, Love the original The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). I watch it several times every year and I have seen the Rocky Horror Show (stage production) many times and go to shadow casts viewing of he movie yearly. I know the basic props and prompts and therefore I am trying really hard to give this new production a chance. I was able to have an idea of what to expect because I saw a sneak peak of the "Dammit Janet" scene when I went to my shadow cast viewing a few weeks ago.
Basic outline: You have a newly engaged couple Brad Majors, played by Ryan McCartan, and Janet Weiss, played by Victoria Justice, who's car break downs in the rain and they end up at the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, played by Lavern Cox. She has been making a man (Rocky), played by Staz Nair. She is assisted by her Handyman Riff Raff, played by Reeve Carney; her Domestic Magenta, played by Christina Milan, and Groupie Colombia, played by Annaleigh Ashford. The story is narrated by a Criminalist, played by Tim Curry (love that he is in this and nothing compares to him as the original Frank-N-Furter). Also included are Eddie, played by Adam Lambert (which part of him did they use?), and Dr. Everett Scott, played by Ben Vereen. Brad and Janet get pulled into the schemes of these Transylvanians and discover that their hosts are not at all "sane persons." This version also uses a Usherette, played by Ivy Levan, who introduces the movie.
First off- I am very disappointed in the family friendliness of this version. I know that it is on a prime time slot but Rocky in boxers and not a speedo? Frank-N-Furter in actual clothes and not a skimpy corset? Trying to cut down on the grittiness and dirtiness of the original doesn't work for me. It is suppose to be barely hidden and really out there, not diluted into a movie you can watch as a family.
Starting off with the movie with an actually woman singing Science Fiction/Double Feature, was fine, I didn't mind the set up for the movie and the Usherette and she seemed to be having fun with it but the movie started off with my going "really a the fake live audience" I am all about breaking the forth wall but inconsistently cutting back and forth with the fake audience watching the movie is just distracting and stupid. This isn't Elvira and if you are going to cut into a movie it needs to flow with it.
I do really like the casting of Janet and Brad, and although they are different than Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick, they are going with the movie and act it in a tongue and cheek way that I really enjoyed. I like the over the top acting and campiness of their acting and the moments where they are in the movie are my favorite. They were a great casting choice. Of the three: Riff Raff, Columbia, and Magenta; I like them in that order. Riff Raff is good but in a shake and go wig (there are a lot of these in this movie), Colombia is different and besides the sucker prop I think she is works and I liked her more and more as the movie went on and really enjoyed her at the end; but I didn't like Christina Milian as Magenta, she just doesn't have the right level of camp/ seriously that I would like to see, plus her accent goes in and out, it was just a generic performance that anyone could have done. I did like Adam Lambert as Eddie, besides another shake and go wig, and he was able to pull off the rocker feel that I think the movie was going for. Dr. Scott is good except for another shake and go wig, but I am good with the Albert Einstein feel they are going for. I cant even say anything against Tim Curry, I love that he is able to be in this version and like how they added the assistant to help him.
This gets me to Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, and I tried, I really tried to like her but I just can't. I can see that she is trying, but I really think she was a bad casting choice. I was uncertain about her when I heard that she was going to be in the staring role of the Rocky Horror remake and I tried to get past the costuming (which isn't her fault) but she just doesn't have the loveable and charismatic factor that Tim Curry had. She had a lot to live up to and doesn't. I think that it was a risk to pick her for this role and I would have liked it if they went all the way with it, she may have been better is she wasn't being played in so safe way. She didn't seem to be having fun as she was making this movie. I will give her that I liked the scene of "Wise Up, Janet Weiss but that is because the whole sequence goes for a darker feel and she was playing off of Victoria Justice who was the stand out for me.
The overall feel of the movie was alright, but I would have liked the inside of the castle to not look so much like the inside of a sound stage and it was too shiny. Like there wasn't any dust or lived in feel of any part of the inside (the outside of castle at the end also was very fake and the CGI was television poor). I wanted to see dust on the mummy in the clock. Wanted the room to seem more grand with the party, and there was no elevator. It seemed like with the Transylvanians there was a forced punk rock feel but it was going for mainstream punk rock. And might I add they the chorography for "Lets Do The Time Warp Again," had them moving their knees out when they should have been bringing them in tight.
I didn't like how the "Touch-a, touch-a, touch-a, touch me" scene was in a bedroom (really) and although Janet was good and did way better than a lot of people would have with that blocking and choreography, Rocky couldn't keep up with her, and how did they teleport into the tank from the bed? With the dinner scene why are they all on the one side of the table, the movie completely plays to the camera. But this did allow Columbia to continue to grow on me and by the end of the movie I have come to appreciate her version of this character. Plus why are they all on the one side of the table, the movie completely plays to the camera. But what was with "Rose Tint My Window" I mean really, however Brad was fun during these sequences. Frank-N-Furter just didn't engage my emotions to care about "I'm going home" she is not a character that you feel sorry for, and this is where they bring back the stupid fake audience. It also shows Riff Raff outshines Magenta (no comparison). I don't like how it took so long for Janet's hair to get messy at the end, it again shows how this movie was too put together and that didn't work for me. And then it just ended, but it didn't.
So overall, I think that the movie was better than I was expecting, there were some good parts (Janet, Brad, Columbia) and some bad parts (Frank-N-Furter) and mainstream production feel, which is the exact opposite of the cult classic it was a remake of. I think this mainstream-ing of the movie was the downfall of it. It they went for a 10pm slot instead of the 8pm and allowed it to be more dirty and gritty it would have been an alright newer version. Although I did like it enough that I will probably watch parts of it again and I don't hate it. Thinking over it, this will not replace or even come close to the joy I have for the originally The Rocky Horror Picture Show but it tried. It felt like it was a made for TV family movie, but when you think about the movie and story, it isn't suited for a family viewing.
My Rating: 2-