Enjoyable song-and-dance movie biopic which plays fast and loose with reality
- Rocketman review by PV
I enjoyed this, but not as much as Bohemian Rhapsody, perhaps because I am more of a Queen fan and have never really been a massive Elton John fan (despite going to a concert on his final tour this very week!).
Both movies are 'based on a true fantasy' and play fast and loose with the truth and timeline - songs written in the 80s feature in the 70s etc (such as I'm Still Standing which is 1983!). Also, I always heard Elton got his surname from Long John Baldry in whose band he played - that is all left out here. As are friendships with Freddie Mercury, George Michael and Princess Diana. It's all 1970s-focused and set, even if the timeline for a lot is the 80s. It's still the 70s in its heart!
I have read am interview with one of Elton's half-brothers (who lives an alternative lifestyle making tee-pees in north Wales) which states the negative portrayal of their father is wrong and inaccurate - and I am sure it is. Drama needs baddies to overcome. I know Elton was estranged from his mum was 15 years until shortly before her death in 2017 because she gave an interview he disapproved of - and Elton's been sober 28 years, it says at the end. SO Elton seems hardly angelic himself in his petty ruthless behaviour and would seem to still have a god complex of some sort.
I found the therapy-like emphasis that a lack of hugs from daddy messed up little Reggie Dwight's head tiresome - as if that matters! Until very recently, dads did not hug their kids. Does that make them all monsters? Arguably, kids were LESS messed up in the past when dads did not hug them every day and when most kids had 2 parents at home, a mum and a dad. Discuss...
As in most movies which show alcohol and drug abuse (eg Wolf of Wall Street) the abuser looks the picture of heath - no days in bed with DTs and cold sweats. Watch The Lost Weekend to see that, or Leaving Las Vegas. Vodka for breakfast is not sustainable!
The gay sex scenes are so mild too - even THAT'LL BE THE DAY the classic rock n roll movie from the early 70s with David Essex showed more explicit scenes. No idea what the fuss is about!
This is really a song and dance movie, (music arranged by George Martin's son), a fluffy musical at heart. BUT a great performance by Welsh actor Taron Egerton which should win him an Oscar but probably won't because he's not black or visibly ethnic - or female. Ho hum...
Good to watch if you're in the right mood, and designed to have mass appeal - a sort of white 1970s Bollywood movie in places (and an Indian dance routine is even there at a fairground scene set in the early 60s. Yeah, right...)
Worth watching just to Taron Egerton's brilliant performance and the music. 4 stars.
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