Firefly Pointer Fiberglass Jacket: Bohemian Rhapsody hits all the right notes

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody hits all the right notes

This review will contain spoilers! Yes contrary to what I thought... there are spoilers! 

 Last night I finally saw the new Queen/Freddie Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" in a movie theater was almost completely full. The energy in the room was much like that of a live concert that was about to start as opposed to a movie screening. The movie opened with Live Aid, which is the bread in the sandwich of this story. It then went back in time to a young Farrokh Bulsara (Freddie's original name) developing his style and aesthetic. It also gave an intimate look into his family life and his dynamic with his parents, especially his father.

 The story continues as newly named Freddie sees the band "Smile" perform; which contained 2 future members of Queen (Brian and Roger). At first the two guys assume Freddie is self-inflating about his ability to sing and brush him off. True to form, Freddie pauses and begins to belt out a song which takes the guys off guard. And like that, we saw the birth and creation of the band Queen. From then on the story takes us through the growth and evolution of the band which included the new band name of "Queen."

 I think it goes without saying that Rami Malek (who played Freddie) was fantastic. I don't think there's anybody else in the world that could have owned that role better. The mark of a great character actor is someone who transforms into their role and even convinces you you're seeing the real thing. Rami Malek absolutely delivered and if he doesn't get nominated for an award I'm going to be annoyed and confused. All the guys cast for the band were basically perfect, especially Gwilym Lee who portrayed Brian May. If I could find a gif of someone throwing academy awards...I would post it here. All the awards for Rami and Bohemian Rhapsody!

Parts I loved

 Probably my favorite part in all honesty was Mike Meyers playing the record executive character and making the comment (I'm paraphrasing here) "Kids will never listen to this song in their cars while they bob their heads" when referring to the song Bohemian Rhapsody. Hilarious coming from Wayne Campbell! Mike Meyers' character tells them the cliche "You'll never work again in this town again" kinda thing and the movie makes sure to close out with him looking like the world's biggest chump. Obviously the music was great, the film was speckled with humor that was natural and genuine (not weird and out of place like with The Last Jedi).  The movie is self-aware and cheeky in it's moments of comedy. 
 I loved all the ripping on Roger's "I'm in love with my car" when they were working on "A Night at the Opera" album. I loved all the sprinklings of Freddie's cats and how they referenced how Freddie would talk to his cats on the phone. The way the movie showed how the band worked together and made music was done very fluidly. It was difficult to not feel goosebumps in many moments of the movie. Also shown in the film was Freddie dealing with racism, being called a "paki" and navigating young life as an immigrant. The Live Aid sequence did a great job of capturing the look and sound of the time. The effects were not tacky or overbearing which only made it feel more real like a live rock concert. I've watched my Live Aid DVD many times and this movie does a wonderful re-creation. 

Where it fell short

 I must mention that one of the things I feel like the movie misrepresented was Freddie Mercury's sexuality. The relationship with Mary seemed mostly accurate from my understanding, but apart from that I saw issues. First of all the movie treats Freddie like his homosexuality was this fleeting, random and impulsive thing. My understanding is that Freddie was straight but flamboyant, and he gradually became aware of his sexuality. He was experimenting with men and eventually came out to the people around him about being gay. 
 Another thing is this movie missed some great opportunities in Queen history. Such as music videos (they made some of the best and most groundbreaking music videos of the 80's like Radio Gaga), other legendary concerts (Wembly with the infamous yellow jacket), the collaboration with Bowie, and other huge moments (The Works Tour which I believe was the real catalyst for doing Live Aid). I realize the creators of the film can't show everything, but I do feel like they skipped some important things and kept in some less pivotal ones. But hey, that is just my opinion. Note: I just realized they did show the "I want to break free" music video. I guess I just wanted to see more. 

 The movie ends with the end of Queen's set at Live Aid and mentions Freddie's death from AIDS in 1991. As the credits roll Queen's music plays throughout as did live Queen footage. I have skimmed through a few reviews but couldn't give any kind of opinion until I saw it myself. Now that I've seen the movie I want to read the reviews so I can compare and contrast on some of the thoughts I had. With all the headlined articles about how the movie portrayed Freddie's sexuality makes me think I still have more to say on this subject. Note: I've realized that I can only really delve into the details after I see it for a second time. So part 2 will have to be put off a bit.

 Put bluntly every Queen fan or rock n roll fan needs to see this movie. I would describe myself as a skeptical and hard to impress person who is very protective of my favorite band...and I'd give this film a 9/10.

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