Dexter Fletcher shoots for the stars with Rocketman


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Poster for Rocketman featuring Taron Egerton, who recently won a Best Actor Golden Globe for his role as Sir Elton John.

In a year filled with steep competition for musical movies, Rocketman shines in a biographical fantasy on the flamboyant and talented life of Elton John (Taron Egerton).

The movie brings Elton John to both new generations and generations of old in a fantastical take on the many successes and hardships of his early life. The movie can best be compared to the 2018 release of Bohemian Rapsody, and similar to it, Rocketman offers remastered editions of classic songs that are still fantastic listens. Beyond the music, the movie stays true to Elton’s flamboyant nature and uses dazzling special effects to give watchers a glimpse into the creative strengths he possessed.

Intended for mature audiences, the movie accepts the difficult situations Elton went through on his path through the music industry, and illustrates how he overcame them and learned to be confident in how he expressed himself. Rocketman is full of heart and stays truthful to the life of Elton John. As a heads up to anyone interested in the movie, it may make certain people uncomfortable due to its focus on the homosexual side of Elton’s life. If you feel that watching someone be blatantly gay for the duration of the movie will make you uncomfortable, then it is safe to say that the movie and Elton John are simply not for you.

Cover for Rocketman 2019 by Swarovski Group

Rocketman went through almost 15 years of production before its final release in 2019. Beginning in the early 2000’s, the movie began development under Focus Features and director Michael Gracey. In fact, the role of Elton John was first given to Tom Hardy instead of Taron Egerton. Upon experiencing creative differences in 2014, Hardy and Gracey left the project and development was halted until Paramount Pictures took over its distribution and a new cast was set. This time around Egerton and Dexter Fletcher were hired to create the project viewers enjoyed in cinema.

The film follows a middle-aged Elton entering a rehab center to discuss his problems with self-hate to an addiction support group. The rest of the movie takes place either as a flashback he is retelling to the group or shots of him in the support group. He talks about his beginnings as a prodigy and how his dad leaving inspired his decision to perform his music. From there we follow Elton to his ultimate signing with DJM Records and his introduction to manager Ray Williams (Charlie Rowe) and his lyricist Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell). Elton and Bernie become quite close and it is then revealed that Elton is in fact a homosexual. However, this does not irk Bernie and they continue to bond and develop their friendship. Elton and Bernie create songs together until eventually the classic “Your Song” is made and they get the opportunity to perform the song at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.

After nailing his performance, Elton is approached by a manager John Reid (Richard Madden) and his negative influence on Elton sends him on a downward spiral that is crippling to Elton’s self-esteem and health. The film uses these negatives to explore a truthful retelling of Elton’s life, and the movie clearly expresses the themes of individuality and the importance of having true friends. The plot is overall very interesting and will attract both people who have known Elton’s story and newcomers alike.

Taron Egerton winning Golden Globe for Best Actor by Billboard

The leads of the movie do a great job, especially Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, and Richard Madden. Taron fully embraces the identity of Elton and fully expresses the pain Elton had to suffer through in order to become great. His voice is surprisingly good as well considering his past roles in action films like Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) and Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017). His casting is surprising, yet highly effective and his relationships with fellow costars Jamie and Richard are highly believable and entertaining. It is for this reason that Taron recently won a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance. Jamie Bell’s performance as Bernie is equally as convincing as Taron’s, and fully fleshes out the secret behind the lyrics of Elton’s songs and what his support system was like. Richard’s work also as the antagonist, delivers a full performance and acts as the devil’s advocate in Elton’s life. He is playfully evil and is convincing enough for viewers to begin to hate him just as much as Elton begins to. This role is a stark contrast from his work as a protagonist in the popular television series Game of Thrones.

Support roles in the film are equally as effective, in particular, Elton’s mom (Bryce Dallas Howard). Howard matches the energy of Taron equally and delivers an inspired performance. Elton’s father (Steven Mackintosh) also feels perfect for the role as an unmoved and impassive father. Charlie Rowe also puts in a decent performance as Taron’s first manager, Ray Williams, before being replaced by Richard’s character.

The film is impressive technically and uses heavy special effects in order to transport viewers into the mind and life of Elton. This becomes incredibly important as trippy music montages become more and more extravagant the further Elton falls from grace. The extravagance of the special effects is effectively used to illustrate Elton’s relationship with drugs and alcohol, and the more under the influence Elton is when he performs the dreamier the special effects will feel. This really allows viewers to feel for and connect with Elton as well as understand some of the meaning behind his content. The costuming and design involved is impressive as well, given all the different flamboyant costumes Elton wore when he performed. Each costume tells a new story and ties in directly to the tales told by the special effects during musical numbers.

Overall, the film is an impressive and inspiring work of one of the greatest artists this century. Fans both new and old will be pleased with the remastered songs and performances put in by the actors. The film acts as a message for people to not be afraid to fully express themselves and their own unique talents. Although a little jarring at first, the movie is one that will satisfy most fans.