Bohemian Rhapsody is more than Walk Hard played seriously. It’s probably the most egregious rock biopic ever made. Really? That’s quite the hot take. Well, it has taken a few months to finally pin down what doesn’t work with the film. That is you can feel the living members of Queen actively rewriting history and toying with the story in spite of outside manipulation. In a few words, it’s the film equivalent of The Beatles’ Anthology project.
Director Bryan Singer has finally started to get the level of scrutiny that he’s been dodging since Apt Pupil. But, let’s try to stay away from the easiest carrot when it comes to discussing this film. Let’s address why you can’t make a Queen movie by sanitizing the flamboyant life of its gifted lead singer. Have you ever had a family member try to tell you a story about a deceased relative? When they’re cornered on certain details, it always returns to how they would handle the situation.
Freddie Mercury’s efforts to join Queen precursor band Smile stage him as a baggage handler who was lucky to get Brian May’s attention. From there, it’s every event in Mercury’s life told from how the rest of the band experienced the moment. Even when Rami Malek gets to stretch those big-toothed muscles, his burgeoning sexuality and moments of introspection give way to montages set to songs written by the other band members. Some find it frustrating, while I find it laughable.
The most memorable moment of the film is a framing device designed to highlight the time that Mercury failed as a solo artist and he was humbled to return to the band. Given what we know about the band running off Sacha Baron Cohen and his plans for the role, it’s amazing that this film got made in this way. Yet, here we are.
Bohemian Rhapsody is the best laid result of idle hands trying to get their say over a dead man’s body. Adding in the Bryan Singer drama is just another aspect of how no one was interested in making a film about Mercury. This was just what happens when vying interests fight it out and lip service is paid to art created by a gang of brutally different individuals.
The Blu-ray comes with the complete Live-Aid performance and it’s quite the Bar Band karaoke treat to behold. The rest of the special features are service level offerings, but Digital fans will be pleased to know something. The Digital Copy packs in the same special features with little to no drop-off. Also, kudos to FOX on a DTS-HD 7.1 track that could hold its own with the outstanding Atmos mix.