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Film Review: 'Rocketman' Will Launch Taron Egerton Into New Stratosphere

by Todd A. Smith

 

Taron Egerton poses for the cameras at the “Rocketman” premiere in New York (Photo Credit: Getty Images).

 

 

Two-Hour Elton John Concert

 

1/2


Very few times have I actually reviewed a movie and not taken any notes.


But as I sat down at my desk and opened my notebook, preparing to write a review for the Elton John biopic “Rocketman,” I just realized that the only think written in my notebook is #Rocketman.


The fact that I was so enthralled by “Rocketman” as to not take notes shows how mesmerizing the biopic really is.


To put it bluntly, “Rocketman” is like a two hour Elton John concert, featuring the actor born to play the iconic role, Taron Egerton (“Kingsman: The Golden Circle”).


Filmmaker Dexter Fletcher and screenwriter Lee Hall take a cumulative approach to their production of “Rocketman.”


The film that chronicles the life of the groundbreaking songwriter/singer born Reginald Dwight combines the direction of music biopics like “Jersey Boys,” “Ray” and “Get on Up” to form a unique gumbo of styles and flavors that work marvelously together.


“Rocketman” features the musical aspects of “Jersey Boys” as like a narration of the plot line.


The Elton John biopic combines a couple elements of “Ray” by focusing on John’s substance abuse problems and being a child prodigy. 

 

And “Rocketman” focuses on the rocky relationships with people that kept it 100 with John from the beginning of his career like “Get on Up” did with James Brown’s friendship with Bobby Byrd.

 

Furthermore, “Rocketman” has other endearing qualities that all of the previously aforementioned biopics had, which consists of redemption and the defeat of the demons that could have led to destruction and a ruined career.

 

What John has that the other musical stars did not have, is eccentricity galore.

 

Music has never really seen anybody like John with the sound of a soul singer and the fashion sense of a Las Vegas showgirl.

 

His style made him standout.

 

However, in a society in which standing out did not always mean a good thing, John struggled for years trying to find himself and find peace with the love he did not receive from his parents.

 

Young Reggie (Matthew Illesly) never received much acknowledgement from his father, let alone love.

 

Reggie’s father Stanley (Steven Mackintosh) was a rolling stone, and when he did lay his hat in his family’s home, he had very little time to spend with Reggie despite the fact that there were early signs of his musical genius from a young age.

 

Stanley loved his music and his record collection.

 

However, because of anger and a lack of acceptance he could not see that his Reggie had more talent than some of his musical heroes.

 

Reggie only had to hear a song on the radio once in order to know how to play it on the piano himself.

 

His talents got him a scholarship to a prestigious music school.

 

And his love for Elvis Presley made him take what he learned studying classical music and what he learned from the rock and roll star to create a style that would take over the music world in the 1970s.

 

But despite taking over the music world, John had to accept his true self at a time that was anything but progressive or open-minded. 

 

Furthermore, he had to come to grips with his troubled childhood before drugs, alcohol and partying consumed his life and ruined his career.

 

Like many super successful and iconic personalities, John also had to come to grips with the fact that some people in his life did not deserve his trust, while others definitely deserved that trust.

 

Early in his career when John could not get out of the background, he formed a musical partnership with his lifelong writing partner Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell), which initially put him on the musical map.

 

One of the songs that John and Taupin composed together early in their partnership was “Border Song” made famous by Aretha Franklin as “Border Song (Holy Moses)” on her “Young, Gifted and Black” album after John’s version flopped.

 

Like any successful person will say, if they are honest, they could not have made it alone and John would not have succeeded in the music business without Taupin.

 

John composed the music while Taupin wrote the lyrics.

 

However, when John is pushed to the forefront after his demos begin catching the ear of everyone in the music industry, John begins to forget that it was not him alone that helped him get to the top.

 

Furthermore, with success come hangers on.

 

And although John has a relationship with someone that he loves, that does not mean that his partner’s motives are totally pure.

 

When people see success, they see dollar signs for themselves.

 

Therefore, if one is not careful, greed can get mistaken for love and support.

 

But despite the cautionary tale of discerning who to trust and who to avoid, “Rocketman” is a true concert inside of a movie theater.

 

From songs like “Bennie and the Jets” and “Tiny Dancer” to “Honky Cat,” the movie “Rocketman” is spectacle to behold.

 

Jamming to John’s countless hits will make moviegoers forget where they are as they tap their feet to a musician with enough soul to carry the entire recording industry.

 

According to “Rocketman,” at his peak John by himself was responsible for five percent of the record sales globally.

 

But what is most fascinating about “Rocketman” is what made “Ray” the classic movie that it is, which also put Jamie Foxx on the map as one of the greatest actors of his generation.

 

Egerton sings all of John’s classics himself showcasing a talent that all of the “Kingsman” movies in the world could not capture.

 

When Foxx blew his performance as Ray Charles out of the box, those who may not have known about his musical gifts might have been surprised at the range of his talents.

 

Likewise, casual viewers of Egerton’s past movies might have seen him as a quirky actor with potential.

 

However, “Rocketman” shows that he has enough talent to take his career into another stratosphere.

 

Unfortunately, “Rocketman” contains a couple of corny moments like when John launches into space after a concert at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

 

However, that does not stop the two-hour party also known as “Rocketman,” which is evidently clear from my empty notebook.

 

Rock on Elton! Rock on Taron!




REGAL RATINGS

FOUR CROWNS=EXCELLENT

THREE CROWNS=GOOD

TWO CROWNS=AVERAGE

ONE CROWN=POOR


This article was published on Friday 31 May, 2019.
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