Okay, so last night I ventured down to the local cinema to see the new Elton John biopic, Rocketman. For starters, I missed “Super Tuesday”—the one day a week where movies are $5—so I had to refinance my student loans for the ticket but at least I get to write this blog that a whopping 3-7 people will actually read.
Initially, I was going to see Godzilla: King of Monsters but I don’t know dude, it’s fucking Godzilla. If you like watching oversized monsters aimlessly knock over buildings (which, judging by the box office, people do) then you’ll like it; if not, there isn’t much to dissect. It’s not necessarily Citizen Kane, is what I’m trying to say.
From a synopsis standpoint, Rocketman is actually similar though. There isn’t really much to explain here. The life of Elton John’s pretty well documented but for those unfamiliar with his tribulations, there’s a hell of a lot of subject matter.
Disclaimer #1: I would just like to it isn’t fair that Rocketman will inevitably be compared to Bohemian Rhapsody, but guess what? Life isn’t fair.
In this situation, you have two musical biopics released within a year of eachother that centered on flamboyant, gay rock and roll icons who struggled with addiction. Not to mention, Dexter Fletcher helped direct both films. That’s enough to validate a comparison so I don’t want to hear about how they’re “completely different” movies.
Dislaimer #2: I thought Bohemian Rhapsody was the most overrated movie of 2018 by a country mile. It was in no way a bad film, but the award season buzz was insane. If you love Queen (which I do), it’s a fun two hours; if you don’t, there’s not much there.
For starters, expect Rocketman to receive a good amount of Oscar talk later this year. The Academy creams themselves over musicals, but unlike other films of that nature, this one deserves it.
In particular, Taron Egarton was FANTASTIC. He represents the film’s best shot at premier hardware come awards season, and given the circumstances, I think he has to be a lock now.
And that’s the problem I had with Bohemian Rhapsody’s Oscar praise. Rami Malek was great as Freddy Mercury, but he wasn’t sensational in my opinion. He danced a few numbers and wore fake teeth—prove me wrong.
Egarton not only delivered a pitch perfect dramatic performance, but he also provided a tremendous vocal performance as well. I’d never knock and actor for lip syncing, but I’ll definitely give you points for finishing the job. In other words, the precedent has been set. Unless someone pulls something groundbreaking put of their ass, you can’t give it to Malek and deny Egarton here…
As for the directing, I thought everything was done very well. One thing that becomes clear almost immediately is that this isn’t a conventionally structured film. It’s a musical, but with a great deal of fantasy. Considering the incredibly heavy subject matter, the fantastical contrast of of the musical numbers is what gave the film some much needed lift.
Also, unlike other musical biopics *cough cough*, what Rocketman did incredibly well was tell the story of Elton John THROUGH his music. When I say that, I mean that we didn’t see him sitting in a dimly lit studio scanning over lyrics; what we saw was the performance, as well as how the performance reflected that particular time period in Elton John’s life.
To wrap things up, I thought it was remarkably well done; however, I’ve just never been a huge fan of musicals. I find them hard to compare against conventional narratives so my ratings on these are always skewed. That said, it’s 100% worth the price of admission.
Final Score: 8.3 Boats out of 10
– Joey Boats (@joey_boats)