Bohemian Rhapsody

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 2/12/19;
Fox;
Drama;
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.

PBS’s ‘The Woman in White’ to Appear on DVD Nov. 6

The series The Woman in White, based on the 19th century mystery novel by Wilkie Collins, will appear on DVD Nov. 6 from PBS Distribution.

Episodes are available now on digital. The broadcast of the series began Oct. 21.

The five-part screen adaptation brings to life the secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelations, amnesia, locked rooms and asylums that made the mystery thriller an instant success when it was published in 1868. The program begins when Walter Hartright (Ben Hardy, Bohemian Rhapsody), a young drawing master, encounters a spectral woman dressed all in white on a moonlit road on Hampstead Heath. After offering his assistance to the strange woman, he is shocked to discover that she has just escaped from a nearby insane asylum. The encounter draws him into a web of mystery and deception that transforms his life forever.