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“Bohemian Rhapsody” Storms the Box Office (Movie Review)
November 5, 2018
Queen’s legacy lives on as the new biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” hits theaters November 2, 2018. The film was directed by Bryan Singer and stars “Mr.Robot’s” Rami Malek as the enigmatic young Freddie Mercury on his, and the band’s, journey to become some of the biggest rock legends in history.
The film defied expectations in the box office, debuting with an estimated $50 million in weekend ticket sales and an additional $72.5 million internationally, despite mediocre critic reviews.
Just saw #BohemianRhapsody And no matter what the critics say I loved the movie and I would gladly pay to see it again great and beautiful ending for me. Had tears rolling down my face
— Deandalf the Grey 🧙🏻♂️ (@deanpc118) November 4, 2018
The film begins with an introduction to Queen’s renowned 1985 Live Aid performance, and subsequently ends with an extended, passionate reenactment of that same sequence. It purposely avoids the last few years of Mercury’s life, a decision which I think was in the best taste of everyone involved, considering the suffering Mercury endured in those years due to his AIDS diagnosis and the accompanying heart wrenching nature of his death.
In correspondence with the film, various artists have been employed to do covers of some of Queen’s most famous songs. Some of the artist’s featured in this endeavor include 5 Seconds of Summer’s rendition of “Killer Queen”, Shawn Mendes’ “Under Pressure”, as well as Troye Sivan’s “Somebody to Love” and others. Along with these various singles, the film also has its own original soundtrack, featuring all of the songs used in the film as well as remastered versions of old Queen hits.
“As someone who’s been listening to Queen since they were very little, I have a lot of expectations when it comes to covers and remakes of such iconic songs. With that being said, I do think these covers were maybe set up to fail a little because you go into it expecting so much and inevitably it’s not going to meet that standard. I do think it’s commendable taking up that task though, seeing as they would know that it is such a risk and at the end of the day it is a tribute and that means a lot in itself,” said Madison Rooth (’19).
Malek’s performance was by far the most noteworthy, startling aspect of the film. He takes on the incredibly difficult task of encompassing a personality as charismatic as that of Freddie Mercury, and he does it with a grace I don’t believe anyone else could have brought to the table. The amount of research he put into the role and his subsequent understanding of who Mercury was as a person shines through his performance, especially as Mercury must learn to come to terms with his sexuality in relation to his stardom in a time as delicate as the 1970s.
“Personally, I’m very worried about going to see the movie simply because I’m afraid they aren’t going to do, not only the whole story but Freddie himself, justice. I think those are some incredibly large shoes to fill and live up to because of how much of an impact Freddie Mercury has had on both the culture of music and on people’s personal lives,” says Sydney Lowman (’19).
The film itself offers fans of the band a fun-filled time through the various performances of some of Queen’s most iconic songs such as “Somebody to Love”, “We Will Rock You”, and of course the band’s staple “Bohemian Rhapsody.” However, as fun as it may have been, it came nowhere near to what it could have been and to what my expectations were going into the film. I think it left something wanting at the end of the movie, though living up to a presence as grand as Queen’s is an expectedly hard task to accomplish. The film may have been better off addressing certain issues in a different way, such as Mercury’s sexuality and the struggles he contended with in regards to it. The way in which they chose to portray this aspect of his life came off choppy and a bit watered down considering the significant role it played in who Mercury was as a person. However, the film still offers a relatively fulfilling experience nonetheless.
“I was very unsure on how they would handle the other three members of the band. When you think of Queen, you think of Freddie and I’m happy the movie showed how they needed each other. Queen isn’t queen without Freddie, and as you saw with his solo career, Freddie isn’t Freddie without Queen,” says Reagan Finch (’20).
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