February 10, 2019
Street Date 2/12/19;
Box Office $210.68 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for thematic elements, suggestive material, drug material and language.
Stars Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Allen Leech, Tom Hollander, Mike Myers.
In telling the history of the legendary rock band Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody doesn’t get any more complicated than it needs to be.
Presented primarily as a biopic of lead singer Freddie Mercury, the film depicts the band’s formation, their rise to stardom and their triumphant performance at the 1985 Live Aid concert. Mercury’s sometimes turbulent personal life as he realizes his sexual identity provides the primary character drama of the movie, interspersed with the touchstones of the group’s greatest hits being created.
It’s essentially a two-hour long Queen tribute video that isn’t so much interested in diving into the more tawdry aspects of Mercury’s life as it is focusing on the music (which is to be expected, given how the film was co-produced by some of Mercury’s old bandmates, who were looking for more of a tribute than an exposé).
Of course, the fact that it’s such a loving tribute, loaded with such great music, makes it an easy movie to enjoy. There’s also a fun cameo from Mike Myers, calling back to the memorable use of “Bohemian Rhapsody” in Wayne’s World.
Rami Malek so thoroughly transforms into Mercury that it’s easy to forget it’s a performance, especially during re-creations of the band’s shows, particularly the final Live Aid extravaganza, which is the subject of two separate extras on the Blu-ray.
One is the complete 22-minute re-creation of the Live Aid performance, which is absolutely faithful to the original event and a pretty fantastic medley of Queen songs. The other is a 20-minute featurette about staging the Live Aid performance, which involved a lot of visual effects to re-create the old Wembley Stadium and digitally fill it with 100,000 screaming music fans.
Malek’s transformation into Freddie Mercury is the subject of another 16-minute featurette, while the 20-minute “The Look and Sound of Queen” deals with the process of re-creating the era.