Runtime: 2h 14m
Director: Bryan Singer, Dexter Fletcher
Writers: Anthony McCarten, Peter Morgan
Stars: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee
“Paul is out. I fired him.”
“On what pretext?”
Initial: Too bad this wasn’t on my streaming platform of choice back when I watched Rocketman.
Production Notes: Speaking of Rocketman (and more comparisons are going to be made), Dexter Fletcher went on to direct that film after he had stepped in to finish Rhapsody when Bryan Singer was fired from the project.
What Did I Think:
I like Queen. Obviously, it helps when watching a musician biopic to like the musician’s music. Rami Malek plays the hell out his role as Freddie Mercury (as do Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, and Joe Mazzello as the rest of the band). I enjoyed the scenes of the band collaborating. I don’t know how faithful they are to real life, but I like the concept of art coming out of not just agreement, but criticism.
For example, in one scene (summed up):
Band: *argues about writing a (gasp) disco song*
John Deacon: *starts playing the bass line for “Another One Bites the Dust” *
Band: “Oh. Well, if that’s what you mean…”
All biopics have to adapt real life to narrative. Sadly, Bohemian Rhapsody does it in a bland way. Here comes the big comparison: Rocketman sidesteps fidelity by cheerfully waving goodbye to the mundane and substituting the heightened reality of a musical. This works very well for interpreting Elton John. It allows for narrative somersaults to make everything Work Out in the End. A musical probably wouldn’t have worked for Freddie Mercury, but there had to be an alternative for the pretty straight (in more ways than one) storytelling of Bohemian Rhapsody. What would have worked for Queen? 80s rock opera, probably, though that would have been difficult to pull off and not be cheesy.
As I said though, I like Queen. This movie wasn’t great, but its 2 hours, 14 minute runtime wasn’t a hardship either. Yes, I watch through to the end of the credits.