This weekend sees a pair of major film releases, one is the slightly quiet opening of Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, but the other is about a group of characters that couldn't be quiet if they tried. Bohemian Rhapsody brings the story of Freddie Mercury, and to a lesser extent the rest of Queen, to the big screen. We here at CinemaBlend have had a chance to check it out and, while it's a film with some real energy in its musical sequences that would make Queen proud, the rest of the story falls a little flat. Senior Movie Contributor Mike Reyes wrote the official CinemaBlend review where he gave the movie three stars out of five and he says...
Bohemian Rhapsody is a film that has a killer soundtrack and fantastic performances despite the material's shortcomings. But when it comes to evaluating the film as a biopic, it's a film that carries on (carries on), but ultimately doesn't really matter.
The music of Queen was known for its energy as well as it's frequently unusual aspects. The movie itself takes its name from one of the most unique pieces in all of rock music, Bohemian Rhapsody. For a band that was often on the bleeding edge of the industry, the movie itself plays things fairly safe with a pretty standard biopic structure of success, self-destruction, and redemption. Managing director Sean O'Connell felt that while the music made the movie fun enough, and Rami Malek's turn as frontman Freddie Mercury was spot on, it's a surface level retelling of the story.
The music of Queen boosts Bohemian Rhapsody, and makes it an enjoyable theatrical experience. But as a biopic of the experimental rock outfit -- and of the gifted Freddie Mercury -- the movie leaves a little to be desired. Rami Malek may do a mean Freddie impersonation. But the movie neglects to dig into the minds behind the music, and I left learning next to nothing about this special band.
Bohemian Rhapsody is certainly a fast-paced tale. It covers nearly two decades in barely over two hours, which forces the film to speed through pretty much everything that it does. Between showing us the birth of some great rock tunes we also need to watch the band grow and evolve over time. The result of the pacing is that we rarely get to digest one experience before we're on to the next.
But man, that music though. Whether it's watching the birth of "We Will Rock You" or hearing the bass line for "Another One Bites the Dust" for the first time, whenever the music takes center stage there's a fun in Bohemian Rhapsody that you can't ignore. And the Live Aid sequence will likely go down in history as one of the best musical moments in cinema. My own thoughts? Well, quite simply...
I'll say this. No movie has made me want to go home and play Rock Band more in my life.
In the end, Bohemian Rhapsody is a fun movie. The music is great and everything else, while maybe not special, isn't bad, it's just...expected, something we could rarely if ever say about Queen or Freddie Mercury.