It always seems to happen that when we get one film in a certain style we get a few in a very short space of time and that is kinda how it feels with Rocketman coming out this year after Bohemian Rhapsody this year. Both about legends in the music world, Sir Elton John and then Queen led by Freddie Mercury.
Both were around at the same time and started not too far off each other in the crazy 60s music world in the UK. Freddie Mercury (1969-1991 his death) and Elton John (1962-present) both gay men who could not fully be themselves, but on stage the personas they could create were a release. That is certainly something that is put into both films.
It was always going to be tough for Rocketman being the second film that was released as we are always going to look for comparisons. However, they were done in slightly different formats and that is something that I really love about both films. Rocketman was more daring and took on the dark moments in a much better manner. Bohemian Rhapsody was more of a celebration of Mercury and therefore left out his really dark moments and tougher times. They didn’t even want to fully embrace him as a gay man, which was rather disappointing but something Rocketman did not shy away from.
The rise to stardom was similar for both men really, I think this is something I have noticed seeing different musicals over the years as well about the 60s music scene and how you had to have something a little bit special when it came to writing your own songs as well. Elton John did the music and Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics, this wasn’t something that was easy in terms of getting a record deal and showed the hard work they had to put. The same for Mercury and Queen, they had to work hard writing songs and paying for studio time to have something to play. Doing gigs in small bars across the country.
Well I guess this is a short thing to talk about as Rami Malek did not do any singing and lip synced to the real Freddie for his role. Which I guess makes it absolutely crazy that he won an Oscar for those efforts as it was at least half of the film. Taron Egerton re-recorded the songs of Elton John and was never actually trying to become him, but a version of him which I think has earned him a lot more respect for his performance.
This had to be a big focus for both films. It seriously had to be you cannot deny that both men are homosexual and this was something that they could not be open about in the limelight, at the time. Now it is something Elton John has been an incredible role model for. In Rocketman it was actually amusing how much fuss was going on over the gay love scene, which was not anywhere near as graphic as was first made it. It was a key moment in the film as it showed acceptance from Elton. Bohemian Rhapsody had a truly embarrassing scene as Freddie eventually admitted to himself that he preferred men whilst in America making eye contact with a man going into a bathroom at a service station and looking at the “Men” sign on the door.
Both films are good I feel I need to state that first and were done in slightly different ways within the music biopic genre which has been taken in many different directions over the years. I am really hoping that someone will do something for Marc Bolan/T.Rex as I am such a huge fan, the stage show was amazing so it would be brilliant to see a film dedicated to him. Another from this similar era as well, so why not keep going with these types of films? As we have found out that they do work very well. Something of a memory for older audiences and also a fantastic method of introducing younger audiences to the music that stands the test of time and is so iconic to this very day.
Bohemian Rhapsody built everything up towards the Live Aid performance which they really did manage to recreate in spectacular fashion. Which must have been a truly tough thing to film, something which was done in a very good way. Don’t get me wrong with this post, I did like this film as I am a big Queen fan so getting a little bit of background on how some of the songs came about was very good.
Rocketman took a more musical approach in terms of breaking out into songs at different times, but in the correct order for release so ensuring that it was all linked together nicely. I could easily see this being closely adapted as a stage show and it would be very successful that is for sure. I then became addicted to the soundtrack for the film as well, which was certainly an added bonus. So this is the winner for me!
Which film did you like better and why?