I get it – this is not a movie about Queen – rather a Freddie Mercury biopic and the man happened to be in Queen.
While slickly produced – this is such a gloss over of anything complex related to Mercury, or the actual creation of the band.
We see a Mercury meet Brian May and Roger Taylor. We see them talk about A Night at The Opera – we see Deacon create eh (yes) bass line for Another One Bites the Dust. We see them kind of break up. Live Aid. That’s about it.
I get there are massive subplots coming with Mercury’s story at a personal level and family that almost need no screen, but everything seems just so glossed and passed over. If you knew nothing about the band, you’d think they got together in the early 70s, broke up ten years later and reunited at Live Aid. Weak. The Mercury coming out of the closet and finding out he has AIDS happens in the same arc through the magic of movie story telling. Weak.
The acting is fine here, with as per the actual band – Mercury / Rami Malik getting most of the reviews, while the rest of the players in the band are likely more solid without taking in as much spotlight.
The script banks on people knowing enough about Mercury that they don’t have to beat AIDS over the head, but it is so subtly hinted at and lost in the mix of Live Aid, which let’s face it, anyone old enough to remember the actual band here remembers Live Aid for more than just Queen’s show stealing performance.
Do Queen get the short shaft? Perhaps. In the pantheon of Zeppelin, Beatles, etc. They seem lesser. I don’t know why. Perhaps it is the more anthematic approach to their tunes. Perhaps it is the Wayne’s World connection, I don’t know. Their influence on today’s music is as huge as those bands. Bowie dropping into the studio and creating Under Pressure in minutes with the band would have been a shot in the arm here, or any mention of say their work with Flash Gordon.
I liken the arc here to one like the movie career of Joseph Mazzello. He was in Jurassic Park as a child in 1993, Then he was in Bohemian Rapsodu playing bassist John Deacon. The end. And that’s not fair either.
Bohemian Rhapsody plays this week in Mile Zero.