Musical biographies, an ability to take a peek in the lives of the stars many idolize from the music and screens. In hopes of getting their music and the drama, these films require trying to find a balance that will please many who flock out to see the great wonder. While usually they take one side over the other, you’ll find that rare treasure that finds the balance. Today I finish my weekly reviews with the epic film that has been built up for the last several months. Legendary Elton John and company have put out a film to try to capture the legendary rock icon on his journey to greatness. What’s the verdict? Robbie K here to review:
Movie: Rocketman (2019)
Lee Hall (screenplay)
- Make Up
- Setting/Special Effects
- Musical Numbers
- The Emotional Lessons/Moments
- Slow At Times
- Not Quite As Censored
- Movie Dramatic Moments Over Concert Approach
- Real Vs. Exaggerated
- Not The Same Music Impact for me
To recreate a living legend you have to hire the right person and Taron Egerton killed it with the recreation of Sir Elton John. The mannerisms, the look, and the showmanship are all captured brilliantly in his performance, playing the tormented soul that is the Rocketman. While the rest of the cast supports and plays their parts well, it is the focus on Egerton that draws everything into the movie. His vocal performance shows off his wide range of skills and he rounds out the full role with his talent. Hollywood brings the full arsenal of creation into the film, doing wonderful work on the make up as Elton ages, with not only facial changes but hair line. The recreation of his costumes mirror the performers quite well in terms of detail in all the spectacle that they were. Going along so well is an impressive set design and shooting locations that drop us back in time and places that he made famous. It’s these special effects that help bring you into the full moment of the movie as well as increasing the spectacle of the numbers. Rocketman’s musical numbers go on the trend of utilizing the song and dance routine typical of a musical and cueing them to potentially hint at the points/events of their creation. If you love those moments from High School Musical and show tunes of the theaters, then the numbers should get you real good, with similar techniques inspiring and highlighting some of his eccentric works. It’s a different style compared to Bohemian, but the traditional route should get lovers of the genre smiling and potentially singing in glee. And to top it all off, this movie really hits one in the heart, as you learn about Elton’s demons and the lessons he had to learn along the way. The ending in particular gave me goosebumps, and really puts a perspective on someone I never even remotely knew compared to all his numbers.
Yet, the thing about Rocketman is the approach they chose did not quite have the spunk and energy of Bohemian Rhapsody’s melody. The pace is slow at times, drawing on the drama to fill the gaps rather than the comedy/energy of the numbers. For those who love the deep dive into the darker aspects of life, you’ve got it in this film, though I could have done more for the censorship myself, especially if it could have led to more concert and musical numbers. In addition, the analysis of overdramatic vs. real is always a question, especially given how the drama moments take a firm grasp on this movie. I myself like more of the musical spectacle and seeing that creative process, rather than getting downtrodden at the demons that plague us all. And while I appreciate these moments quite well, and attempt to learn from this, I missed the full-blown musical edge that I’ve gotten in some other films, especially because those numbers were not interrupted like in this film. As such, the numbers did not affect me as much as those in Bohemian Rhapsody, despite the mental moments they addressed.
Overall, Rocketman is a beautiful movie, focusing on the artistic side of things vs the full-blown concert relieving. Utilizing the pain and struggles of the artist, the movie is grounded in the plot of discovery, recovery, and all out creation from the motivations life throws at us. The special effects and showmanship will have musical numbers and John fans amazed, watching the recreation of the wonders unfold in modern day dynamics. As much as these moments moved me though, the movie is by far for those with a passion for the drama vs the music itself. Therefore, this movie is definitely a theater visit, but don’t go in expecting a repeat of Bohemian in terms of straight up musical grandiosity, they may not quite enjoy this as much, especially when the numbers are interrupted. Still a fine musical biography to say the least and worth it for those who like Jersey Boys, Get Up Off That Thing, and musical numbers from theater.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0