REVIEW: "Bohemian Rhapsody" and a cool new movie technology

Not Freddie Mercury, but an incredible simulation. The Queen biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a perfect film to demonstrate a new movie theater technology called ScreenX

November 6, 2018
Freddie MErcury

© Globe Photos/Sipa USA

I went to see the new movie Bohemian Rhapsody the other day; it was a special screening at the Regal Thornton Place theatre near Northgate Mall because the Regal people wanted to show off their new ScreenX technology, which they call

The premium, panoramic, 270-degree cinema environment that projects films on three walls of the auditorium.

More about that in a sec. First, the movie.

It’s a pretty standard biopic along the lines of something you might see on Lifetime, but it obviously tells the story of one of rock’s most flamboyant and original characters ever (and the band he fronted,) which instantly kicks it up a notch from the typical sappy biopic.

Rami Malek plays Freddie Mercury by donning the biggest set of fake teeth in the history of movies, and he’s all in with the character. We see how Freddie was guided above all else by his creative impulses, which is what made Queen unique and so hard to categorize. The thread of the story of his struggles with his sexuality, made more difficult by his conservative and religious parents, adds a tragic note to the narrative since we know that Freddie died of AIDS in 1991.

Rami Malek
© Dan MacMedan-USA TODAY NETWORK

One great supporting character is the old-school record executive who tells the band there’s no way they can release “Bohemian Rhapsody” as a single because no radio station would play a six-minute-long song that’s also a self-contained mini-opera. The guy is played brilliantly by Mike Myers, who once upon a time rocked out to the song in the 1992 movie Wayne’s World.

The best part of the film is the music, from the band’s impromptu foot-stomping creation of “We Will Rock You” to their climactic set at the landmark Live Aid concert in front of 100,000 people at London’s Wembley Stadium.

And that’s where Regal Cinema’s new ScreenX technology comes in. During certain scenes throughout the movie, the screen image extends back along the side walls so you’re basically surrounded by 270-degree visuals. I think as far as the stuff on the sides goes, you’re meant to sense it in your peripheral vision, rather than actually turning your head to look at it directly. To me, it seemed like a distraction in some scenes, but those live performances were epic, as was a quick scene where the camera flew through the interior of a tour bus and you really get the sense of what it feels like for a band to be huddled in their mobile cocoon. 

I’m sure hardcore Queen fans will fact-check the film and have all kinds of bones to pick about its precise accuracy. I wouldn’t have minded if it was about 20 minutes shorter. But I liked the behind-the-music glimpse at the band and its charismatic but troubled front man, and the music is consistently great.

 I left wondering what I wonder about lots of our fallen rock heroes – Prince, Hendrix, Lennon, Cobain; what would Freddie Mercury be up to if he were around today?