Early morning, Fam…
“Tell you what it is, Mr. Reid. Now we're four misfits who don't belong together, we're playing for other misfits. They're the outcasts right at the back of the room. We're pretty sure they don't belong either. We belong to them.” - Freddie Mercury’s (Rami Malek) answer when asked what makes Queen so special.
So, I was nervous going into Bohemian Rhapsody not because I thought it’d suck, it’d be good at best watching the trailers and paying attention while it was being made, but because of the PG-13 rating, which the remaining band who were involved in the production wanted for the fam-friendly demo.
Not that PG-13 movies suck, there’re a buttload of movies with the rating (Gremlins being a classic and the first rated). It’s just that when you tackle a true-life, biographical piece, unless everything was moonlight and roses, the darker side’s going to have to be shown to be accurate. People know…especially when a group like Queen and frontman Freddie Mercury’re being covered.
Covering 15 years of his life (’70-’85), we cover his tumultuous relationship between Freddie and his old man, who wanted Freddie to be more than a singer, his impromptu audition with Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and as Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), who were in a band called Smile and who’d be Queen’s lead guitarist and drummer respectively with bassist John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello). We also see his initial fight with his sexuality with his relationship with Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) until he couldn’t fight, who he really was. They’d remain life-long friends to the point no man could top her. Yes, they cover his AIDS diagnosis and his internal feelings.
Malek must’ve gotten possessed by Mercury’s spirit, because, aside from his baggy eyes, I would’ve thought he come back from the dead. Joey didn’t necessarily see the baggy eye thing, so that might just be a nitpicky detail I saw. I just couldn’t miss his eyes. Not leaving anybody out, the rest of the cast was spot on from photos after the movie and from my own research. Look for an unrecognizable Mike Myers as EMI executive Ray Foster, the band’s first label. He gives a nod to his movie Wayne’s World when talking about “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Speaking of “Bohemian,” Freddie said there was a real meaning behind the track, at least in the movie, but Joey and I think he was actually singing about his sexuality.
Malek sang some while various bits of Queen vocals as well as fillers from Marc Martel, a winner of the Queen Extravaganza Live Tour auditions. (Wikipedia)
Now, don’t get me wrong, it was awesome hear the Queen tunes, but they really played it safe sticking to well-known tunes as opposed to delving deeper into their catalogue. Sticking to the aforementioned PG-13 rating streamlined the happenings so much so that the movie was really short if the recording seshes and concerts weren’t there. There was one F-bomb dropped. Joey and I agreed the movie’d be pushed past very good to excellent if it’d been allowed to breathe instead being a kicked-up, longer episode of, say, AXS’s Rock Legends.
Given that, I’d still recommend Bohemian Rhapsody, because, as troubled as the production was (director changes mid-filming) the acting, look, and music gave us a little insight into the people that made Queen one of rock’s most pioneering bands.
Be good to each other.