Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Remake Rocky Horror review

Fox's Remake of Rocky Horror// Review



Intro//
I hated the intro, I hated it when I watched it when it was released early and I hated it when I watched it last night. The idea itself was not bad, it was just executed poorly and was a little too on the nose.
The singer is working at a movie theatre (as an usher) dressed a bit like a 50s bellhop (although in grey, not red) and is walking through old movie posters of films that are references in Science Fiction Double Feature which was way too on the nose for my taste. I'm not sure if they figured people under 30 wouldn't know about these old films, but I just felt like it made the song lose its cheekiness (which becomes a running theme, you’ll see) a bit. I also wasn’t a huge fan of how she sung it which definitely wasn’t her fault, that was how they had her sing it, but I felt it lost its charm.
Not to be entirely negative, the idea to have the usher singing (which is done in the stage production) was a good idea, it was just was not well executed in my opinion, it felt too clean. I did however enjoy the usher walking through the theatre showing people where to sit and scolding the guy with his feet on the seat in front of him, I feel if they would have had a better beginning I wouldn’t be against the intro so much.
I was also personally happy that they did a bit of an homage to the original film and zoomed in on the usher’s bright red lips while she sang the last few notes. It made me rather happy, although I watched it with my mother who complained that her teeth were too perfect so you might not be able to win there.
The intro was a good idea, there were just bits that were negative/ not well thought out and gave a lasting impression.

We open up at a church which looked like a good gothic styled church, perfect for the story, beautiful.
But for some reason there’s also a funeral going on during the wedding? I didn’t understand why they did that because it meant the little easter eggs of this scene were not noticeable because the characters were moving around a graveyard. It made me really sad because the greatest part about this part of the film for me is the fact that you can see Frank-N-Furter and his “workers” in the background visibly working at the church.
On the plus side, I loved Brad and Janet they were slightly awkward and it was actually really cute, that was a nice detail added.
The 50s/60s fashions were lovely in this opening scene.
The song was executed decently, not upset there.

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Costumes//
Some of them were really good, some of them were horrible for this production. I liked the majority of Riff-Raff’s looks, his outfit at the end where he is dressed like a space traveller is a little much, but it was done well. Brad and Janet’s were done nicely, I did not care for their gold corsets at the last dance number, but at least they matched Frank-N-Furter because Columbia and Rocky did not (and it did bother me). Rocky’s costume choices were not my favourite, I was actually shocked at how annoyed I was that he wasn’t in a gold speedo and instead was in gold boxers that blended in far too much with his skin tone (plus they were baggy which did not create a nice look). Columbia’s costume choices all annoyed me except for her sleepwear and I felt that recreating the sleepwear from the original film did not work with the rest of the costuming they had designed (if they would have kept that pattern but maybe had her in sleep shorts or something else it would have looked better with the rest of the film, it was one case where the homage to the original film didn’t flow nicely). Frank-N-Furter had great costumes except the mask the doctor sports after Time Warp. Also a lot of the Transylvanians looked like 90s punk rockers which is a look I like, just not for this.

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Story//
This is a story the majority of us are familiar with, and they follow the script practically verbatim. They omitted some of Rocky’s song for example, but the parts Rocky did sing were identical to the original. Simply put (and I never thought I would say this) they made a mistake by keeping everything so similar to the original. It is hard for me to admit because of course you want a remake to do the original film justice and usually the problem is that it didn’t follow the story close enough, but this remake could have done with a little bit of … well editing. Just to make sense of the storyline and to make it fit in better with the world they were attempting to create. I was surprised when I realized I could say all of their lines perfectly as I went into this going “it’s Fox, it is going to be different” except it wasn’t really that different.
One of my biggest problems with the film is that it is too similar to be different, but not similar enough to work. More than half of this stems from the directors poor decisions with the acting (which I am going to mention later on), but there are huge legitimate holes in the story that were never answered and didn’t make sense. Why was there a funeral at the same time of a wedding in a relatively small church? Why is it that Rocky and Janet were in Rocky’s ice cream cooler of a bed (it looked like a fifties cooler from a mom and pop diner) when Janet and Rocky had been last seen getting ready to have some fun in Janet’s room (which doesn’t make sense in the original they have fun in Rocky’s “bed” which is why they are there when Frank-N-Furter lifts up the sheet)?
I feel like had they edited the story a little bit more to fit the characters they were trying to have in their version of the story, fixing some lines, maybe adding another musical number if it suited the story right, it would have been a bit better. Overall it seems a bit rushed and I feel if they had taken their time with doing this they could have done something that … maybe wasn’t the same as Rocky Horror has been, but at least it would have been on a similar league and been preformed a lot better. In any case, they didn’t fit the script for their actors or their version of the characters (which is where a lot of the acting complaints come in) and it really hurts the overall feel of the movie.
**ALSO (I almost forgot about this), they didn’t really show Riff-Raff and Magenta’s relationship, only mentioned they were siblings at the end and their relationship wasn’t shown properly which severely bothered me as I felt that is a huge subplot of the film that they chose to ignore (likely to make it “family friendly” ugh!)

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Soundtrack//

They changed the tune of some of the songs (I actually preferred what they did for Over At The Frankenstein Place [aka the “there’s a light” song] as I found it fit really well), which some people liked and some people hated. I didn’t like Science Fiction/ Double Feature and I was very let down by Sweet Transvestite. They were too focused on keeping Frank-N-Furter sultry that they forgot to keep the character cheeky and it made Laverne Cox’s delivery come off a little flat. A lot of the songs they changed they forgot to keep the charm and the vibe in the song which was really sad because it made the film lukewarm. A lot of the songs seemed to lose their character, whoever did the music tried to “clean it up” which made it lose their personalities within the music. That was probably one of the greatest disappointments.

That said, Eddie (Adam Lambert)’s part was lovely and I was really happy with it. Also I found Victoria Justice was the real stand out from this remake having done a pretty good job, there were a few parts I was missing Sarandon but they were so few and far between that I feel she deserves a lot of credit for that.

Also, while I’m happy they kept Super Heroes in it (was worried they wouldn’t because at one point it was removed from the original film to see if it would “show better”), I am annoyed they did not have the Science Fiction/ Double Feature reprise. I figured they wouldn’t have the reprise because this is an American remake and it is still not in the US version of the film, but it really left the film on a bad note for me.

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Acting//
Some of it was lovely, some of it was horrifying to watch. I feel the majority of this stems from the director because I cannot imagine any actor coming up with doing some of these parts (and getting away with it)
Brad, Janet, Riff-Raff, and Eddie were my favourite parts. Eddie was played by Adam Lambert and I really wish they would have kept with the play’s tradition and had Lambert play Dr. Scott as well. A missed opportunity I found, although I do not have any complaints over the actor who played Dr. Scott, I just think it would have been a nice little homage that would have worked beautifully.
I felt they made Frank-N-Furter a bit too sultry which meant the character didn’t have the same cheekiness that the role has always had which wasn’t the best thing they could have done. It wasn’t awful, but the character was definitely lacking because of this. A real let down because Laverne Cox is a wonderful actress and she deserved better.
The delivery for Magenta was sometimes good and sometimes not so much. It really depends on the scene.
Columbia was probably the worst part in the entire film. I heard the delivery and my first reaction was “this is like if Kristen Stewart was asked to play Columbia”, Columbia was so monotone and without emotion which ruined her character completely and made me hate her any time she was on screen. Columbia’s supposed to be a groupie, if they were going to make her so different they should have changed the script to fit her character better … which they didn’t. Columbia’s part in Time Warp and the song after she is de-medusa’d (“I was a regular Frankie Fan!”) were the only parts I liked of her character, which is a shame because Columbia was a lot of fun.

On a lighter note, Tim Curry did a fantastic job with his character (the narrator). I am a huge Tim Curry fan and I was amazed that he agreed to do it (mainly because he’s had a stroke and it did interfere with his speech a little bit). His singing voice is still great and it was just such a joy to see him there. Not going to lie, I was really excited about it.

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The “audience”//

This is worth mentioning because this is the thing that ruined the remake for me the most. They would sometimes go back to the theatre that the intro happened in showing the “audience’s” reaction and nothing ruined the mood more. This is something I hated so much about the film, it drove me made that they would show the audience. Obviously they were trying to provide the Rocky Horror experience that you’d get if you’d go to the theatre to watch it (well in certain areas), however it was done horribly and was a good part of what ruined the film for me. I hated them with a passion and felt the entire thing should have been cut out.

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Other random stuff//

-I hated how the castle didn’t get beamed out of the scene until Brad, Janet, and Dr. Scott left the scene (after singing Super Heroes). They weren’t covered in soot, and it was a detail that made me a little annoyed.
-Why doesn’t Frank-N-Furter have his throne? I feel at the very least the doctor should have been given a chair that spins 360 degrees, that would have been a lot of fun
-The stage design for the de-Medusa’d scene/ Riff Raff and Magenta’s true colours come out/ “I’m Going Home” musical number bit was a bit too King Kong esque. I get WHY they did that, but I really missed the RKO tower
-Brad being unable to walk in heels was my favourite homage left in the film
-They kept the pool scene which I didn’t thing they were going to do, but I’m glad they did
-The bedding scene where Frank-N-Furter has an affair with Janet then Brad was interesting, but I felt the compromising positions were not compromising enough and that I wished you couldn’t see the room besides the bed (and then the tv when Riff Raff says Rocky ran away). Also, what was with the spanking?
-The lip syncing for Magenta was way off
-I thought this was going to be live so it was odd discovering it wasn’t
-Eddie gets killed by being stabbed and falling out a window? Really? Really? Couldn’t come up with something a little more original? Or at least give Frank-N-Furter the axe back (“Ah an axe that brings me back!” - Grandma Addams)

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The Verdict//
While I didn’t completely hate this film, it made me feel incredibly deflated. I actually was listening to the original soundtrack through the commercial breaks as a sort of palate cleanser. It is kind of obvious to me that they did not take their time with it and I’m probably going to act like this didn’t happen.
I wouldn’t recommend this film and I’m not sure I’d even buy it.

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So yes, that’s my review of Fox’s remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Hope you enjoyed it. Did anyone else watch this yesterday? How’d you feel about it?

1 comment:

cat eyes & skinny jeans said...

I've never seen the original. I'm sorry to hear that the remake was lackluster.

xx