‘Rocky Horror’ disappoints, scratches necessary original content
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After much anticipation and hype, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again” aired on Fox Wednesday night, paying tribute to the original 1975 musical comedy-horror film.
The latest rendition of the story follows a newly engaged couple, Brad Majors, played by Ryan McCartan, and Janet Weiss, played by Victoria Justice, as they embark on a drive to visit their old science tutor, which is how they met each other. The pair get lost on a stormy night and blow a tire, ultimately forcing them to walk down the dark road to a nearby castle where the Annual Transylvania Convention is taking place.
Hosted by Doctor Frank N. Furter, played by Laverne Cox, the pair get sucked into a world of outlandish people with a penchant for the weird and disturbing. Furter soon reveals that his latest project is the creation of a man in his laboratory, and the night ensues with drama and innuendo. While the latest remake did a fantastic job recreating the excitement the show brings, some of the differences tended to be disappointing rather than providing a creative and different perspective.
What was interesting about this new take, was that actor Tim Curry, took on the role of the criminologist that narrates the musical. Curry, now 70 years old, played Doctor Frank N. Furter in the original 1975 version and it was captivating to watch how he took on this new role.
The 1975 film opens with an iconic set of painted ruby-red human lips against a matte black background. The owner of the mouth is hidden, but gives a brief synopsis about science fiction, as well as announcing the horror show that is about to ensue.
In the Fox premiere, the owner of the lips is granted an entire body. A young blonde woman, played by Ivy Levan is an usher at a movie theater and gives the same spiel as the original film. This was disappointing because the lips were such an iconic piece of film. There may have potentially been some discrepancy about how to present this in the remake, but it was disappointing to see such a classic entrance mottled.
Due to advancements made in technology and filmmaking, the costumes and set were more bright and well lit in the newest version of the film, creating an almost warm and welcoming environment, comparative to one of Disneyland. The original version almost made it a point to have the interior of the castle be dark and gloomy, and have the lab be starkly contrasted by being spotless and white. The newer version seemed to do almost the exact opposite.
With regard to casting, the entire show was made with the addition of Laverne Cox as Dr. Furter. She’s no Tim Curry, and she’s better for it. She encapsulated the role and the drama that went with it by nailing her opening number “Sweet Transvestite,” and her interaction with the rest of the cast seemed to come easily.
As for the rest of the cast, they seemed awkward and off-balanced. Both Victoria Justice and Ryan McCartan started on channels like Nickelodeon and Disney Channel. The roles they once held as children put them at a disadvantage in such an adult show because they haven’t had a chance to be taken seriously yet. Justice didn’t portray half of the innocence that was needed to play Janet Weiss and McCarten was too much of a Clark Kent character to pull off Brad Majors.
Remakes are tricky and it’s hard to please everyone. For such a raunchy show to be broadcasted on television is a big deal, but also can be viewed as a hindrance with regard to production quality due to censorship. Without the double entendres and innuendo, the audience misses out on the glory that was the original film. Overall, it was a great way to kick off the Halloween season and was a way for everyone to sit down with their parents who were alive when the original film came out, and discuss the similarities and differences of the shows.