Review: Rocketman

Quite unlike Taron Egerton’s gravity-defying portrayal of the legendary Elton John seen above, I’m not flying very high at the moment. Not to get too far off track from what I generally do here in my reviews, I just wanted to take a second to note that I’m currently in the midst of “taking it easy” after surgery yesterday to hopefully clear me of testicular cancer. Things moved rather quickly since finding out Monday morning, and I’m very thankful to say that I had great doctors who cared enough to push me through seeing several specialists and surgery all within just three days. I hope to make a quick recovery too because my wife and I have a trip to Iceland planned which begins next week, and we have a lot of hiking and exploring on the agenda! So I’m doing a good amount of resting for the next few days… (and from here on out it’s strictly business!)
But I was also able to make it to the theatre in-between doctor’s visits on Tuesday to see Dexter Fletcher’s newest film, Rocketman. Fletcher also teamed up with Egerton in 2015’s Eddie the Eagle, and he was one of several to help produce last year’s Oscar-winner Bohemian Rhapsody. This movie is shot as a musical which came as a surprise to me, for as excited as I was to go see it (happens occasionally when one is battling cancer, right?), but I think that everything was pulled together nicely to give us a solid film. Egerton (also known for his role in Kingsman) is as good if not better than Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury, and the fact that he sang Elton John’s music throughout the movie AND was given the stamp of approval by Elton himself leads me to believe that his acting here is quite the achievement. He really is phenomenal and his look and sound are so eerily similar that at times I almost forgot I wasn’t watching a documentary. There is a fair amount of language, drug use, and some sexual content, but I would recommend that this movie is one everyone should find time to see.
The plot of the movie follows Elton’s life from a young age through his stint in rehab, and is told mostly in retrospect during a rehab group meeting. This plot device provided several welcomed breaks in the story to flash forward and see how various hardships in his life played their role in him eventually becoming who he was heading into rehab. In real life, Elton John has been sober for the last 28 years, now happily married with two kids and is currently working his way through a 3-year retirement tour around the world which will wrap up in 2021. He did have quite an amazing music career though, starting in 1962 with his band Bluesology, then progressing to his first album in 1969 and his final album released in 2016. He has had nine hits reach Billboard’s #1, and almost fifty more reach top-40 (or higher) on the charts. His music used throughout the film was not chosen to reflect the time of release but they instead paired the feelings and lyrics of a song with what he was going through and feeling at that time, which was a nice departure from typical biopics. Egerton described the movie as a “fantasy musical,” and between the spectacle and the glow that were given his performances I would have to agree with that genre title.
There’s not much more to say about this movie other than it gives you plenty of time to sing along if you are familiar with the beats. Before filming, Elton reportedly told Egerton not to sing his music exactly the same way as he did, but to perform the songs in a way that embodies the spirit of the music. So even if you sing off-key or can’t follow a rhythm to save your life, if you know the lyrics I encourage you to find a showing nearby and just go sing your heart out during this one…just be prepared for some backlash from others in the theatre if you actually take me up on the suggestion. Thanks for reading another Red Beard Movie Review, and again you can find me on Facebook @redbeardmoviereviews if you want to like the page and stay notified of new posts or follow me here on WordPress if you also have a blogging account. I will attempt to continue my reviews during recovery since I aim to go see Toy Story 4 before we leave and already have another streaming review outlined and planned for too, but cut me some slack if I end up falling behind schedule 😉 Cheers!

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