Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody


Starring: Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, and Ben Hardy
Directed By: Bryan Singer (X-Men, The Usual Suspects)
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 2 hours 15 minutes

          This project is one of those much maligned projects from hell that people end up making movies about.  Considering the film was first announced eight years ago, this is going to be considered a success.  Sasha Baron Cohen was set to originally play the flamboyant Queen front man, Freddie Mercury.  Yes, the guy from Borat was slated to star in this first.

          Ultimately it was delayed countless times, and by the time it was actually time to make the movie, Cohen dropped out citing creative differences.  I think I know what those might have been now that I’ve seen the movie.  You see, Queen guitarist Brian May was VERY involved in the making of this movie.  That has good and bad parts.  Good, you get the group’s blessing on the project which is what the fans want.  Bad, you never really get the scathing negative downward spiral scenes that will inevitably make someone look bad.  So this is very much a sanitized biopic.

          Sure it covers what you want it to.  The formation of Queen, their rise, their fall, their reuniting for the 1985 Live Aid show.  The death of Freddie Mercury.  It has all of that.  But the movie feels like a softball interview.  It covers what is has to cover and never asks any deep questions.  I liken the script to reading the band’s Wikipedia page.  It’s got everything it should, but it never answers why.

          All of that said, Rami Malek is absolutely stupendous as Freddie Mercury.  The look, the teeth, the voice.  All makes it feel like Freddie has come back to life.  It should be noted, sometimes the actual Queen track is used instead of Malek’s singing voice which normally would be tragic, but I think the actual song is what we came here for more than an actor’s interpretation of the song.

          In sports, a lot of the time we ask the question, can someone on a losing team win the MVP award.  The team floundered, losing more than it won, but Player X was really great, and the team might not have won a single game without him or her.  That’s Bohemian Rhapsody.  Can Rami Malek receive award nominations for starring in a movie that’s mediocre at best?  It will be interesting to see if he gets recognized for his stellar work in a less than stellar movie directed by a jack ass.

          Yes, Bryan Singer is credited with directing this movie.  You wouldn’t know that cause he isn’t being advertised as the director.  He directed a lot of the X-Men movies and The Usual Suspects.  You can google his alleged troubles with underage people.  But he was fired from this project after missing three consecutive days of work.  Again, this movie is the type of movie they make movies about.  Producer Dexter Fletcher finished directing Bohemian Rhapsody, but didn’t get credit because he isn’t in the Director’s Guild.  So I’ll give him credit on The Josh Odson Show.  A very similar scale.

          There was also a lot of talk in the summer months that this movie fails to cover Mercury’s sexuality and admit what he died of.  That’s an out and out lie.  The entire second half of the movie is basically Freddie dealing with his sexuality and lifestyle.  Internet rumors fail again.  It’s almost like we shouldn’t trust the internet for our information.  Or should ask the source before running with a story.  Journalism 101, kids.  Just cause you have the internet doesn’t make you a reporter.  Oh you but you have a blog.  Cool.  Doesn’t mean bleep without access.

          I’ve told people who asked me if this movie is good that the more a fan of Queen you are, the less likely you are to enjoy the movie.  There’s a lot of inaccuracies that DO make for a better movie, but it didn’t happen like that.  Some scenes are really cheesy, almost hokey.  It doesn’t always cover the right topics.  But if you want to go to a big theater and jam out to Queen’s Greatest Hits for two hours, yeah, you’ll probably like it.  The movie isn’t bad by any means, but it is certainly not the awards bait it could have been. 

On a scale of "See It/Stream It/Skip It", I'm going to vote Stream It.

If you liked The Greatest Showman, Rock Star, or The Doors you might like Bohemian Rhapsody

3 out of 5 stars, just passable enough.  A lot of people are praising it, despite it’s stereotypical nature.  A lot of people are trashing it.

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