I can’t tell you why. Now I don’t really have to break down the synopsis of the story about the sweet transvestite from Transexual, Translvanyia, do I? This is the updated version that was recently released as a TV-movie on FOX. Now I am very familiar with this material; I’ve seen it for home viewings, at midnight movie madness screenings in a theater with the catcalling and prop interactions, as well as live on stage as a theatrical production. It seemed a curious choice to me to adapt this for primetime TV, but you never know, I’ve been surprised before. This is just a lesser version of Rocky Horror, and I really don’t see the point of it all as far as why they made this.
I get doing it onstage, but trying to recreate the movie just seems silly and pointless.
The original was such lightening in a bottle, it’s hard to recapture that for the screen. It’s one of those unintentionally genius movies, and much like films of the so-bad-it’s-good variety, it happened on accident. It is impossible to successfully create a movie where the end goal is to get your audience to laugh at its campiness. My biggest problem with this rendition is that they don’t do enough differently to justify its existence. Stage productions are always live, so that is a different animal entirely, but the versions on film last forever, like it or not. They went ahead and made the same exact production with lesser actors, which I don’t understand the purpose of. To this movie’s credit, it started out stronger than I was expecting. It was making its own choices, and the sound quality was actually coming in to the point where lyrics can be understood. Say what you want about the original, but so many song lyrics get mumbled and lost unless you have subtitles on or if you have just seen it so many times, you know the words by heart. I really liked Ryan McCartan as Brad from the start, and he ends up being the best part of this all the way to the end. I totally appreciate that they got an actual transgender woman in Laverne Cox to play Frank-N-Furter, and its a decision that I can wholeheartedly support… but not everybody was meant to play the role Frank-N-Furter, and I just don’t think she has the chops to pull it off, slipping in and out of an accent that she has no business attempting.
Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
For me, this took a turn for the worse right around the Time Warp, which is ironic, given the full title of this. It then devolves into people just doing pale imitations of their iconic characters, which just comes across as being lame more than anything. It’s just so lacking that it makes you wish that they didn’t get Tim Curry out for this; you get excited when he shows up as the narrator/criminologist, but then it just makes you depressed because you realize just how old he is. This is just a big misfire, and I feel that even the most dedicated RHPS fans are going to have a large disconnect with this.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again (2016) **
– Critic for Hire