Beth's Blockbuster Blog - Rocketman
It feels like there's been a revival the genre of musicals based on musicians recently, both on stage and in film. You can walk along the Great White Way and see shows based on Cher, Alanis Morissette, Carole King, The Go-Go's, Donna Summer and even Jimmy Buffet. In the world of film, the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody blew through records last fall and now, we have the Elton John "based on a true fantasy" film Rocketman. And though the genre is being tired out, this one has brought something. fresh and new to the genre.
John worked closely on the production of the film, and writer Lee Hall created a film that feels like John's first hand account of his life, rather than his life through the eyes of others. Plus, by allowing John's own thoughts and emotions in, it translated into some magical dance/performance sequences that captured the emotions he felt during those individual moments, such as the iconic shot from the trailer of himself and the audience floating in mid-air during his first Troubadour performance.
Taron Egerton has begun to show his skills as an actor after showing his ability as an action star in Kingsman: The Secret Service, but this is the first time we truly get to see them on display. The first time John met Egerton on the set of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, John told him that if he were only ten years younger he would definietly go for him as he reminded him of a younger version of himself. And since no one knows John better than John, he definitely was right. Egerton disappears into the role and feel like we're watching the living legend himself on screen reenact his younger years. Plus, not only is Egerton a great singer on his own accord, but training his voice to sound more like the rocket-man himself helps take his performance to another level.
The perfect counter to Egerton's John is Jamie Bell's Bernie. Based on the real life songwriting partner of Elton John, Bell's chemistry with Egerton made the partnership and friendship that much more worthwhile to invest in. He stands on his own while also being the rock to hold down John as he goes crazy. With such an electric character as John next to him, that feels impossible, yet when Bell is on screen, he shines bright in his own way. Even as Bell's role becomes smaller towards the end, he still brings a bright light to the finale.
Choreographer Adam Murray is also to thank for the change in pace with Rocketman. The electrifying dance sequences bring a break to the drama of John's life, allowing for some magic and wonder in the moments of sorrow. Getting to create more fantasy-based group dances really must be Murray's strong suit, because the actors feel like water moving across screen doing crazy dances or even jumping around while trying to save a life.
For anyone who even remotely enjoys Elton John's discography, you'll enjoy this film. It's a nice break from the typical faire we get from biopics while still offering Oscar-worthy performances. You'll leave the theater humming "I'm Still Standing" for sure. So go for a flashy outfit and happy watching!