“People don’t pay to see Reginald Dwight, they pay to see ELTON JOHN.”
A line said in the film’s trailer during a shot between Elton John and his longtime friend Bernie Taupin (and according to them, their ONLY argument), made me think I was getting a completely different film than the one I saw. Sure, I saw the other parts of the trailer, but I was still shocked in hindsight.
First off, I wasn’t expecting this movie to be a faux-musical, which was a pleasant surprise. I was expecting something along the lines of Bohemian Rhapsody. The first scene of the movie shows Elton checking himself into rehab, dressed in an awesomely flamboyant devil’s outfit, describing every single drug that he was addicted to. When the therapist asks what he was like as a child, Elton immediately kicks into “The Bitch is Back”, with a complete dance number to accompany it, backup dancers and all. This is a recurring bit in the movie where songs are either used as musical scenes, or hilariously enough, just being played for a second or two, such as the scene with Elton playing some of his hits for Dick James before James makes him play something else.
As for the performances themselves, Taron Egerton KILLS IT as Elton John. When I first heard that the guy from the Kingsman movies was playing Elton, I was skeptical, but then someone suggested I check out Sing. Yes, the movie where anthropomorphic animals compete in an American Idol competition. Now, I didn’t check out the entire movie, but I checked out Taron Egerton’s gorilla character singing “I’m Still Standing” (one of my favorite songs by Elton John), and he rocks it. And then he rocks it again in Rocketman itself, so now I have three versions of “I’m Still Standing” on my running playlist.
This movie is almost a companion piece to Bohemian Rhapsody, not all that shocking considering the director of Rocketman (Dexter Fletcher) took over the production of Bohemian Rhapsody after director Bryan Singer was fired. John Reid, manager of both Elton John and Queen, is featured heavily in both movies. Hilariously enough, he’s played by Game of Thrones’ alums Richard Madden (Robb Stark) in Rocketman and Aidan Gillen (Littlefinger) in Bohemian Rhapsody. However, the Reid in Rocketman is completely different from the Reid in Rhapsody, as the Reid in Rhapsody is shown in a more sympathetic light. Richard Madden’s Reid is almost scary in his treatment of Elton John, especially during certain scenes I won’t spoil here.
If you’re an Elton John fan like me, you’ll really enjoy how the soundtrack is laid out throughout the entire film in a musical style. Unfortunately, “Step Into Christmas” isn’t in the movie, but still, go see it, it’s on Blu-Ray and digital tomorrow as of this writing.