Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Allen Leech, Tom Hollander, Mike Myers
Written By: Anthony McCarten
Directed By: Bryan Singer, Dexter Fletcher
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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The movie about Queen was plagued with problems on and off the set and it’s almost a miracle it even got finished. The movie is pretty flawed but it’s also quite entertaining as well. No one can deny that Queen were one of the greatest rock bands in the history of music, that’s for damn sure!
Bohemian Rhapsody celebrates the music of Queen with a sort of biopic, but it’s mostly centered around legendary frontman Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek). We don’t see much in terms of the band member’s personal life before forming the band and the movie skips around a lot to focus on certain parts of the band’s career. While Freddie is getting crazier with his lifestyle, the rest of the band (guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee), drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) and bassist John Deacon (Joe Mazzello)) hold down the fort.
I really enjoyed the movie despite the problems I had with it. Rami Malek was great as Freddie Mercury and if he wins the Academy Award for Best Actor, it will be deserved. The music of Queen is what really makes this movie fun to watch and gets you pumped up. I loved seeing them working on the music in the studio and the concert scenes the most. The Live Aid performance at the end was a fitting ending for a movie trying to be somewhat uplifting and not a downer. Rami’s performance was excellent during that; he had all the mannerisms and stuff down pat. If you watch both the original performance and the movie, they really did an amazing job!
You realize pretty quickly that this movie is going to glance over a lot of things. I would have liked to have seen them focus on the early parts of the band and how it came to be, the real way. It seemed like every scene was just another year of the band. It felt like a highlight reel of decades of music. Plus, they really didn’t focus on other members besides Freddie. Brian May is arguably the best rock and roll guitarist ever but he’s just supporting character. Gwilym Lee did an amazing job as May though, and even looked like him a lot. I know they had to make some compelling story about the band but not sure why they changed things around. Queen didn’t form the way they did in the movie, Freddie Mercury’s partner Jim Hutton wasn’t a waiter, Queen didn’t break up when Freddie started doing solo albums and the band didn’t know Freddie had AIDs until 1989, few years after Live Aid. That’s just the some of the things the movie detoured from real life to make it more dramatic.
The movie celebrates Queen in a positive light, which was probably the biggest complaint from others. People or critics thought that the movie wasn’t dark enough, not gay enough, and other things like that. The later I don’t know what they are talking about since they focused a lot on Freddie’s relationships. I can see the issue with the movie not being dark enough. I’m sure the other band members had some demons, drug use, women and things like that during the band’s career. Since Brian May and Roger Taylor were working on the movie, I bet they didn’t want to focus on that stuff as much as Freddie’s life. It would have been nice to have a balanced focus on other members though.
The Blu-Ray extras include a featurettes on Rami Malek becoming Freddie Mercury, one about Queen and their music, as well as Live Aid stuff as well. It’s just funny how Bryan Singer is the elephant in the room and no one mentions him once. He was fired after all. If you want, you can watch the full Live Aid performance again, kind of wish they had a side by side of it though. They show you how they remade that, building the stage and area around it that it give Brian May and Roger Taylor goosebumps. They filmed a group of extras, and then multiplied them in post wearing different outfits.
Each actor playing a member of Queen either took lessons to play a little or some had dabbled in it before the movie. Ben Hardy who played Roger lied that he played the drums but then had a lot of lessons after getting the role. It certainly helps when the actors play the instruments and don’t look like they are faking it. The costume design was pretty great because they matched a lot of the outfits that they have worn. Plus, they were allowed to use some of the original outfits from the Queen archive so that helped out a lot. There was a lot of little things that made the movie authentic enough, like when they were recording Bohemian Rhapsody, the board levels were actually playing the song. They could have faked it but again, it’s the little things the crew did to make this a good movie.
I think most people who love Queen and music biopics will really like this movie for what it is. It’s to celebrate the life of Freddie Mercury and the band. It’s not entirely accurate and the movie skips around a lot but Rami Malek gives one hell of a performance and it’s one reason to watch the movie. Of course I have many issues like the movie just felt all over the place at times and the inaccuracies weren’t needed when Queen’s career is quite documentated. With that said, Bohemian Rhapsody is an entertaining biopic and I’ll be watching it a bunch in the future I’m sure. Now excuse me, I must listen to some Queen now.
The Complete Live Aid Movie Performance
Rami Malek: Becoming Freddie
The Look and Sound of Queen
Recreating Live Aid
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, French, Spanish
Bottom Line: Really entertaining movie but also a flawed one
Running Time: 134 mins