Obviously, the Freddie Mercury & Queen story. I’m also trying to think of a single example of a film that had a long in the making/troubled production like this that turned out any good.
• The music. Queen fucking rule.
• I wasn’t a massive fan of Mr Robot but I could tell Rami Malek’s got some clear chops. He nails those Freddie moves/mannerisms, even though he’s hampered by them fake gnashers, especially at the start. I can’t tell if he gets used to them as time progressed or we as viewers do. Brian May is pretty spot on too.
• Running joke on ‘I’m in Love with my Car’ dissing Roger Taylor. Joke’s on you boys, he made all the money given that was the B-side to the Bohemian Rhapsody single the 8 times it’s been number 1 or whatever.
• Final half hour. And thank fuck they didn’t go any further down the timeline than that, but we’ll be having words about that in CONS.
• Mike Myer’s career has been downright wacky since that horrible Love Guru ‘film’. He pops up here as Record Label guy, looking like Bob Mortimer impersonating Jeff Lynne. I’d forgotten the whole Waynes World car bit, which is presumably why he’s even here in the first place.
• Needed more Kenny Everett. I say that about a lot of things though.
• Right, I have, and I’m willing to bet you have, been a Queen fan since small times. Know what Queen weren’t? Boring. Which this film is. More to the point, Queen died as a thing when Freddie did, the last possible thrash should’ve been the awesome Tribute concert in 1992. By all means pop up now and again as a special guest with Foo Fighters or on The Sky at Night, but otherwise put a fucking fork in it May and Taylor. No endless touring with some X Factor nobody or Buck Rogers, no musicals, no more shitting on Freddie’s legacy. NO MORE. Unfortunately, if they weren’t going to do it someone else would, and walk all over Freddie’s legacy. Yeah, even worse than they already do.
• For a band legendary for excess there’s very little of it here. Why isn’t there an entire segment on why and how Freddie came out onstage on top of Darth Vaders shoulders? Fat Bottomed Girls video shoot? Pissing off Sid Vicious? Taking Princess Di gay clubbing in disguise? Oh no time for that, we need multiple instances of him ringing his cats, or Deacon bollocking them in the studio to ‘Another One Bites the Dust’.
• Looking deeper, once Bryan Singer got shitcanned for being an all round terrible person, Dexter Fletcher took over directing this. And how it shows. It’s got ‘second tier BBC adaptation’ written right through it, from most of the acting to the pedestrian cinematography.
The timeline skips out all kinds of major Queen moments too. I will give them the grace of not going any further than Live Aid, as the script that had Sasha Baron Cohen onboard carried through all that other shit way after Freddie passed over the stars. Hence Cohen leaving since rightly, nobody’s interested in any of that shit except May & Taylor. But why end there? Why not Wembley ’86? You’re correctly focussing on him, run it up to his death, then maybe this would deserve the Oscar win for Best Actor, which it assuredly does’nt in the slightest.
Speaking of which, it also got nods for Sound Mixing/Editing – I thought the music was weirdly ‘off’, not like they re-recorded it but used alternate takes. Could they not licence their own music?
• Like you make a point of Hot Space* being released? What?
• As my copy editor pointed out, Freddie’s father saying the Zoroastrians were hounded out of Persia by Muslims. They were, but in the 7th fucking century.
• I’m sure the band members and extended fam talked in iconic statements to resound throughout the ages in Bryan May’s memory, but nobody fucking talks like some the absolute shite said in this film.
• The Live Aid concert just about manages to transcend the piss poor CGI Wembley Stadium and attendant crowd. Even my GF went ooof. It also makes it look like they haven’t even seen each other in years, when The Works World Tour ended 8 weeks prior to Live Aid. Fuck you movie.
Should I watch this?
It’s almost redeemed by the take on the Live Aid slot, but really, you can watch that and Wembley ’86 on YouTube and save yourself the bother of this. I’m of the opinion music biography works far better in book form, and there’s plenty to go at on that front.
Someone somewhere is capable of making a balanced Queen bio between the music/insane shit/Freddie’s life but this isn’t it. Wouldn’t go out of your way.
*If you haven’t heard Hot Space, please go do so immediately, it’s amazing, but for all the wrong reasons. Because releasing a disco album 3 years after it died was the move of a band in touch with the cultural zeitgeist.