Entertainment » Movies

Rocketman

by Tony Pinizzotto
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Aug 6, 2019
'Rocketman'
'Rocketman'  

Available digitally today is Paramount's mystical re-telling of the rise and fall-to-earth life story of Pop Music Icon Elton John, "Rocketman."

"Rocketman" is expectedly filled to the brim with some of John's biggest hits (and a few tiny lesser known ones too) in a cinematic journey encompassing nearly a good 40 years of Elton's life leading to his present-day sobriety. From his discovery of the piano at age 5 to adolescence to young adulthood, and then as a fully realized adult rock star, "Rocketman" takes its fans on Elton's out-of-this-world journey.

One of the most endearing things about this film is the convention of its presentation. Crafted like a Broadway musical (or a classic MGM Musical) "Rocketman" does what every good musical should: allows its story to dictate the musical blueprint of the film using John's songs in this musical fairytale feeling film. So many Jukebox musicals of the day (Broadway or otherwise) do the opposite. The songs seem a bit less-jammed into the film... a bit, but still a little tight.

Crafted like a Broadway musical (or a classic MGM Musical) "Rocketman" does what every good musical should: allows its story to dictate the musical blueprint of the film using John's songs in this musical fairytale feeling film.

"Rocketman's" director Dexter Fletcher and Screenplay Writer Lee Hall should be thanked for an attempt at not patterning this film as a typical bio-pic telling of a rock star's rise to fame, and then fall from grace. (We see it a million times). Although I was a bit jostled that the songs were not used chronologically in the re-telling. Although I understand that the creators are taking liberties to enhance the story, it is still a bit jarring. As with any movie musical liberties in the story-telling are taken for entertainment sake.

Actor Taron Egerton (The Kingsman) takes on the daunting role of playing John in the main adult-themed portion of the film. While Egerton's performance is decent, I don't feel it's anything to sing about. Acting standouts outside of Egerton actually fall to Jamie Bell as John's Lyricist Bernie Taupin. Film fans may fondly remember Bell as the young dancing prodigy in the film "Billy Elliot." Bell's performance as Elton's #2 man, outshines Egerton's performance. I am also captivated by actors Tate Donovan who plays Troubadour man Doug Weston, and Gemma Jones ("Bridget Jones's Diary," "Harry Potter") as John's Grandmother. Also, I wanted to see even more of the actors playing young Elton.

All that being said "Rocketman" still fuels its engines with the typical bio-pic characters (one-sided agent villains, dismissive family members, cheating lovers, et. al.), and starts with John in group therapy. It doesn't allow its viewer to invest in the positive side of its main character. This film will have no option than to be compared with last year's rock story mega-hit "Bohemian Rhapsody" which I think "Rocketman" is more palpable because it allows its style to make it obvious it's taking those liberties, instead of trying to hide it as the Queen film does. However, its production numbers seem to be missing as much follow through as movie Musical hit "La La Land." "Rocketman" is a summer-time entertaining film, if one doesn't expect to be completely shot over the moon with it.

Rocketman

Young Reginald Dwight changes his name to Elton John and collaborates with singer-songwriter Bernie Taupin to become one of the most iconic figures in pop history. Set to his most beloved songs, it's the epic musical story of Elton John, his breakthrough years in the 1970s and his fantastical transformation from shy piano prodigy to international superstar.

Info

Runtime :: 121 mins
Release Date :: May 31, 2019
Language :: Silent
Country :: United Kingdom

Cast

Elton John :: Taron Egerton
Bernie Taupin :: Jamie Bell
John Reid :: Richard Madden
Ivy :: Gemma Jones
Sheila :: Bryce Howard
Stanley :: Steven Mackintosh
Dick James :: Stephen Graham
Doug Weston :: Tate Donovan
Ray Williams :: Charlie Rowe
Young Reggie :: Matthew Illesley
Older Reggie :: Kit Connor
Fred :: Tom Bennett

Crew

Director :: Dexter Fletcher
Screenwriter :: Lee Hall
Producer :: Matthew Vaughn
Producer :: David Furnish
Producer :: Adam Bohling
Producer :: David Reid
Executive Producer :: Elton John
Executive Producer :: Steve Shaw
Executive Producer :: Michael Gracey
Executive Producer :: Claudia Vaughn
Executive Producer :: Brian Oliver
Cinematographer :: George Richmond
Film Editor :: Chris Dickens
Original Music :: Matthew Margeson
Production Design :: Marcus Rowland
Art Director :: Steve Carter
Set Decoration :: Judy Farr
Costume Designer :: Julian Day
Casting :: Reg Poerscout-Edgerton


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