The Rocky Horror Picture Show: "Let's Do The Time Warp Again"

Director: Kenny Ortega
Writer:     Jim Sharman
                Richard O'Brien
Starring: Laverne Cox
                Victoria Justice
                Ryan McCartan
                Reeve Carney
                Christina Milian
                Annaleigh Ashford
                Staz Nair
                Adam Lambert
                Ben Vereen
                Ivy Levan
                Tim Curry
Rating:    ***

Air Date: 28 October, 2016. Sky Cinema 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, is a film that millions hold very dear to their heart and are very protective over. It's cult classic status means that the fans of the film are passionate and remaking it in any form is always going to be a risky decision. They know the film inside and out, they have studied it, memorised it, and no doubt they have watched it, all dressed up, at a midnight showing. I personally am a fan, but not to that level; and in my eyes, this television tribute to the 1975 original is a fun homage and a decent remake, but it is nowhere near to capturing the original magic that lives on in the classic version. 

Victoria Justice & Ryan McCartan
Sweethearts Janet and Brad (Justice & McCartan) find themselves stranded with a flat tyre on the way home from  wedding. Luckily, or so it seems, they have broken down next to the grand home of Frank-N-Furter (Cox). Frank-N-Furter is a sexually ambiguous, and highly flirtatious mad-scientist (who also happens to be an alien), that is holding the yearly, Transylvanian science convention to show off the birth of 'Rocky'; a fit, attractive man created purely to fulfil Frank's every desire. Helping Frank out along the way are Riff-Raff, Magenta and Columbia (Carney, Milian & Ashford), and together they promise to take Brad, Janet and the audience on one hell of a journey.

Let's get the bad news out of the way, Ryan McCartan's Brad is annoying, far too camp and seems to completely miss the point of Brad and how he should be portrayed; Riff-Raff isn't creepy enough and his singing was too good, but I think it is a classic case of the original being unbeatable, and Christina Milian doesn't quite reach the levels of insanity that she could've done with Magenta. I also feel that, although his voice is mind-blowing and sadly underused here, Adam Lambert was wasted in he role of Eddie.

Christina Milian, Reeve Carney
& Annaleigh Ashford
Now the good. Victoria Justice is spot on with her portrayal of Janet, making her sexual journey believable, funny and the right level of camp, why she has yet to truly make the transition from child star to mainstream I do not know. Annaleigh Ashford (of Broadway fame) nails Columbia, and while her relationship with Eddie could've been exploited more, she kept her dry, funny and perfectly snarky. I also really enjoyed Staz Nair's singing voice, and his portrayal of the newly created Rocky was the exact mix of hunk and monster that it needed to be.

Now for the big one...Fank-N-Furter. Laverne Cox slays in every aspect of this role. She is camp, she is sexy, she is naughty and she is funny. Cox switches from mad scientist to sultry femme fatale with the flick of a switch and brilliantly straddles the line of underplaying and overplaying the part. The problem for me comes with the fact that Frank-N-Furter, in my opinion should be played by a man, a role I feel Lambert would've owned. That being said, casting it the way it has been also worked just as much for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed Laverne Cox from beginning to end. However she is a woman, a trans-woman, which is why they cast her; but for me and many of the purists out there, Frank-N-Furter needed to be a man in drag. I can't figure out if i am fully inboards with this decision, but putting that aside, I love Cox and love the way she played it, for all intents and purposes...she was perfect.

Laverne Cox
Luckily the script has gone by mostly unchanged and the music, though arranged differently, is all there and sung superbly. I've seen some responses to this remake are that it isn't sexual or risque enough, but I completely disagree. I personally feel that in 1975 the film was controversial and completely unheard of, which has remained it's reputation throughout, even though nowadays it isn't that effective. The remake has come out in the age of sexting, and celebrity sex tapes and online porn, people don't get offended by sex and sexuality anymore, and we are living in an far more accepting society where trans people are free to live their lives and people can love who they want. Our world is so accepting and more laid back then 41 years ago, so people saw this remake as tame; but it really isn't.

There are homages to original, from the very beginning, with the red lips making a subtle return thanks to Ivy Levan and then they appear again at the end. The inclusion f an audience reacting the way the die hard Rocky Horror fans do in cinemas felt inspired, it linked the old classic to the new one in a neat little bow and felt surprisingly natural and like it was always there. They even have original Frank-N-Furter, Tim Curry, as the criminologist which is both fun and poignant, its a passing of the baton, but also feels like Curry saying goodbye to his work. It think this was a wicked tribute to a cult classic, and people are just finding any reasons they can to dislike it, which is becoming the norm sadly in today's film industry.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Trailer