★★★★ | ROCKETMAN
The story of Elton John, Is it a musical definitely, is it a biopic partly is it sanitised? No damn way – 25 years of his life from 17-42 years-old, warts and all with added chems and gay relationships.
Nutshell – Not really a chronological life story nor with chronological music but a celebration of our favourite ivory tickler with the many up’s and just as many down’s. The songs are not sung by Elton but by Taron and the cast which makes it a bit more interesting than the straight Queen lip-syncing in Bo Rhap for example. We get his early none fame days, his breakthrough worldwide and all the drugs, rock n roll and gay sex you could want largely featuring the long relationship with Manager John Reid plus his straight marriage. The story goes up until he finally checks in to rehab in the early ’90s and gets clean for life so no Lion King, David Furnish, Billy Elliott, Princess Di or AIDS campaigning.
Running Time – 121 Minutes – Cert 15.
The Gay UK Factor – The costumes, the endless music with many songs turned into ready for the stage musical versions and not skimping on his voyage of sexual discovery including gay kissing so a huge gay appeal indeed. The legendary two bare man ass sex scene has not made the final cut though fingers crossed for the extended or outtake DVDs for fans of Egerton and Madden’s asses. Maybe just as well as the kissing and hugging are enough to get the movie banned in some backward thinking countries alone. Taron Egerton is one great looking guy for anyone’s wank bank and he is fully supported here by the lush Richard Madden and a Jamie Bell looking much hotter than we have ever seen before. A new gay icon has arrived and it is Billy Elliott himself all grown up and as masculine and f**kable as a striking coal miner.
Cast – Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas-Howard, Gemma Jones, Stephen Graham fresh from a good throat slitting in Line Of Duty and even unbelievably a low key Keith lemon himself.
Key Player – A three-way split between the director Dexter Fletcher fresh from his three week stint saving the Oscar sponge Bohemian Rhapsody and doing a better job here. Taron is sensational and he has a great singing voice and most importantly he does his own thing than rather doing an impersonation which was Elton’s request. Finally of course Sir Elton himself whose endless superb songbook could fill four movies and some. There are many favourites here but just as many missing and it truly helps the movie fly by surely demanding repeated viewings.
Budget – $40 Million – Yet this has already made six figures and is heading for 200K fast. Maybe it won’t make the 800K that the Queen film made last year (and this is the better film) but it is a bona fide hit and Taron’s stock has gone up as fast as Elton’s greatest hits sales have. So get ready for the George Michael film, the Bon Jovi biopic, the Steps & Vengaboys films, How the Weather Girls became big, the biopic of Shakin Stevens and the Chesney Hawks story probably all being green lit as we speak.
Best Bit – 0.44 mins; When Elt makes his big American breakthrough at the Troubadour club in LA, the singer, band and the entire audience all levitate to ‘Crocodile Rock’ as someone’s star goes stratospheric in one short night and things will never quite be the same again along the ‘Yellow Brick Road’.
Worst Bit – 1.39 mins; There is nothing that out of step here but ‘Bennie And The Jets’ as a live performance is the weakest link in a very strong chain… maybe because we don’t really like that song in Europe (A number 1 in the US though). ‘Border Song’ goes nowhere but not helped by coming after an incredible version of ‘I want Love’ and do we really need ‘Tiny Dancer’ again when there are so many other hits that could jump straight in (Although frustratingly it’s lyric fits the movie like a glove).
Little Secret – Over the years in development James McAvoy, Daniel Ratcliffe and Tom Hardy were to play Elton, the singer himself was originally very keen on Justin Trousersnake until he met Taron Egerton. Besides there filming together in the Kingsman sequel Taron also did a lengthy version of ‘I’m Still standing’ in the hit cartoon animal film ‘Sing’ as a giant Gorilla! The film suggests that Elton Hercules John took his first name from a band mate and the last name from John Lennon, in fact, it was inspired by the other sixties singer Long John Baldry… He took the name Hercules from Steptoe And Son’s rag and bone cart horse.
Further Viewing – Bohemian Rhapsody, A Star Is Born, The Greatest Showman, Mamma Mia’s 1 & 2, Moulin Rouge, Mary Poppins Returns (with a few more ‘fks’ here’), Les Mis, Walk the Line and all Elton’s movie appearances from Pinball Wizard in Tommy through to him co-starring with a certain sexy as fk suited and booted Taron Egerton in Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
Any Good – Yes, if you are not an Elton fan (what’s wrong with you!) and YESSSS if you like the John Lewis ad botherer from Pinner like a true gay music aficionado. This is great fun and it flies by as you count the hits off and wait in anticipation for ‘Your Song’ the title track or ‘I’m Still Standing’. You will learn a lot about the great man and really enjoy his and Bernie’s company for two happy hours.
There could even be a sequel in our view there are enough quality tunes that is for sure. In the meanwhile let’s have the soundtrack, the sing-a-long cinema and DVD version and most importantly the hit stage show as this is ready to go with or without Ben Elton’s interference. Of course we all have fave Elton John tracks that we would love to have seen included ours would be ‘Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds’, ‘Sacrifice’ and ‘Nikita’ but there are 25 hits to be going on with here including a brand new song over the end credits which is as good as anything he has done.
A great night out at the movies with what feels like an old friend – kudos to all involved.
In Cinemas now