Rocketman Poster

Picture Taken By Smokey Rivers

Rocketman: This Fan's Take On The New Elton John Biopic

Is It Good Enough For His Fans?

May 20, 2019

I was cruising for topics to talk about on the daily show, and came across the Fandango Sneak Preview of ROCKETMAN in Seattle on 5/18.  There has been much advance hype of this Elton John biopic, so I had little to no expectation that there were tickets remaining.  Wrong again!  There were a few...all front row...but I would gladly sacrifice a night of neck pain to see the movie early.  I hit PURCHASE and saved Saturday at 7 for a date with Taron Egerton as Elton John.

Elton was one of my childhood heroes.  His stellar career and my passion for music are on parallel tracks.   I have seen him bunches and met him on a few occasions.  You get it...I am an Elton Geek.

You may have seen one of the interviews with Taron Egerton.  Or a trailer.  Or a YouTube video of one of his performances from the movie.  I have, and thought, "Meh."  It's hard to be Elton John.  Then something happened.  The film had its first public screening at the Cannes Film Festival.   The crowd at Cannes is discriminating.  OK, film snobs.  They loved it.  Reactions like, "Better than Bohemian Rhapsody", and "A Masterpiece" began showing up in the post-screening press.  I become more intrigued.

So, Saturday night at 7, I was seated (much thanks to Regal for reclining lounge chairs) and ready to be amazed.  I was.

Now, we know a lot of tidbits about Elton: His birth name is Reggie Dwight.  He wrote the notes and lyricist Bernie Taupin wrote the words to countless legendary pop and rock tunes. He is gay.  He struggled with addiction.  He and his husband David Furnish have two young sons.  His foundation is a global game-changer in the fight against AIDS. 

What most of us don't know about him is the relationship he did (or did not) enjoy with his mom and dad.   How he developed and discovered his genius talent.   How he(ironically) created the name "Elton John".  Early rejection as a composer/writer/performer.   Reconciling his sexuality with himself, then with others.  His breakout tour.   Addiction, near death, a hostile manager, a grandmom who loved him unconditionally.  How his life was depicted in his songs.  The inseperability of Elton and Bernie.  All that is in the film.  It would make a good book, but packing the story into print only would not do service to Elton's great gift of his music.

Taron Egerton may not have the voice of Elton John.  He doesn't need it.  His portrayal of the character and his submission to the nuances of Elton's story made for great cinema.  There are those moments of big musical theatre, which could have been tacky...but were masterfully choreographed and performed to songs we know and love.  About 20 of them.  Taron will light up each one for you. You will weep during "Your Song".  You will want to dance during  "The Bitch Is Back".   

The story, the songs, the portrayal, the performance, the cinematography, the choreography, the soundtrack...it's a great package.  If you pressed me for a grade for Rocketman, it's an "A".  If you appreciate Elton, I encourage you to see it.  Then let's compare notes.