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Kyle Says Rocketman is a Different yet Welcome Musical Biopic

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Elton John has to be one of the most fascinating artists in music history. His rock and roll sound combined with his flashy lifestyle and unique wardrobe made him into a star. Of course, the flamboyance of his life and the success of his career called for a film.  While not a conventional biopic, Rocketman soars to new heights and tells a legends story in the most unconventional way possible that asks you to lock in and enjoy the ride.

Rocketman tells the story of Elton John in his own words and through his own experiences. It opens with him in a rehab meeting, where he talks to the group about how he got to become the person he is and the hardships he faced along the way. From this we watch him grow from a small child in a toxic home to the star we all know. Now while this might sound like what you were expecting, I assure you it is not. This film takes a big swing in the way it chooses to tell its story and you are either on board with it or not. This film is part biopic and part musical. Yes that means there are multiple moments where they break out into song and dance and a big number ensues. Those wanting a ‘paint by numbers’, beat by beat biopic will be thrown for a loop, just as I was. However, once you realize what they are going for and the leap they are taking, this movie really takes off.

The tagline for Rocketman reads “Based on a True Fantasy” and I think it is important to know this going in because this is exactly how it plays. This is the life of Elton John through his eyes the way he sees it. The fantasy element is abundant and necessary to the story Elton wanted to tell and it works. We see him do what you expect to see, attending music school and meeting people who are important in his life, but we also see fantastical things such as him floating in the air. This juxtaposition makes this film stand out.

A big problem I had with Bohemian Rhapsody, was how they used the music, essentially; “this is when we made this song” and “this is when we made that song” which just made the film dull and lazy. In Rocketman, they use the songs to tell the story. The songs guide you to where Elton was, at various points in his life and this helps us understand him better. You hear “Tiny Dancer” when he feels lonely and his friend drifts away. It is something I did not expect but it worked extremely well.

The person who will get the most attention from this film is its star, Taron Egerton, who plays Elton John. We all saw his leading man potential in Kingsman: The Secret Service and reaffirmed in Eddie the Eagle. Here, in Rocketman, he really comes into his own and gives a performance that he will forever be remembered. Taron and Elton spent much time together during Kingsman: The Golden Circle and you can tell just how helpful that was for Taron. Funny enough, he also sang Elton’s song “I’m Still Standing” in the animated film Sing. He embodies this extraordinary man to a degree I couldn’t imagine and ultimately ‘becomes’ Elton John. On top of that, Taron also sang every song you hear in the film. The man can sing, dance, and perform at an exceptional level and barring some kind of fluke, you should hear his name many times during Oscar season.

Rocketman is an unconventional biopic about an unconventional man that truly honors his life. This will be a surprise for some when the film begins, and you are either in or out, but once you’re onboard, the movie sings. Yes there are clichés and moments of cheesiness that hurt it, but it never derails the film. Taron Egerton gives a performance that Elton John has to be proud of.Fans of Elton John are guaranteed to be happy with Rocketman.

The Verdict: 3.5/5 Stars