The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again (2016)
Transcend your expectations.
For heaven's sake, this title takes longer to say than it feels like some of the songs in this movie last. Props to them for doing a reboot that doesn't just flat-out steal the name of what it's doing (like Robocop or Ghostbusters), but good jeez man. Beyond my thoughts on what a remake I hadn't ever heard anyone express desire in having, this should be an interesting one to review if for no other reason than having already done the other one and essentially having the same movie on hand. Surely though, something must have been changed outside the cast right? Maybe updating some songs? Maybe new segments or characters or something? Well, guess we'll just have to jump to the left and hope for the best.
Now, I went into this thing knowing pretty well how most the songs I cared about (you can understand that in alternate speak as "the songs I ended up liking enough to stick around) ended up via YouTube. This isn't even some kind of second-hand bootleg sort of thing either, no, the Fox channel proper had the songs up for me to check out - and thus I did. There was some disappointment in there, and I very well could have just left it at that, but I was really interested in why this remake was going to exist - what was it doing to validate it's existence. Given the relatively same lyrics that I made out during the songs, it certainly wasn't going to be a case of updating those to be more relevant with a younger crowd whose lost amongst lines like "RKO" and "Fay Wray" - so lacking that they must have had something in mind, and given I'm not a cat and it hasn't killed me yet, I decided to give in to my curiosity and brave potential horror to find out.
Before I get to that though, let's talk about the music - it being a musical, that's sort of important. Taste in music is subjective - what I don't like another can, and what they can't I'm fine with liking. I've got a wide range of things I'll listen too - from opera to metal, retrowave to country, classical to classic rock - and I feel that I've probably brought that up in the various musicals I've done here next to the line where I say "I don't even really like musicals all that much." There's plenty of songs from the original that stick with me - to note Science Fiction Double Feature, Over at the Frankenstein Place, and the obvious Time Warp - that I fully expect to be as enjoyable as they were in the original. Of those, I found the first two to be safe, but the newer rendition of the last to be quite less thrilling. It's a strange dynamic, as most the vocals the actors bring to the table are good - even the ones I don't necessarily like - however there are two (Furter's helpers) that through design or voice just don't catch my ear in the slightest. Granted, there still wasn't anything as horrible as the original Columbia's caterwauling.
So for the most part, the songs remain intact - heck, they even managed to add in a song or two that I don't recall from the original. Performance-wise, the actors do a pretty decent job and have some excellent on screen charisma going on. Yeah, there's some moments when it seems like Tim Curry would rather be taking a nap than recording his lines but given his age and all the stellar jobs he's done in other movies I feel like he deserves a little pass this time - particularly because it doesn't really impact the movie at all. Heck, even the diversity of the cast doesn't really effect the movie nearly as much as some might worry about. Laverne does a wonderful job hitting all manner of different notes, and brings a level of showmanship that although not quite as always on as Curry is still pretty appreciated and at times spot on or a little better than his. I mean, i do have mild complaints about the fact that a woman in woman's clothing isn't a transvestite and in turn kind of makes the lines pertaining to that in Sweet Transvestite and Rose Tint my World less effective. That may be a bigger deal breaker to other people, but if I can live with Phantom restructuring when the chandelier drops, I can live through that as well.
One of the things that I really do like that this movie did is tie in the real world audience to the movie. See, although I never attended one of these, RHPS has had quite the life as a stage show from what I've heard - one rife with essentially audience interaction. It might not be the extent of people getting up on stage like some magician trick, but a lot of what they cut out to the theater (where you see the audience watching the movie) is some of the stuff they would actually do as far as I am to understand it. It's a nice touch, completely unnecessary by all means, but it does help differentiate it more from the others and serves a bit as an easter egg of sorts for those heavy-duty fans who've experience that sort of thing. Of course, beyond that is a more modern cast that the younger batch can recognize (a lot of whom seem to be Disney stars at one point, like Victoria Justice).
Quality (visually) is pretty good, and the movie despite all it's raunchiness and devious nature manages to be as PG or more PG than the original did (and ideally, although the rental DVD is shown to be NR, the IMDB entry does list it as TV-14). This is largely due to crude innuendos and a lot of underwear, while never actually straying to the point where "naughty bits" are thrown on screen. Of course, that being said, people should know of that before going in, as there is a good deal of commentary that could be had from that front if you care more to delve into it than I do - I'm just here to have fun. Costumes are fantastic - which sounds a bit contradictory considering at least two people spend most their time in the movie in underwear. Still, for the members that do wear outfits things look quite outrageous and entertaining.
It's an interesting debacle really. Although there are some parts to it that I like better than the original - the voices on both Janet and Brad, as well as the improved Columbia - I can find an equal number of things I don't care for - the new Time Warp, the less charismatic Eddy. It provides for a relatively middling after-thought, although it's still enjoyable enough during the watching of it. If I had to choose between the two, I'd prefer the first, but I do still really enjoy the audience aspect that brings all the jokes the average watcher of the first wouldn't know unless they had been to a live showing (such as that anticipation punchline) or otherwise read up on it.
It's not bad, and I can say that largely (as with any musical) it's going to come down to your preference in vocals. Nicely enough, as stated earlier Fox has most the songs (if not all) up on their YouTube channel where you can listen to them and see if it's something that you'd be able to enjoy while sitting down and watching a (largely) unchanged movie beyond that. It's admittedly better than I thought it was going to be based on the few songs that I wasn't liking as much, but has a relatively even pros and cons category about it.