Tim Curry is still the best part of Rocky Horror
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is already a mouthful of a title, so it's baffling that Fox decided to call their 2016 remake, The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again.
If anything, the updated title represents everything the original 1975 Rocky Horror is: ostentatious. The comparisons pretty much stop there. The original is bawdy, violent and lots of fun. It's also rated R. The Fox version, which premiered last night, is a deeply sanitized version where everything is newer, shinier and more polished, but loses any charm the original has.
From the beginning, it's clear that this will be a different sort of movie: it eschews the famous lips singing the title song, Science Fiction Double Feature, for a scantily clad usher singing as she settles into a movie theater to watch the film instead. The songs sound more modern, but they also seem more fake; it's clear that these performances are dubbed. Laverne Cox as Frank-N-Furter does a noble job of keeping the camp up, but Victoria Justice as Janet and Ryan McCartan as Brad are so over-the-top it's distracting. Tim Curry is undoubtedly still the best part. Yes, he's here, as The Criminologist this time around, dry and understated but still very funny.
But worse than both of those, the new version commits two cardinal sins: it changes the choreography for the Time Warp, and worst of all, it actually portrays an audience in a theater watching the proceedings and interacting in some of the common ways live audiences of the original do. Not only does it pull you out of the actual film, it reminds you that the best way to watch Rocky Horror is live, with a theater full of people. This provides neither of these.
Ultimately, I predict this will go the way of The Sound of Music Live and Grease Live: touted as the event of the year, but ultimately quickly forgettable. It all just goes to show: you don't mess with cult classics. They have a cult, and they're classics.