Rating (3 out of 5)
Queen recorded albums from 1973 to 1995, a 22 year time frame and had a larger than life lead signer in Freddie Mercury. They squeeze 22 years and a 20 minute set at Wembley stadium into a 2 hour and 14 minute film. In the end, they attempted to tell too much in too little time and diluted Freddie’s and Queen’s story. The dilution resulted in lack of emotional connection to any of the characters.
If you don’t like rock and roll, lower the score for Bohemian Rhapsody 2 or 2.5.
Plot: A biopic following Freddie Mercury and Queen from their early stages in rock to their performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985.
What I Liked: I watched a documentary on Pink Floyd and the Dark Side of the Moon and the creativity required to make the sounds and the album amazed me. Not only the creativity, but risks the artists took to create different and unique music. Watching Bohemian Rhapsody, you are struck by the creativity and risk taking endeavored by Queen as they made A Night at the Opera. Scenes where the band generate the ideas for the albums was enthralling . The collaboration of all four band members made Queen (if those scenes are accurate).
I am a Queen fan, so of course I like the music selections. Queen changed their sound from album to album which is unique. Bohemian Rhapsody reminds us of the progression of Queen from their early years to Works.
What I Didn’t Like: The movie never decides if it wants to be about Freddie or about Queen. Therefore the movie tends to be a giant jumble. I learn a little about both, but never enough detail.
I remember watching the Live Aid performance with my sister and parents in 1985. We had watched a couple of acts and then Queen came on stage. Even my parents were impressed with their performance. The show was phenomenal because the audience performance played as large of a role as the performance of Queen. Rather than using 20 minutes for the reenactment, the director missed an opportunity explore Freddie or the band in-depth.
I understand all Biopics take some license to fit a 20 years into 2 hours. However, even as I watched the movie I noticed some date/album discrepancies. The discrepancies were too obvious for Bohemian Rhapsody to be a great movie. The director rushes through all the 20 years and in rushing, never form a connection with any of the characters.
Conclusion: The movie reveals a few interesting tidbits unknown about Queen and Freddie before that intrigued me. The band making their recordings was fun but lack of focus created an emotionless history. Don’t rush to the theater, wait for Bohemian Rhapsody’s release on a streaming service.