A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John's breakthrough years.A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John's breakthrough years.A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John's breakthrough years.
What Surprised the 'Rocketman' Cast About Elton John
1. If you absolutely HATE musicals, save your money. This is the John/Taupin equivalent of a Rodgers & Hammerstein. It is not presented as a straightforward biopic in the same manner as BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. 2. Much as I love Elton John, this "rock & roll fantasy" of his life treads a little too far into campy territory for me, with 2, maybe 3 very (thankfully) brief moments in the film that can only be described as cringeworthy. ("Oh, come on, guys--seriously?" moments.) There were times when I genuinely felt this was going to end up as the Ken Russell version of TOMMY for the new millennium. 3. Never, at any point in the film, is Paul Buckmaster mentioned or acknowledged. This infuriated me! For those who don't already know: in the early days of EJ's career, Paul was the orchestrator who provided EJ with the BEAUTIFUL, lush string accompaniments that added so much to EJ's early music (classic example: EJ's soundtrack to the 1971 French film, FRIENDS) and, IMHO, could have been a big player in his success as a burgeoning artist, firmly introducing/establishing The Elton John "Sound." He SHOULD have been a part of this film--even a small one, if deemed necessary--but for him to be utterly omitted from the story mystifies me. Maybe someone in the know can enlighten me on this.
These 3 things, however, are about my only problems with the film. Credit must be given where it's due:
1. Taron Egerton is actually pretty amazing. Some might see his acting as occasionally over the top, but frankly and for all we know, maybe EJ really did act that "extremely" at times, considering his anger issues. His singing, most of the time, is virtually spot-on, catching EJ's lilting singing style quite well. 2. The supporting cast: Jamie Bell (Bernie Taupin), Bryce Dallas Howard , Richard Madden (EJ's agent & self-centered 1st lover), Stephen Graham (Dick James), Tate Donovan (L.A.'s Troubador Club manager Doug Weston), Gemma Jones (Ivy, EJ's grandmother, I think...? Or friend of the family?) & Steven Mackintosh (EJ's cold, uncaring father)...and all others in the film, essentially faultless. ESPECIALLY Jamie's portrayal of Bernie. Wow. 3. You can't really find fault with the staging and choreography of the musical numbers. Very professionally done. 4. You will learn many things about EJ's life in this film that you may not have known before...I know I did. 5. Have a few Kleenexes handy. Enough said. 6. Don't leave right away after the credits roll.
So, is it worth seeing? My criticisms aside (and we all know what they say about opinions), it really comes down to this: if you're a fan--and especially a DEDICATED fan, like me, who's followed him from his humble beginnings in America in the summer of 1970--go see it. Decide for yourself if my gripes hold any water.
- May 19, 2019