“Rocketman” stars Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, and Bryce Dallas Howard. Released on May 31, 2019, the film chronicles the life of Elton John.
The film is directed by Dexter Fletcher, who also directed “Wild Bill”, “Sunshine on Leith”, and “Eddie the Eagle”. He’s also known for completing “Bohemian Rhapsody” for Bryan Singer. We explored the lives of N.W.A. We took a behind-the-scenes look at the lead singer from Queen. We even examined the crazy world of Mötley Crüe. Now it’s time for us to take a peek at the musical career of another legendary musician, Elton John. Elton John has been through a lot during his career. He sang several successful songs that we know and love, he performed in concerts while playing dress up. Heck, he even wrote the songs for the Disney classic, “The Lion King”, with Tim Rice. However, this film shows that there’s more to John’s life than just his songs. Since he’s retiring in the near future, it would make sense that I experience his musical career on the big screen myself. There were plenty of expectations that the film had to meet in order to keep Elton John’s legacy alive, such as the representation of John’s personal life and Taron Egerton’s role as the musician himself. Thankfully, it was able to pull it off thanks to its strong word-of-mouth and its rave reviews. Now that I got the chance to watch it for myself, was it able to meet my own expectations?
Told in traditional music biopic fashion, the film depicts the early days of Reginald Dwight (Egerton), aka Elton John, as he faces several obstacles during his rise to fame, such as his childhood, his homosexuality, and the worst of them all, drug abuse. You know, stuff that you would normally see in the other recent music biopics. What makes this familiar narrative unique is the musical element. It plays off like any other biopic, but it included several dream-like musical numbers that are reminiscent of a Broadway musical…or a Disney musical, whichever floats your boat. It’s the film’s blend of fantasy and drama that depicts Elton John’s rise to superstardom in its own compelling and special way, and I got to say, it’s the type of blend that I couldn’t get enough of. It does have a few familiar tropes that we’ve seen before, but when it comes to something like this, it all depends on how well the story is told, and Dexter Fletcher knew how to envision a remarkable and thought-provoking story. Filled with energetic musical numbers and a healthy amount of drama, the film is an honest and emotional representation of acceptance in the midst of fame and fortune. The main star of the attraction is, unsurprisingly, Taron Egerton, who delivered the best performance of his career as Elton John. Everything about his acting was nothing but phenomenal, such as his mannerisms and his singing. Better watch your back, Rami Malek, because Egerton is coming to steal your spotlight pretty soon. The other actors also did a really good job with their performances, including Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin and Bryce Dallas Howard as Sheila, Elton John’s cold-hearted mother. The musical numbers were also the best parts of the film in terms of the choreography, the set pieces, and Fletcher’s enthusiastic style. They do feel a bit out-of-place at times when it comes to the tone, but they surprisingly work well as storytelling tools. The music served as a way to make things more upbeat and light-hearted for its audience, but the film wasn’t afraid to also explore some of John's personal issues, like his childhood and his homosexuality, and how they affected his ability to appreciate himself. If you’re concerned that it’s going to be depressing as heck, don’t worry. It offered the right amount of emotion in certain scenes without going down that route.
Overall, “Rocketman” is not only a respectable and honest tribute to Elton John, but it’s also an energetic and heartfelt musical that hits all of the right notes and all of the right feels. A genuine love letter to those who are struggling to love themselves for who they are, both inside and out. Ranging from Egerton’s brilliant performance to Fletcher’s riveting direction, the film successfully soars to the top and plays its heart out. I would highly recommend this one to the fans of Elton John’s music as well as the people who are unfamiliar with the musician.