Rami Malek embraces the swagger of Freddie Mercury in this celebratory love letter to the historic rock ‘n’ roll frontman.
Music biopics are a dime a dozen. Convincing me to give a damn usually depends on how much of my own soul I’ve already attached to the subject matter. Get On Up could have been straight hot garbage, but my James Brown obsession blinded any sense of objectivity. On the other hand, I knew nothing about the Sex Pistols before witnessing Alex Cox’s nightmare romance Sid and Nancy. As the credits rolled on that film, my very being was brutalized by the sorrow of the narrative as well as the dynamic craft on display.
My relationship with Queen is rather basic. Obviously, I rocked the same Greatest Hits album most wannabe cool kids had in high school. I’ve banged my head along with Wayne and Garth. “Flash’s Theme” from Flash Gordon is the greatest movie theme song of all time, followed closely by their Highlander declaration of the “Princes of the Universe.” The music kicks ass.
Am I actually excited for Bohemian Rhapsody as a celebration to this epic band? I really know nothing about the guys themselves. Freddie Mercury was a troubled genius. I get that. My interest in the film stems mostly from the percolating behind-the-scenes drama. Let’s see if this trailer can rev my engines a little louder.
I love Rami Malek. He appears to have the Freddie Mercury bravado nailed down. He’s a perfect mime for those classic stage moves. The swagger is real, and he’s joyfully gnashing those chompers without letting them run off with the performance. As Jaime Foxx did with Ray Charles, Malek’s imitation of the cosmically cool frontman guarantees at least one level of entertainment.
Queen itself will achieve another segment of the must-see factor. The trailer packs in as much of their music as it can while recreations of their iconic stage performances are solidified by Freddie Mercury’s vocal talent. After all, Malek could not possibly match that astonishing three-octave range.
I am always a little weary when a film has the approval of the band they’re depicting. We’ll certainly see how the power of fame and fortune will alter their lives, but will the film dig into their grimier bits in a VH1 Behind the Music fashion? I may not be the most versed fanatic of their history, but I am aware of the darkness that seeps in at the end of their reign. Does Queen want their dirty laundry exposed alongside their revolutionary ability?
This first trailer is an announcement of an extraordinary life. Freddie Mercury was a god who dared to walk with us mortals for a brief moment in time. Bohemian Rhapsody looks to keep the man on that pedestal. Watching record producers and fellow bandmates view him with wonder as he concocts the title song emphasizes his brilliance. He not only sees the future, he’s living there already.
“This is when the operatic section comes in.” What? Huh? Are you crazy? Malek’s smile captures the ego simmering behind the genius. Mercury was no mere mortal. Bow down, folks. We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy.