It started off so well…
I’d been looking forward to this movie since the day it was first announced, and kept a positive and open mind during its turbulent journey to the silver screen.
At 10:40 yesterday morning (first day of general release in the UK), I took my seat, ready to watch and figuring that ‘at worst’, I’d get to hear some Queen songs blasted out in cinematic surround sound.
What followed turned a little bit in to (fairly selective parts of) the Freddie Mercury show rather than a biopic of the band. I have to say that I enjoyed the initial formation of Queen parts a lot more than the later parts. It was good to see that Smile got a nod.
In some places, the narrative seemed quite slow, and there was no real insight in to the creation of possibly the ‘maddest’ song on the planet, Bo Rhap, other than a few raised eyebrows. Don’t get me wrong, the song is iconic and an absolute classic, but if you’re going to name the film after the song, I’d have at least expected a bit more content surrounding it, especially with it being at such a pivotal time for the band Queen. Rather than try and tell most of the story, they could have focused on the run up to this song and the immediate aftermath – I certainly would have found that interesting enough.
The film has been praised for its cinematography around Live Aid and I must wholeheartedly agree, it’s visually very impressive.
Nobody turns in a duff performance but I was just left wishing that it had been a more rounded movie about the band. I’m all for a biopic of Freddie, but if you’re going to do that, then you need to explore his character more deeply, actually get deeper in to the AIDS diagnosis, his life after that terrible news and the effect his death had on the band (and how they’ve risen since). Some of the songs were used out of context too (‘Who Wants To Live Forever’, for example, is not Freddie’s swan song for his AIDS diagnosis – it was in fact a Brian May song for the movie Highlander).
At 2 hours 15 minutes, there’s not much more that they could have fit in to the movie, but rather than extending the length, perhaps the 135 minutes could have been better spent. It’s entertaining and a pleasant enough movie, but as a Queen fan, I came away wanting just that little bit more.
In summation… It’s got mud on its face, but it’s no big disgrace.