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Author Topic: BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY  (Read 202 times)
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« on: February 12, 2019, 03:59:53 PM »

Perhaps Bryan Singer's swan song, Bohemian Rhapsody is a safe, non-controversial, dull biopic about the exciting and anything but dull life of Freddie Mercury and his band Queen.

Everyone already knows that this movie has been in production hell for ten years. Bryan Singer was actually fired halfway through production for "unprofessionalism" but he retains the directors credit due to union rules. As he was not a part of post-production, it's hard to say if this film is his vision or that of his replacement Dexter Fletcher. I think most likely it is that of executive producer Brian May. It was after all May who caused former star and director Sasha Baron Cohen to leave the project. Cohen wanted the movie to be an R-rated realistic look at Mercury's life. He was going to start the film with the eccentric star feasting on a giant pile of coke, Scarface-style. May clearly wanted the portrayal of his band to be cleaner and more family friendly and so we got the PG-13 TV movie I am reviewing. Strangely it was a massive box office smash hit which I can only attribute to the love Queen's music still garners in the public.

It's not a bad movie (but the music is really the only great thing about it) and we've heard these songs hundreds of times already on the radio, in sports arenas, and in other movies. In fact they gave Mike Myers a role as the bands producer because his decision to head bang to the titular song in Wayne's World propelled it to No. 2 on the Billboard charts in 1992. It only reached No. 9 in the States upon it's original release.

Rami Malek is fine as Mercury, but he looks nothing like him. The false teeth he had to wear made his English accent more authentic I'm sure. There really isn't much reason to discuss the other characters in the film because they are two-dimensional and receive no back stories. Even Mercury's two loves, his wife and his male lover are barely in the film. We never see him engaged in drug use or sex. The fact that he is gay is really only hinted at and you don't even know when he actually started going to gay bars. Sasha Baron Cohen wanted to embrace Mercury's extreme lifestyle because let's face it, it would be entertaining. But this film portrays him as being a bit boring. It also changes history at every chance it gets to give the film more drama. For example, Queen never broke up, but they do in the film to make it seem like their performance at Live Aid was a reunion concert.

Not terrible, but not exciting, Rhapsody will probably best be known as Bryan Singer's last film and for it's box office success.

3 Octaves Outta 5

« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 04:22:27 PM by crow » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2019, 04:29:57 PM »


Not terrible, but not exciting, Rhapsody will probably best be known as Bryan Singer's last film and for it's box office success.

I'll take odds on that....

And Freddie Mercury was gay?  Who knew?

Thanks for jumping on the grenade.
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2019, 04:38:38 PM »

Not a fan of Queen's music, so I had no interest in seeing this at all.

That being said... I'd watch the HELL out of a version by Sacha Baron Cohen.
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2019, 04:43:30 PM »

Not a fan of Queen's music, so I had no interest in seeing this at all.

That being said... I'd watch the HELL out of a version by Sacha Baron Cohen.

Yup.

And what, you don't like FLASH GORDON?
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2019, 04:44:45 PM »

And don't forget Highlander. Neither soundtrack is mentioned in the film.
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2019, 04:46:24 PM »

Well, I don't consider that standard Queen music. Flash Gordon is a goddamned masterpiece. Same with 'Princes of the Universe' from Highlander.

Everything else they did is MEH. And thats what I hear everywhere I go. I even hate the song in Shaun of the Dead and I fucking LOVE that movie.
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2019, 04:54:51 PM »

And don't forget Highlander. Neither soundtrack is mentioned in the film.

Wow.  Total fail.
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2019, 05:14:38 PM »

"Who Wants to Live Forever" (a Brian May song from Highlander) is played when Mercury gets his AIDS diagnosis but their is no context given.
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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2019, 05:25:04 PM »

He had AIDS?   Wink

Well, at least they acknowledged that.
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2019, 02:46:42 PM »

Saw it last night....

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is a shockingly good biopic of Freddie Mercury and Queen featuring a fantastic performance by Rami Malek.  Malek goes all in on a performance that could have easily turned into a bad Dr. Frankenfurter impression.  Instead, he taps into both the sweetness that Mercury had, while not shying away at all from the many many bad decisions he made.

The movie simply works.  It does so primary in 3 ways - one, the entire cast is good.  Malek amazing, but so was Gwilym Lee as Brian May.   The chemistry between the actors is fantastic, and the fact that all of them were unknowns helps out a lot.  I mean Jamie Foxx is fine as Ray, but I never could suspend disbelief.  By the end of this movie, you completely believe that Malek was Mercury.  Of all the Oscars given for 2018, his might be the most deserved.

2nd, it gets the glamour, rise, fall, then rise aspect of the story - one seen in nearly every movie about rock and roll - right.  It's doesn't linger too long on the ugly side, but it does not hide it either.  The story was shockingly close to the real one, much more so then I was expecting.  The movie certainly portrays Mercury as a man who simply went mad with power & talent, only to eventually be brought back to earth by his brothers in the form of his band mates.  

Lastly, and most importantly, music is never very far away in this movie.  There is a shocking amount of music in this film.  The end of the movie has the brains to simply re-enact Live Aid, showing us 4 songs in a row with no other non-sense.  No flashbacks or the like, nothing overly cinematic, it just lets the cast show off all the hard work they put in (Malek's movements are nearly identical to Mercury's).  It's so stupid simple, yet nearly never done to same extent in this film, that it really should be a the template for all other rock biopics moving forward.  

The movie isn't perfect - early on in the movie they hadn't quite looked in Mercury's look - there are times when Malek looks like a caveman with a sparkly outfit on.  So too, we're seen all this before in a dozen other movies.  At times the movie does border on parody, a sort of cross between DEWEY COX and THE LIBERACE STORY.  And of course, Mercury is a person a little hard to feel sorry for - given both a God given gift of musical genius and loving band mates who have nearly the same talent level, Mercury still goes all but crazy.  

Still, it never does become parody.  Malek is so good in the part that the humanity of Freddie Mercury comes out, and the movie wisely never asks us to feel sorry for him (indeed, a very nice scene at the end of the movie features Mercury saying just that) and just let's us enjoy the story of one of the greatest bands ever.  The production value excellent, especially the sound, for which is won another (deserved) Oscar.

Last note - it's entirely possible that Brain May - an executive producer - did not own the rights to the tunes in HIGHLANDER or FLASH, so I can give them a pass.

BOTTOM LINE: 4 "best drama of 2018" out of 5
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2019, 04:20:58 PM »

It certainly could have been a lot worse. I gave it *** which is still a thumbs up or a "watch." Malek was definitely inspired casting from Singer (who is known for good casting - Brandon Routh, Hugh Jackman, etc) as he is not English, gay, or a singer. He does have some asian/middle eastern ancestry as Mercury did so maybe that's what inspired the choice.
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« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2019, 04:39:20 PM »

One other bonus, particularly for younger people, is that the movie does serve as a really the only cinematic version of Live Aid.  The movie gets most of the notes right, is not a hard R, and seemed to be perfectly timed in terms of the cultural zeitgeist.

And - unlike the Elton John biopic ROCKETMAN - it's not a pure money grab.  Freddie's been dead for decades.  Brian May and Queen certainly don't need any money (all the more so because they're touring again with Adam Lambert, a perfect fit).  AIDS all but cured.

In other words, the movie was made for good(ish) reasons, had a great cast and lots of music, and did not pander.

No wonder it grossed almost $900 million.

As a side note, director Dexter Fletcher's best friend was Alan Rickman.

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