The Aventina

Bohemian Rhapsody: Not Quite a Champion

Lucie Dumont, Reporter, Editor

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“I like formulas”, says a greedy record producer in Bohemian Rhapsody. Clearly, he’s not alone, as the new Freddie Mercury musical seems to rely on Hollywood’s tired biopic formula. One would expect a film about a rock star famous for his nonconformism to adopt his unique reputation, but sadly Bryan Singer’s account adheres to every cliche in the book.

With a special focus on lead vocalist Freddie Mercury, the film chronicles the rise of Queen up until their legendary performance at Live Aid, which many have dubbed to be the greatest rock performance of all time. Mercury is played by Rami Malek (Mr. Robot), whose moving performance gives the superstar the justice he deserves, even though the rest of the movie didn’t. Starting in his late teens working at Heathrow airport, the film follows Mercury as he meets his bandmates and experiences fame, all while struggling with realizations about his sexuality and, later, his AIDS diagnosis.

The film is riddled with cliches, from assertions of eccentricity like making “misfit music for misfit people” to a rock star’s exaggerated lifestyle symbolizing his loneliness (which wasn’t necessarily true for Mercury’s case despite what is being forced upon us). When the film wasn’t being conformed to banality, odd choices were made- even creating a fictional character called Ray Foster, a money hungry record producer played by Mike Myers, who you weren’t sure whether you were supposed to laugh at or take seriously. Though this could be due to Myers contributing to the return of “Bohemian Rhapsody” to the charts when he played it in 1992’s Wayne’s World, the cameo seems like an awkward way to pay homage.

The film had its moments, however, as the concert scenes were packed with energy and managed to convince you that you were watching replays of the real shows in HD. The crowning scene was the final one, at the famed Live Aid concert, where classics such as “We are the Champions”, “Radio Ga Ga”, and of course “Bohemian Rhapsody” were played. The replication of the awe-inspiring event was perfect, giving us a sense of the magnitude and the overwhelming sensations felt both by Mercury and his 72,000 member audience.

It’s safe to say the best parts of the long-awaited film were the concert scenes- seeing as they were just replicas of the real thing and not too reliant on the film-makers’ abilities. In between concerts and recording sessions you found yourself just waiting for the next song to sing along to, and so did the movie. With its cheesy dialogue and odd reshaping of real events, Bohemian Rhapsody seemed like an excuse to show off flashy costumes and play everyone’s favorite Queen songs, making it a missed opportunity to honor the superstar.

 

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Bohemian Rhapsody: Not Quite a Champion