Saturday, 16 February 2019

Blu-ray Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

Now available to purchase on Blu-ray (as well as 4K Ultra HD and DVD) is the award-winning blockbuster Bohemian Rhapsody (PG-13; 135 minutes), which is a biography of the rock band Queen and their lead singer Freddie Mercury (played by Rami Malek).

Along with Rami Malek, the rest of the cast includes Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Allen Leech, Tom Hollander, and Mike Myers.

Queen is one of the most popular rock bands who had dozens of #1 hits, including We Will Rock You, Another One Bites The Dust, Bohemian Rhapsody, Hammer To Fall, and Radio Ga Ga. The band consisted of vocalist Freddy Mercury, lead guitarist Brian May, bass guitarist John Deacon, and drummer Roger Taylor.

Bohemian Rhapsody mostly centers around Farrokh Bulsara (later known as Freddie Mercury), a young college student who forms a band called Queen with former Smile band members Brian May and Roger Taylor (played by Gwilym Lee and Ben Hardy). Later, they hired John Deacon (played by Joe Mazzello) as the bass guitarist; though this event is never shown in the film.

Basically the film chronicles the band's rise to stardom, their breakup (which never occurred in reality), and lastly their reunion at the 1985 Live Aid at Wembley Stadium.

Blu-ray Special Features:
  • The Complete Live Aid Movie Performance Not Seen in Theaters
  • Rami Malek: Becoming Freddie
  • The Look and Sound of Queen
  • Recreating Live Aid 

Final Thoughts

I'm guessing many people my age were probably introduced to Queen through their parents who were already fans of the rock band. I remember my father listening to cassette tapes of Queen in the the early 90s shortly after Freddy Mercury's death. When I was in my teens, I ended up buying most of the bands albums on compact discs. I believe I might even have a few of the albums on vinyl records.

There's quite a bit of controversy surrounding the Oscar-nominated Bohemian Rhapsody; starting with director Bryan Singer being fired and replaced with Dexter Fletcher for the last few weeks of filming. Despite not finishing the film, Singer still received the directing credit. Plus, there are all the underage sexual assault allegations against the director!

Then there are the many historical inaccuracies in the film, including speeding up Freddie Mercury's HIV diagnoses to before the Live AID performance. The film portrays that the band broke up because Mercury signed on to record a 2-ablums under his own name. Yes, Mercury did record two solo albums, but the band never broke up. Both Brian May and Roger Taylor already released solo albums several years before him. I guess this was changed in the film to add a bit of drama for the band. There are many other changes, but one that really got me scratching my head was changing the release of song "We Will Rock You" from 1977 to the early 1980s. Also, the movie never shows Queen creating the soundtracks for the cult classic films Flash Gordon and Highlander.

After watching Bohemian Rhapsody twice this week, I have mixed feelings about it. Rami Malek gives an incredible performance as Freddie Mecury, and in my opinion the actor does deserve an Oscar! The cinematography is wonderful and the soundtrack is amazing. Sadly, the film's editing is all the over place; hopping from different "big events" throughout the history of Queen. The film feels less of a biography and more like a Wikipedia entry that was filmed to look like a music video. Nevertheless, Bohemian Rhapsody is still entertaining and is worth worth watching just for Malek's performance.

*Note - I received a review copy from the studio.
All opinions are my own.

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