By: Movie Snurb –
Rocketman tells the fantastical journey of the brilliant musician Elton John. It’s a two-hour movie musical not so focused on the life of Elton John, rather it plays more like a celebration of Elton’s music and using his music as a soundtrack to all the formative moments of Elton’s or Reginald’s life. If you were hoping to learn more about Elton and who he was, this isn’t for you. If you want to see a great movie musical about Elton’s formative moments than go buy your ticket now.
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this film being a very liberal take on Elton’s life and instead focusing on his music and creating big vibrant musical numbers. This totally works to the version Dexter Fletcher wanted to tell. Knowing that this film was going to be more fantasy than reality really helped me enjoy the journey of the film, albeit a dark journey. They use Elton’s songs in such a brilliant way to underscore the most important moments in his life. Some songs get giant colorful musical numbers, with lots of extras and coordinated dancing. Some songs get a more somber and soft treatment; side note: the “Your Song” musical number almost made me cry. It’s refreshing to not see how every song was written like most biopics. Though it is always interesting to see how the artist creates their art, I love the ambition and fresh take on the music biopic that Dexter Fletcher did with Rocketman.
The other thing I really loved about his film is Taron Egerton, everything Taron Egerton! He truly embodies Elton John. Though this story isn’t completely accurate to Elton’s life it feels like Taron truly understood the man that Elton was and the pain he endured in his life. The pain and sadness Elton had seemed to be transferred telepathically to Taron’s mind so he could bring it through the screen. We feel Elton’s pain in every drink, every pill, every snort of coke. This performance didn’t need to be this good. Especially when Taron can sing, that’s more than some other actors do when they portray a famous musician. However, on top of his singing ability his acting is brilliant. If Rami Malek can win an Oscar for lip syncing for 2 hours than Taron should be given every award this award season. Yes, that’s a dig on Rami and not a dig at Taron, Taron is that good in this film.
Not only is Taron great, but Jamie Bell as Bernie is great, maybe a little underutilized. but again they’re not making a traditional biopic here. Richard Madden as John Reid is infuriating and horrible; it appears the real John Reid wasn’t as horrible but he wasn’t great to Elton. Either way Madden really does a great job of getting the audience on Elton’s side. The last performance I loved was Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton’s mother. Another maddening character, she also feels all too real even if we never knew Elton’s real mother. She’s terrible but Bryce is great, she needs to do more things like this rather than Jurassic World.
I was struggling to decide whether or not I wanted to give this film a second beer or not. However, my only complaint about this film is we didn’t get to learn more about Elton; however, since I loved the fact that they tried to do something completely original with a biopic I can’t have my cake and eat it too. So, I’m giving this film A Toast, it’s filled with great music performed by a brilliant actor and other performers, and the film flies. It’s 2 hours but feels like it’s an hour. If you love Elton John go see this film.
Rocketman (2019) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time Elton indulges in a vice.
Do a Shot: every time Elton gets his heart broken.
Take a Drink: for every great musical number.
Chug a Beer: because they don’t play “Daniel” in this film except for a brief moment which sucks because it’s my favorite Elton song. But whatever, I won’t hold it against Dexter.