“Bohemian Rhapsody” is a lot of fun for a PG-13 Queen movie.
Since its inception, the biopic focused on Queen frontman Freddie Mercury has been convoluted at best. Early drafts of the film involved Mercury apparently dying in the middle of the movie with Sacha Baron Cohen of “Borat” pinned to play the famous singer. Reports of disagreements between Cohen and the band led to Cohen eventually dropping out of the film and the script going through several major rewrites before coming to fruition. Production of the film didn't fare much better as Director Bryan Singer was fired in the middle of filming for his unruly behavior.
However, once images of the film's star Rami Malek surfaced and people began to hear those signature Queen songs, it seemed like everything might just work out for the Freddie Mercury biopic.
The strength of the film came not from the plot, but from the film’s cast. Rami Malek was an excellent Freddie Mercury. He walked like Freddie, talked like Freddie and, with a little lip syncing and post-production magic, he even sang like Freddie. The rest of Queen was fantastic too. Gwilym Lee was the spitting image of lead guitarist Brian May. Ben Hardy, as drummer Roger Taylor, and Joseph Mazzello, as bass player John Deacon, did excellent jobs as well. The three non-Mercury members of Queen were not given much to work with in terms of script, but it's nice when the people in the movie actually look like the people they are playing in the movie.
As fun as the songs and the band was, the film was still not without its issues. The pacing was off, and the first half of the film essentially played out like a Wikipedia page. Every band member had their opportunity to showcase a song that they wrote, which is great, but it put all of the Freddie stuff on the bench for a good portion of the movie. Once we did get into the nitty-gritty, however, things really started to look up. Things were not all glitter and glamor for Freddie Mercury, and the film did a really strong job of painting the duality of Mercury’s life. He went from fantastic parties filled with people to nights alone at an empty house. It was an aspect of the man you won’t see in music videos, and it is something worth talking about.
A large portion of the controversy surrounding this film focused on the depiction of Mercury’s sexuality, and the film addressed it with varying degrees of success. The film let you know that Mercury is bisexual, but it didn’t do much else. Mercury’s lifestyle was often painted to be judged, and he was constantly encouraged to lead a life of family and normality through comparisons to his straight bandmates. It was disappointing because Freddie Mercury's story should have been one of empowerment, and it didn’t always come across that way in the film.
Overall, the movie is a lot of fun, and is something that can be enjoyed by Queen fans of any age. Plus, the movie finished with the entire Queen set from the famous 1985 Live Aid concert, and I strongly believe that is how every movie, no matter the genre, should end from here on out.
This is the opinion of Cormac Dolezal, a sophomore film and television production major from Woodbury, MN. Tweet comments to @cormacdolezal or email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.