Rocketman (2019)
May 30, 2019 8:37 AM - Subscribe

Rocketman follows the fantastical journey of transformation from shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into international superstar Elton John. This inspirational story - set to Elton John's most beloved songs and performed by star Taron Egerton - tells the universally relatable story of how a small-town boy became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture.
posted by ellieBOA (17 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I hope there's a scene on the tour bus where Elton and everyone sing a hit by Stillwater.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:25 AM on May 30, 2019 [26 favorites]

I haven't been more excited for a movie all year. I know it's ridiculous.

I was never even the greatest Elton fan. As a young gay boy, how could I not know his work, of course. At the very least, from the backs of family Buicks and my dad's turntable. My older brother was named after one of his songs, allegedly. But I guess I'm just at a place where I need a little glitter and a memory of better times (for me anyway).

It feels very important also that it's not a 'biopic' and instead a musical fantasia based on his life. I think people come to biopics with a different expectation than they would to something tilted more playfully. I might've forgiven 'Bohemian Rhapsody' a lot more if it wasn't supposed to be the official, Queen-audited, God's-truth of Mercury's life, false teeth and all.
posted by mykescipark at 7:59 PM on May 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

Mykescipark, I’d been so excited for this movie! It definitely lived up to my expectations.
posted by ellieBOA at 9:40 PM on May 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm glad I saw this on the big screen. Hats off to Taron Egerton even for attempting the vocals, where he acquits himself very well. Elton, to me, is the Caruso of pop rock in terms of vocal chops and it's no accident that only the best vocalists tend to cover his tunes.

I retired from full-time waged work this week and several of Elton's classic era tunes have been in heavy earworm rotation for a while now. For many of us older X folk, Elton was our Beatles AND our Elvis: his music was everywhere on pop radio through the late seventies. The fact that he's also retiring has likely been with me as well. I'm glad he got a great biopic, is in recovery, and by all accounts is in a stable, happy relationship (actually two, if you count Bernie Taupin).

I'm also glad that they didn't erase his queerness, although I did detect some moral issue in how his sexual behavior before he got sober was depicted. I avoided Bohemian Rhapsody for Reasons.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 9:42 AM on June 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

I really, really liked it, although I thought the resolution was too pat, or maybe too on the nose. I know Elton John executive produced, and so I'm not going to say it didn't feel like that to him, but it felt a little like lazy writing.

The montage of Elton and Bernie walking around and talking all night, as well as the crowd losing their shit at Crocodile Rock in Troubadours - both scenes made my hair stand on end, in a good way. I think the film captured extremely well what a lightning-strike moment like making a true friend or enjoying a piece of music for the first time is truly like.
posted by chainsofreedom at 4:03 PM on June 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

Saw Rocketman- it was...very bad.

First, there’s not a single Elton John song in the entire movie. Not one. Also they made him a giant lizard!? I was like “ok, where is this going???”. Then...he fights a moth. I’m going to say that again for emphasis. *Elton John fights a moth.*
posted by Chrysostom at 8:58 PM on June 2, 2019 [11 favorites]

Quick reactions:

Sorta my reference point for this was And All That Jazz which was an autobiographical fantasia which deals with sobriety and comes to an ambiguous ending. I thought it was pretty deft and sensitive to the intersection of substance abuse, internalized homophobia, and trying to remake oneself. I've known people who have lived there, and unfortunately one didn't survive. I'm kind of impressed by not papering over all of the conflicts with an easy resolution, which is disturbingly common.

I loved how the costume design was used to position scenes within a time period, including the 60s English rockers, the very 1970s mix of cowboy and hippie, right through to the pressed white jumpers of the early 1980s.

I felt that there were a few minor pacing problems, and stage-like framing device of having Elton walk out of one situation and into another was perhaps used a bit too frequently for it to pay off at the climax. That's a minor complaint though.

The Your Song sequence had me crying.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 7:12 AM on June 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

The mistaken-Godzilla review really tickles me, because literally every time I hear or see the word "Rocketman" I think we're talking about The Rocketeer.
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:39 AM on June 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

The mistaken-Godzilla review really tickles me, because literally every time I hear or see the word "Rocketman" I think we're talking about The Rocketeer.

I have a similar problem except I think we're talking about this.
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:50 AM on June 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Which also reminds me, I wonder if they even considered casting Tony Todd as Elton...After all, according to Nicholas Cage in The Rock, he is the Rocket Man.

In all seriousness, I'm a marginal Elton John fan, the only album I've purchased was the Greatest Hits and I never totally warmed to more than the 6 or 7 radio hits that I'd already liked on that 2-disc set...But he always seemed like a sweet guy and when I saw Taron Egerton in the role and some of the fantasy-sequence stuff in the trailer I was very interested in seeing this...And wasn't disappointed! It covers the same familiar cliches as most any rock biopic, but the musical numbers and Egerton and Jamie Bell really made it for me.
posted by doctornecessiter at 12:05 PM on June 4, 2019

I was a kid when this all happened, and by the time I really got to Elton John he was one of those weird classic rock guys with lyrics that kinda went over my head. One of the things this movie did for me was recontextualize his songs as something other than classic rock nostalgia or silly lingering novelty earworms.

Another thing I'm really feeling is the line (I'm probably misremembering it) at the end of "I'm ok with strange."
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 1:40 PM on June 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Saw this today and loved it. Somehow I wasn't expecting a campy rock opera but I'm so glad they went this way instead of a dour biopic. I also felt like it would have a lot of resonance with trans people specifically---the themes of rebuilding and renaming yourself and also just literally hugging your inner child. There were a lot of absolutely cheesy moments, but they felt right for Elton John.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:41 PM on June 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

I enjoyed it but I didn't love it. The framing device seemed like a metaphor for the film in general: it's a group therapy session, we only get one person's point of view, and everyone else is a cardboard cutout in the background. I would have liked a bit more nuance around several of the characters in the film.

However, holy crap, both the sex scene and the Honky Cat number were incredible. Taron Egerton and Richard Madden have crazy chemistry and I'd love to see them cast in a rom-com. Or as antagonists in Kingsmen III.
posted by rednikki at 10:16 PM on June 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Wig Wurq review
posted by ellieBOA at 9:52 AM on June 7, 2019 [4 favorites]

So much better, and funnier, than it had reason to be. Jamie Bell is always solid, and Taron Egerton was practically a revelation. I'm going to have to watch Kingsman, now.

John Reid is portrayed as downright villainous in the film, which ends in the early '80s, but he's still producing for John well into the next decade. A tribute to the power of a well-written contract, I guess.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:30 PM on June 15, 2019

Bernie Taupin was 17, and Elton John 20, when they met; the depiction of their long friendship was the best part of the movie.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:57 PM on June 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

I saw this a few nights ago and enjoyed it.

I have read that Elton John's parents were not the heartless monsters they appear in this movie -- which is more about Elton's childhood/youthful perception of what they were like -- that in reality while they weren't great parents, and they did have a bad marriage, their biggest stumbling block was that they weren't at all the right parents for the kind of child they had: gay, exceptionally gifted, idiosyncratic, sensitive. They were like a couple of barnyard fowls trying to raise a flamingo.

While Elton John can be needy and insecure, he does seem like a sweet and genuinely good man. Even when he was in the throes of his substance abuse issues, he was one of those addicts who generally only hurt themselves. I'm not surprised that he's been able to build successful long-term relationships in both his professional and personal life -- he is lovable.
posted by orange swan at 11:15 AM on January 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

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