How Taron Edgerton managed to avoid the pitfalls of Bohemian Rhapsody.
In the span of 6-7 months, we have seen three rock biopics: Bohemian Rhapsody, The Dirt, and Rocketman, all of which had very likable traits, all proving it is impossible to probably ever truly please your audience, and each once seeming to build on the mistakes of its predecessor.
Here is the spoiler free and full review of Rocketman.
If you are going to the movies expecting Rocketman to be like the other two aformentioned movies, you will be pretty well surprised as I was. The Elton John biopic takes a much different feel from the other two, and actually grabbed my attention from the start because of it.
There's sort of a "keep you guessing" mentality to the script writing, which for someone like myself who knows as much as the average joe about the life of Elton John, it works well.
Taron Egerton does a marvelous job of recreating Elton, really being hard to dinstinguish the two apart by the end. It helps that there were also a lot of iconic Elton John costumes to pick from when creating a look alike in Egerton.
The movie is a juxtaposed plot, skipping between narative storytelling scenes and musical numbers, offering a wide variety of tempos and speed, making the pacing feel odd at times, but never truly costing it in terms of a cinematic experience.
There is no real definition for what style of movie this felt like, but it learned from the mistakes of both The Dirt and Bohemian Rhapsody, incorporating the more intimate and graphic details of the Rocketman himself, something that many people had been pre-emptively complaining about prior to the release of this movie.
Spoiler free IMDb rating: 7.7/10
*continue on for the full review*
I was quite confused from the jump on this movie.
Let me once again clarify that I was expecting a straight-forward biopic style to this movie, something that did not happen, and I am glad to have experienced that.
After letting the movie sit with me for a few days, I realized that one of my earliest complaints against the movie was the quick jump into musical numbers, along with the fact that I couldn't tell whether Elton had crafted these songs as the age his character was singing (speaking about the scenes where childhood Elton is performing) or if they were just created because of the troubles he faced at those times.
Keep in mind also that I was under the impression that Elton John had written all of his work, showing just how uneducated I was with the history of his music.
The strong suit of this movie was actually strong suits (plural): blunt honesty and damn good music.
Blunt honesty was truly what made the characters in this movie, and what help this movie reach heights its predecessors could not. It helps having Elton John alive and well to encourage the use of graphic stories, comething Bohemian Rhapsody did not have in hand.
The intimate scenes between Elton and his old manager John Reid, played by former GOT star Richard Maddon, helped create a tension that was explored from the get-go, and fleshed out as the movie progressed, helping to keep the thread of the plotline hidden, an impressive script writing tool that helps make a semi-well known story feel brand new to the audience.
The wild use of drugs and alcohol was another more graphic depiction that felt beyond well protrayed by Taron Egerton, who like Ramie Malek, felt almost born to play this role.
And as I talked about, the scenes from the therapy group were quite frankly the best decision this movie could have made. It was also the source of another complaint early on in this movie.
When I came in, I was looking for a blasting out of the gate, hard hitting movie that never slowed down for a second, and what I got was real life, which was in fact much better than any grandiose version of this story could have been.
These scnes in which you get an Egerton performance quite possibly at it's best, is when you can get quality emotional scenes in a more intimate setting. In this biopic, you saw that in many different ways: with the therapy scenes, with the dressing room drug scenes, with the attempted suicide scene in the pool.
What you saw was an actor being allowed to fully explore the bounds of his character without any regard for how that affects their public image, which once again is a testment to the inspiration of the movie and his blunt honesty that endears him to fans.
Once again, the music I mean.... It's a "best of" compilation track from Elton John. If you don't like his music then what's really the point of seeing the movie?
While there are truly a lot of things you could dive into with this movie, I will again try and keep this compact by simply saying: if you were stuck between seeing Godzilla or Rocketman in theaters opening weekend, the only thing that should keep you from this Elton John biopic is a general distaste for his music.
All around well made movie that will probably receive improved reviews from myself the second time through.
Collin's IMDb rating: 8.1/10