Film Review: Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again

Dónal Murray-Ferris takes a look at the remake of one of the hottest camp classics of all time- ‘Rocky Horror’. Is it astounding or is the excitement fleeting after the title sequence? Welcome to into the Lab- make yourself comfortable.


To celebrate the 41st anniversary of the original big screen treatment of this classic film and stage show Fox has commissioned a remake of cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show directed by Kenny Ortega (Hocus Pocus, High School Musical). Year on year thousands upon thousands of people flock to theatres around the UK in their fishnet stockings, gold hot pants and itchy woollen jumpers with confetti in hand to see the Richard O’Brien classic.

The first difference from the original film is the absence of the  red lips to start the show off. This isn’t awful but an odd directorial decision as it is so iconic but it doesn’t exactly ruin the film so I will let Ortega off.

Year on year thousands upon thousands of people flock to theatres around the UK in their fishnet stockings, gold hot pants and itchy woollen jumpers with confetti in hand to see the Richard O’Brien classic.

I can’t be as kind for some of his other choices. The casting of characters Magenta and Columbia in particular stand out for me as poor. Christina Milian as Magenta was okay in her singing and her acting was also fine but had you not been introduced to her you would not be aware she was playing the role so greatly tackled by Patricia Quinn in the original. Columbia (played by Annaleigh Ashford) tried way too hard to be whiney and ended up coming across a sulky teenager who threw a tantrum after the death of Eddie (Adam Lambert). This may have been the director’s intention but I certainly don’t remember finding Nell Cambpell’s portrayal  of Columbia quite as irritating. That also goes for Reeve Carney’s portrayal of Riff Raff. It became way too easy to compare these actors with those who preceded them but with such important roles played by such now famous actors I think it would be impossible not to do so.

That being said Ryan McCartan did a very fine turn as Brad Majors and Adam Lambert’s appearance as Eddie was a definite scene stealer. I found myself feeling quite let down by Victoria Justice as Janet. Whether it was her decision or not she essentially copied Susan Sarandon’s performance but without the virginal quality of early Janet being as believable. Upon her sexual awakening with Frank N Furter the shock of her being so liberated wasn’t really there. Staz Nair was solidly good as Rocky and stole a fair few scenes with his strong vocals and even stronger rock hard abs (without the tight gold hot pants- this is Fox and for some reason all the dirt and smut was given a good old tidy up by your Auntie Enid).

I can’t be as kind for some of his other choices. The casting of characters Magenta and Columbia in particular stand out for me as poor.

Now, onto Laverne Cox as Frank N Furter. How did she do? To be completely honest, I am just not sure. When I heard she was cast I was so excited but I felt very let down. At times she tried too hard to emulate Tim Curry’s performance, even saying “Oh Rocky” almost identically to Curry. Sadly that’s where the  positive comparisons I can make with Curry’s performance end. If this had been the first time anyone had seen Rocky Horror I am confident I would be lauding her performance but let’s face it she had huge stilettos to fill. I do think though that her performance was only as good as how she was directed. She acted and sang well but lacked the unnerving creepiness of the Frank N Furter from the original movie and stage show.

I found myself feeling quite let down by Victoria Justice as Janet. Whether it was her decision or not she essentially copied Susan Sarandon’s performance but without the virginal quality of early Janet being as believable. Upon her sexual awakening with Frank N Furter the shock of her being so liberated wasn’t really there.

The oddest decision about the whole remake was the decision to mix the stage show and the movie. The scenes involving the audience were odd and didn’t really bring anything to the plate. It felt very much that there were so many different ideas on how to approach the project and when they couldn’t agree they decided to do all of them, making for a messy film that lost its way about 20 minutes in. The songs lacked any voomph, Time Warp and Creature Of The Night were extremely disappointing. A request to Fox, please concentrate on making movies and TV shows people actually want to see rather than those we will all watch and hate-regardless of the ratings.

Click here for more information on how to watch Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again

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