“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975) still has the hearts of musical and horror lovers everywhere.
So, it’s easy to understand the mix of excitement and trepidation that fans had when Fox announced the remake: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again.”
The trailers were full of glittery dance numbers and a musical side of Laverne Cox that we haven’t really seen yet. It was all very exciting, but with the original being such a beloved classic, there was definitely room for worry.
Well, worry no more. There can never be a version as perfect as the Jim Sharman original, but Fox and Kenny Ortega came as close as they could.
This 2016 remake is just as delightfully campy — including all of your favorite, cheesy lines and situations as well as lots of Easter eggs that reference the original and the horror genre in general.
Mary Shelley’s grave, which Brad and Janet were engaged in front of, is a tribute to the writer of Frankenstein — a plot mirrored in the creation of Rocky — and those iconic red lips are everywhere.
The vocals were strong all around. And, the new arrangements weren’t tweaked beyond recognition, but they were updated enough to keep things interesting.
“Science Fiction Double Feature” got a whole new sound and a whole scene to itself, a scene of moviegoers filing into a theater that sets up a vital part of the remake.
Intermittently, there are cuts from the movie to a theater of people watching the movie and shouting at the screen — a clever inclusion of and reference to the live performances that have tons of audience interaction.
The cast, as a whole, was spectacular. The group numbers were everything a fan could hope for and more.
While the group numbers were more memorable — and just better, really — than the solos, the main actors did an excellent job of reintroducing these iconic characters.
Victoria Justice has been steadily moving away from her Nickelodeon persona over the years, but she still has that incredible voice that “Victorious” fans remember. Here, she was the perfect Janet, annoyingly innocent and easily swayed.
When she sings “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me,” the audience is inspired to stand up, dance and cheer, just like the original. Her voice is much stronger in the higher ranges than Susan Sarandon’s.
Ryan McCartan, who plays Brad Majors, was absolutely perfect. He’s another actor that is known for his roles on children shows, specifically Disney, but he obviously has the skill to do a wide range of roles. And, he truly shines as Brad.
In this version, when McCartan and Justice sing “There’s A Light,” it is infinitely more entertaining than the original. With the sparkling new arrangement and the inclusion of the theatrical audience interaction, this rendition turned the worst song of the original into something tolerable.
Lots of the smaller roles, such as Columbia and Magenta, were subpar. Even Riff-Raff’s performance was spotty.
The actors either played up their characters too much — which is really hard to do in something like “Rocky Horror” — or were completely apathetic and uninteresting.
But the star, Laverne Cox, really stole the show. To follow up Tim Curry’s Dr. Frank-N-Furter is not an easy task.
She certainly made the best of it.
While her British accent was necessary and hard to understand at some points, her overall performance was superb. She was glamorous and sexy and slightly terrifying — all the things that Frank-N-Furter should be.
Overall, Ortega orchestrated a wonderful update to this cult classic that was, surprisingly, not utterly disappointing. Of course, nothing will ever touch the original, but this is certainly an enjoyable version, nonetheless.