Since the moment I read online that there was going to be a movie about Queen, I was stoked. The music. The videos. The epic concerts. Freddie. Queen! Let’s get this out of the way – I AM A FAN. My cousin, James, introduced me to their music in the mid 80s, and from the classic tracks of the 70s to the Highlander soundtrack, we sang along to the records and the radio. Badly. I was just a kid, but I knew one thing for sure: Queen’s music was different and fun.
On Thursday night, I was lucky enough to do a radio broadcast on Rock 106.9 for the early premiere, along with my buddy Sara (also a Queen fan) on 95.7 The Mix. I parked my A-Team radio van front and center of Valdosta Stadium Cinemas and blared Queen hits for a solid hour. Sara and I hung out with fellow fans, promoted the early showings on the air, and gave away free tickets. To say that I occasionally love my job would be a gross understatement.
THE MOVIE: I purposely avoided reading the early reviews on Bohemian Rhapsody before seeing it, and I’m glad I did. Most of them are negative… and simply wrong. These pretentious critics tear the movie apart over not having the perfect flow, or the controversy over the last minute director change, or what they perceive as a watered down version of Freddie Mercury. I’m sorry, but if you watch this movie expecting it to be ‘Gone With The Wind,’ you’re missing the point. What it is instead, is a movie much like Queen’s own music – not always deep, not always cohesive, but very emotional, entertaining, and fun – isn’t that what you actually WANT when you go to the movies?
Bohemian Rhapsody mainly focuses on the life of Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek & some obnoxiously large fake teeth). Starting out as Farrokh Bulsara, he rebels against his Indian family to reinvent himself as a singer in the British music scene; eventually teaming with guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee), drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), and bassist John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) to form Queen. The band’s journey from meager beginnings to worldwide phenomenon was not without issues, and the film does not pull punches. Freddie’s struggle with his own sexuality, the rest of the band’s struggles with Freddie, rejection, drug abuse, betrayal, and disease – all present and accounted for. But don’t think it’s all doom and gloom. In fact, there’s several laughs to be had, including an unexpected and hilarious appearance by Mike Myers (who is hardly recognizable in character) – I won’t ruin the scene for you. I’ll just say, “Party on Wayne!”
Admittedly, I do wish the film (rated PG-13) would have been made for an R rating, allowing it to be a bit grittier. My only other complaint would be the lack of song selections within the film. Don’t get me wrong, there’s AMAZING music in there that will make you feel wonderful. But some of the songs that I consider quintessential Queen, were missed, and there’s simply so many hits! But, I suppose that if you want all the songs, all the details, all the dirt… watch one of the many great documentary films on Queen. I think I’ve watched them all. If, however, you want to go to the movies and be entertained – if you want to feel empowered – if you want to feel the hairs on your arms stand up when the big movie theater sound system starts to blair the STOMP, STOMP, CLAP!!! of ‘We Will Rock You’ …then forget the critics. This is not their movie. This is our movie. This is a movie for the fans. Go see Bohemian Rhapsody!