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Bohemian Rhapsody - Blu-ray Review

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Bohemian Rhapsody - Movie Review

There are few people in the world who don’t know the name Freddie Mercury, whether you’re a fan of Queen, born after he died, or have lived in a cave forever. As someone born the same year as one of Queen’s greatest hits, the title of this movie, it seems impossible that he’s not been amongst the living for 27 years!

During his life, Mercury’s ability to draw the crowds and hold their attention was hard to rival. Post his untimely demise, the power and ability to redraw new generations with that voice and creativity has only grown. He was truly a rare and gifted talent, bolstered by an equally gifted group of musicians that, together, gave the world some of the greatest songs in history.

"thoroughly entertaining biopic, with an excellent lead, that is told through the lens of the band. Because of this fact, it’s more gloss than introspection."


It was inevitable that at some point someone was going to want to explore the life of Mercury and Queen. In 2010, with the surviving band members permission, work was started to bring their story to the silver screen with Sasha Baron Cohen attached to star as Mercury. The dramas behind the scenes in getting the film into production could make a movie in itself. Needless to say, Cohen and Queen couldn’t come to terms, and a long game of musical chairs began with writers, actors and directors before Rami Malek was hired to play Mercury and Bryan Singer was given the director’s spot (for most of the production anyway-but that's another story).

What came out after years of false starts is Bohemian Rhapsody; a Mercury-centric life story that focuses on his ascension from luggage handler to icon.

The film’s greatest asset is the casting of Malek. He is a slighter man that Mercury was, but his immersion into the role, at moments throughout the film, is so good, you could find yourself thinking he was channeling the late singer.

It’s a briskly paced story that unloads the multiple facets of Mercury’s life efficiently; having said that, the sum total, especially the dialogue, seems a little contrived and formulaic and sometimes it’s downright on the nose.  The decision not to delve too deeply into Mercury’s homosexuality and his contracting of AIDS is going to be accused of playing it safe. But they don’t avoid it, and they present Mercury’s adversity with both himself, the media, and Queen quite beautifuly. I think it would be fair to say, because Mercury is no longer with us, the internal struggles could only be written from a second hand perspective, so any lack of depth may be boiled down to Queen not wanting to present anything that they weren’t privy to. That side of the late singer was something he lived predominately away from his band mates. But most of the well-known elements from his life; the adoration of Mary Austin, his love of cats, his insecurities, and his relish in performing are present, bookended by the Live Aid concert in 1985.

The most enjoyable thing about this movie was the depiction of the band on stage at the various points in their career. You never get full renditions of their performances, but what you do get moves the passage of time along nicely and sounds terrific.

Bohemian Rhapsody - Movie Review

This is a thoroughly entertaining biopic, with an excellent lead, that is told through the lens of the band. Because of this fact, it’s more gloss than introspection. I am sure they wanted to be as respectful and loving to Freddie Mercury as they could, but the instinct to (sometimes) rush past the darker parts of their journey, not explore any of Mercury’s final years, and focus more on the highs of their career is a little self-indulgent and comes off as sanitized.

Imperfect but worthy couple of hours to spend, watching a one of a kind lead singer and one of the greatest bands in the world. Listening to Queen in any setting is a gift.

3 stars

Bohemian Rhapsody - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content and language.
Runtime:
134 mins
Director
: Bryan Singer
Writer:
Anthony McCarten
Cast:
Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee
Genre
: Music | Biography
Tagline:
The only thing more extraordinary than their music is his story.
Memorable Movie Quote: "This is when the operatic part comes in."
Theatrical Distributor:
Twentieth Century Fox
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 2, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid. Facing a life-threatening illness, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.

Bohemian Rhapsody - Movie Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Available on Blu-ray
- February 12, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; English: Dolby Digital 2.0; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD-50, 1 DVD); Digital copy; Movies Anywhere; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

20th Century Fox has given the royal treatment to its home video release of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. The film, which stars Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, and Gwilym Lee gets a 1080p, 2.39:1 DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 treatment packaged in a bluy-ray + DVD + Digital HD edition with a matching cardboard slipcase.

The admiration the studio has for this release can be seen in the tender loving care given to both the video and audio handling of the film as well as in the ample extras and features that accompany the two-disc set. This is a near-perfect release that is a must-own for both hi-def lovers and Queen fans alike.

Among the first things you'll notice when you pop in the disc, are the clean crisp details, bright, perfectly-saturated colors, and deep dark velvet blacks that hold consistent throughout. It is a dark movie with many scenes taking place at night or in dimly-lit music halls. Yet details remain clean and crisp even within the darkest shadows. Skin colors always remain true while the moving array of nightclub spotlights cast nearly every scene in bright colors that always spring to life. Wait until you get a load of Freddie Mercury's outfits!

However, as expected from a rock film, the stars of the show are the music and the perfectly-attenuated sound design that are constantly on the move throughout the room. This is never more evident than in one particular scene as the band begins the experimental recording session of the song, Bohemian Rhapsody with the tinkling of all kinds of improvised gadgets and gizmos the band uses to attain their unique sound in the studio. We hear metal clanging to the right, drum heads thumping to the left, and a full 360 degree spectrum of Roger Taylor's "galileos" working around the room.

Yes, the film has many shortcomings and some even suggest it is being a bit overrated during the run-up to the Oscars. But once you pop this disc in and push play, it will become the love of your life as you're guaranteed to gain a new appreciation for both the band and the film's technical aspects.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None.

Special Features:

The disc is accompanied by nearly an hour and a half of special features, bonus footage, interviews, and Queen insight spread across four in-depth extras that feature commentary from the three surviving members of the band, producers, actors, and make-up and costume people. Noticeably absent on any of the features is director Bryan Singer. But there is plenty for everyone in the bonus material.

  • The Complete Live Aid Movie Performance (21:55) - This one is a bit misleading as it is not the actual Queen Live Aid performance from 1985, but rather the one filmed for the movie. However, it is a fascinating recreation of what many music experts continue to hail as one of the best live performances in rock history.
  • Rami Malek: Becoming Freddie (16:13 - Interesting interviews and footage from Abbey Road Studios as Malek sits for a discussion about his transformation into Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. We also hear from Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor, in addition to the movement coach who choreographed Malek's entire performance based on actual footage of Freddie from Queen's Live Aid performance.
  • The Look and Sound of Queen (21:44) - Discussions and interviews with Brian May and Roger Taylor who helped capture the look and feel of Queen as well as movements and idiosyncracies of the band members.
  • Recreating Live Aid (19:55) - A fascinating look at the amount of detail that went into the film's opening and closing scene that featured the band's 20-minute performance at Live Aid. This feature is the best of the lot and provides fascinating insight into the significance of the Live Aid event, location scouting, building of the stage, the digital green screen work, and the costumes. Oh, and keep an eye out for The Boomtown Rats' Bob Geldolf who was the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed founder of the Live Aid concert back in the day.

Bohemian Rhapsody - Movie Review

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