Here at Cinema Soapbox, we strive to make our movie reviews consistent, consistently good, and for them to be applicable to our readers. Every movie review will have the same five questions answered.
This week in Movie Review Theater, we will be answering your questions on Bohemian Rhapsody.
Did you make it until the end of the movie? For all of the many, many, MANY flaws surrounding this movie, there is music by Queen in this movie and that was ultimately enough to stay. There were several times that this movie was difficult to watch, but that quickly gave way to one of the several great songs in the Queen library that started up. The surviving members of Queen had a big hand in making this movie, so the music was always going to be great.
Unfortunately, the surviving members of Queen had a big hand in making this movie, so it was severely lacking as an actual movie. The studio has done a great job of selling an image of Rami Malek having a resemblance to famed Queen front-man, and all around rock legend Freddie Mercury. Pair that image with the music and this should be a home-run……right? Possibly, but you needed the script and the performance to be strong, and Mr. Robot shit the bed completely. More on him in a minute.
Would you be embarrassed to see this with your mom? I didn’t see this with my mom, although she has good taste in movies, so I’m sure she wouldn’t have liked it either, but I did see this with the biggest Queen fan that I know and he felt the same way. Music was good, Rami Malek wasn’t, and overall it was a 2 hour montage sequence.
What drink would pair best with this movie? Can you make a drink with cocaine?
If you replaced the main actor with one of his/her contemporaries, would it be better or worse? This was the first thing that we talked about while exiting the theater. This movie was originally cast with a much more realistic script, and the much more realistic Sasha Baron Cohen, and he is on record as saying the band thought the story was about Queen the band carrying on after Freddie died. Nobody wants to see that movie outside of Brian May. The Sasha Baron Cohen version of this with Freddie’s insanely extravagant lifestyle and the darker version of his life/talent is the Queen movie I want to see. If you liked this movie, it was probably because of the music, which is understandable, but ask yourself the following question.
How do you make a movie about a homosexual rock icon who hosted legendary parties with drugs and sex, but was very tortured and struggled most of his life with addiction and identity, but make it PG-13?
You do that by casting the safe choice in Rami Malek and make him look like Freddie as much as possible and don’t include anything other than images of him and Queen music in any of the trailers. Rami Malek was doing more of a Dr. Frank-N-Furter impression than he was doing Freddie Mercury. Malek may very well end up being an actor who gives a performance worthy of an Oscar nomination one day, but this is not that performance. His speaking voice wasn’t the same and he never sang a note in the important parts of the movie…which is to say 98% of it. He did do a good job of doing a physical impression of Mercury over the actual music though, and to be fair was anyone going to look like Freddie Mercury and nail his voice? They weren’t and Malek didn’t either. Not even close, but the movie itself is more than just a bad performance from Rami Malek.
It lacks a central plot and fails in every single category that isn’t “Queen songs are awesome”. It’s campy and pushed too hard to include the rest of the band. When you have Freddie Mercury and the deep, deep well of stories surrounding him, nobody gives a shit that the bass player had a cool song too and we certainly do not need to spend 20 minutes with it. There is a moment in the movie where there is legit conflict between Freddie and the band and it’s immediately diffused by the bass line from Another One Bites the Dust. Give me that conflict! Give me the tortured genius! Give me an actual plot!! The movie fumbles it’s way around including the band, but made Freddie Mercury seem like he reached the level he did with flamboyant confidence. Freddie Mercury was a world class musician with 4 octave range and could play multiple instruments with ease. He didn’t stumble into anything, he is a rock ICON (!!!) !!!
If you see this movie on cable 3 months from now, do you stop to watch it? This was the hardest question for me to answer because Queen has an incredible library of amazing music and that is really the only central theme to this movie. I really like Queen music, so that will suck me in when it is on cable. This movie also has Littlefinger himself, Mr. Aidan Gillen, playing a key part of the movie and I cannot wait to be at home so I can yell “EAT SHIT LITTLEFINGER!!” when he gets kicked out of a car. Also, am I the first to make a “Littlefinger is trying to get Queen to the Iron Throne” joke? The second? The tenth? I may watch this movie 10 more times, but what is more likely to happen is the same thing that happened the first time I saw it. I was disappointed and immediately went home and watched the entire 25 minute Live Aid performance on YouTube.
Overall rating: 4 out of 10 stars
Stephen Balding is the founder of Cinema Soapbox. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org