Rocketman is Mostly a Disappointment
I had high hopes that Rocketman, Dexter Fletcher’s biopic of Elton John was going to bypass a lot of the biopic dreck and do something unusual* and these hopes were smashed on the shores of the very crowded Biopic Beach. So it is that we get much too many scenes of rock star excess** plus the movie’s jukebox musical format made everything confusing.*** I did enjoy the costumes (which are the usual perk of the biopic) and Taron Egerton’s performance, including watching his hair thin and recede.
The verdict: skip
(or watch it for the clothing)
Cost: $1.25 via Redbox
Where watched: at home (first movie of 2020!)
Consider watching instead:
- Love & Mercy
- Walk the Line
- Almost Famous
- The Runaways
*This was primarily because of the interesting levitation shown during the preview. I thought there would be more magical realism in the movie. While I think the levitation did nicely get across the feeling of “that was the night that everything started and everyone there knew it” there wasn’t much magical realism in this movie.
**Props for showing some bulimia to augment the standard drug/alcohol tropes. Eating disorders often go along with addiction and it is very rare to see a portrayal of a man with an eating disorder.
***The jukebox musical format worked better in Blinded by the Light where the songs of a singer were sung and danced to by people who are not the artist who produced the music. When Taron Egerton breaks into Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” while playing at the bar as a teenager and all the patrons start dancing I am perplexed. Is the movie saying that song was written then? Before he met Bernie Taupin? Also, the framing device of Elton John’s story being told while in rehab is not used constantly enough. It was distracting.
- What’s your favorite biopic and why?
- What films best use the jukebox musical format?
Favorite IMDB trivia item:
Bryce Dallas Howard is eight years older than Taron Egerton, who plays the adult version of her son. The age difference is of course explicable because the movie starts by depicting Elton John as a much younger child; the age difference between Howard and the children who play John at younger ages is a much more normal one for a mother and son.
(One again, I did not recognize Bryce Dallas Howard. She is so good at disappearing into her characters)