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Film + TV

Bohemian Rhapsody: Review. Queen Fans, Don’t Expect Much

Words by Gareth Kurt Warren and Thomas Billinghurst

Bohemian Rhapsody doesn’t do much for avid and well-informed Queen fans. But regular moviegoers have been thrilled

Before we begin – here’s a tune to get you through this.

Despite the media hype and everyone’s obsession with Rami Malek, enjoying the movie will come down to whether you’re a Queen fan or not.

The 20th Century Fox intro featured an electric guitar riff and Mercury-like vocals, which was a good start. However you probably won’t feel that excitement again until the last 15 or 20 minutes of the movie.

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While it claims to be a “foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury,” it ended up being a forgettable movie that really could have been about any 70’s rock band, real or fictional. If it wasn’t for Malek’s performance – the movie would have been ripped to shreds (more so than it already has been) by now.

Bohemian Rhapsody could either have been an epic biopic or a safe, vanilla Hollywood blockbuster to please the masses. The producers decided on the latter.

There are in-depth articles on the authenticity of the movie. One I would touch on is Mercury’s AIDS diagnosis, which he received in 1987. Live Aid took place in 1985. The movie however, for the sake of theatrics, suspense, pathos and story progression decided to play it out otherwise, with Mercury telling his band mates a few days before the concert. Tut tut.

The most important parts in the movie such as Queen’s famous musical experimentation in the studios and the band’s first international tour were reduced to sloppy, happy-smiley montages.

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What does keep the movie afloat is Malek’s performance. It is a scarily accurate depiction of Mercury. Malek worked with a movement coach to capture Mercury’s body language. And you can see his morphing into Mercury being something that captures the attention of a few “O-word” decision makers.

But that’s about it.

There is a silver lining however. A small fraction of the audience could possibly develop an interest in Queen, and leave theatres with the need to discover more.

And with the mindless music being churned out today, the world could use a few more rock fans. A reignition of real, authentic music, if you like. The sort of sound that Queen was fearless in its pursuit of.

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Lastly, for those who don’t mind a half-cocked, mildly entertaining biopic, head out to the theatres this weekend.

For those who want a well-rounded non-Hollywood documentary instead, EDGAR’s recommendation is right here: The Story of Queen: Mercury Rising, which you can watch, gratis, below:

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