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kenmorefield

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

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There was probably a moment during Bohemian Rhapsody where I wasn't consciously thinking that I would rather be watching Queen Rock Montreal,  or Love & Mercy, or An Open Secret, or X-Men 2, more or less in that order. I don't remember that moment specifically, but the movie was 134 minutes long...

According to this article, Singer was fired from the film, and IMDB lists Dexter Fletcher as uncredited co-director. I guess that explains why the FYC DVD only mentions Rami Malek, although the back does say "For Your Consideration in All Categories." 

It wasn't horrible or anything, it just wasn't any good. There was no particular focus and the scenes drifted into one another without any sense of building toward anything other than a character giving exposition of the scene we just watched. 

 

 

 

 

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Love and Mercy is the obvious point of comparison to which I kept returning — and which I kept wishing I was watching. 

Another musical biopic about the inspired visionary in a pop band and the recording of their most artistically ambitious album, with subplots about the controlling, Svengali-like figure under whose sway the visionary falls until he is liberated by the intervention of the woman who loves him. 

But Love and Mercy was itself inspired and visionary, where Bohemian Rhapsody was dull, rote, and by the numbers. 

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10 hours ago, SDG said:

Another musical biopic about the inspired visionary in a pop band and the recording of their most artistically ambitious album, with subplots about the controlling, Svengali-like figure under whose sway the visionary falls until he is liberated by the intervention of the woman who loves him. 

Or "the person who loves him," to include Freddie Mercury in this, and for inclusivity's sake.

Maybe it was a case of lowered expectations, but I enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody.  The plot was formulaic, and much of the dialogue rote, but the performances were excellent, and the re-creations of song creation and the concerts were contagious.  For these latter reasons, I'll take this over the ABBA musical #2 or another superhero flick (Spiderverse possibly excepted) any day.

One of my acquaintances who has been a lifelong Queen fanatic did say the script took enormous liberties with the band's actual history, and I am baffled by the exaggerated dental prosthesis that Malek used, which seemed disproportionate next to the film images of Mercury over the closing credits.  So there are those difficulties, too...

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19 minutes ago, Andrew said:

Or "the person who loves him," to include Freddie Mercury in this, and for inclusivity's sake.

Well, in Bohemian Rhapsody the one who goes to Mercury's home to rescue him from Paul and provides the impetus to get the band back together, which finally enables Mercury to find Jim Hutton, is Mary Austin, so the parallel is pretty close to Love & Mercy.

I thought the song recreations were pretty fantastic, and whenever the film was basically functioning as an extended music video of Queen's greatest hits, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am a big fan of Queen, so I wonder how much someone would enjoy those parts if they weren't.

However, I thought the narrative portions were pretty bad; the entire presentation of the story was rote and cliched before taking into account the liberties that were outright fictitious. At the same time, that only made up about half of the film, and the other half was thoroughly enjoyable, and the recreation of the Live Aid concert was amazing, so I'd say I liked it more than not.

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This film has been playing *daily* at the local cinema in St Andrews since it released in the UK on October 24. It's even outlasted A Star Is Born. Either the theatre has nothing else to play, or the film is staggeringly popular here, and I think it's the latter. It currently has a grade of 8.3 at IMDB after nearly 150,000 votes. So, my interest-level has increased with the above comments from Andrew and Evan, as well as all the nominations this film seems to be getting. Not that awards nominations mean all that much, but they do mean something, even as a sort of cultural barometer.

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23 minutes ago, Joel Mayward said:

This film has been playing *daily* at the local cinema in St Andrews since it released in the UK on October 24. It's even outlasted A Star Is Born. Either the theatre has nothing else to play, or the film is staggeringly popular here, and I think it's the latter. It currently has a grade of 8.3 at IMDB after nearly 150,000 votes. So, my interest-level has increased with the above comments from Andrew and Evan, as well as all the nominations this film seems to be getting. Not that awards nominations mean all that much, but they do mean something, even as a sort of cultural barometer.

Speaking of cultural barometer, my non-film critic friends absolutely LOVE this. So much that I haven't really wanted to review it and rain on their parades, because if they find the film to be that special, then why bother being the grouch who says, "Actually..."

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Well, I watched it. Great music, obviously, but it made me just want to close my eyes and listen to a Queen album or watch footage of the Live Aid concert.

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12 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:

Well, I watched it. Great music, obviously, but it made me just want to close my eyes and listen to a Queen album or watch footage of the Live Aid concert.

I wasn’t a fan, but I will say a word for it more than this: It didn’t make me want to close my eyes, especially when Rami Malek was onstage. 

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This is currently the 8th-biggest movie of the year worldwide, with $667 million (only 27% of that from North America), in case that gives anyone some indication as to how popular this movie is. It's bigger than Ant-Man and the Wasp, bigger than Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald...

I was intrigued to learn from Wikipedia, after watching the movie, that Freddie Mercury "left the vast majority of his wealth, including his home and recording royalties, to Mary Austin and the remainder to his parents and sister." Jim Hutton, on the other hand -- the lover that Mercury links up with in the film's final act, as part of the film's happy-ish ending -- got only half a million pounds, which is also the same amount of money that Mercury's chef and personal assistant got.

One interesting point of debate around this movie has been the scene in which Mercury tells Austin about his affairs with men. Mercury says he's "bisexual", if memory serves, but Austin immediately trumps that by declaring he is "gay" -- and a number of people have pointed out that the film avoids depicting any of the affairs that Mercury had with women later in his life. It did strike me as odd that the film would show Austin defining Mercury's sexuality instead of allowing Mercury to define it himself, so it's been interesting to hear others take the film to task for similarly pigeon-holing Mercury in a way that he probably wouldn't have wanted to be pigeon-holed himself. (I am curious to see how Rocketman, the upcoming Elton John biopic, will deal with similar themes, since it's my understanding that John used to self-identify as "bisexual" -- which was a big deal at the time -- but has been simply gay for at least a couple decades now.)

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