In Cinemas Now
Taron Egerton is Elton John in this fantasy biopic that recounts his years as a young prodigy through to his musical partnership with Bernie Taupin.
"Rocketman is an epic musical that follows the transformation of shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into international superstar Elton John (Egerton). Set to Sir Elton's most beloved songs — performed by Egerton — the film tells the inspirational story of how a small-town boy became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture. Also starring Jamie Bell (as John's songwriting partner Bernie Taupin), Richard Madden, and Bryce Dallas Howard." (Toronto International Film Festival)
- Bay Of Plenty
- Hawke's Bay
- Nelson-Tasman Bay
- Taupo-Central Plateau
- West Coast
- Dexter Fletcher('Eddie the Eagle', 'Sunshine on Leith', 'Wild Bill')
Drama, Fantasy, Music, True Story & Biography
Rating: M Sex scenes, offensive language & drug use
It’s been nearly 20 years since Elton John first started trying to get a film made about his life. Now the wait is finally over with the arrival of Rocketman, the visually stunning, audaciously slanted musical biopic dedicated to the flamboyant singer’s rise from obscurity to fame and fortune.
Directed by Dexter Fletcher (who also took over the reins for Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody after Bryan Singer’s banishment) and boasting producer credits for Elton and his husband David Furnish, Rocketman wisely forgoes any claims to realism, taking us instead on the sparklingly spectacular journey he took from shy, neglected child prodigy to petulant, out of control alcoholic.
Elevated considerably by a charming, transformative performance by Taron Egerton, as music biopics go it’s all rather standard fare, luxuriating in the extravagance of its subject’s stage persona while pointedly insisting on his role as a hapless victim behind the scenes: of horrible, uncaring parents; his own irrepressible talent; and, of course, sinister rock n’ roll types intent on stuffing him full of drugs, gassing him up and sucking him dry.
Yet as we know (and as a cheery epilogue reminds us) Elton’s life is hardly a tragedy—and having been apparently sober, happy and extremely wealthy for the past 30 years, there is a distinct (and delicious) pettiness at the heart of Rocketman that thankfully gives its more maudlin moments at edge.
In fact, despite apparently embracing the spirit of forgiveness at the end of the film, the cartoonish villainy with which his various foes are depicted—in particular his mother (Bryce Dallas-Howard) and his ex-lover John Reid (Richard Madden)—makes it pretty clear that Elton does not in fact excuse any of these people and instead the film takes obvious joy in airing them out. Is it any wonder he spent so long trying to get it made?
There is nothing subtle, nor particularly insightful, about Rocketman, but whether he’s hugging his childhood self the way his father never did, or literally taking off into the sky like a rocket at the crescendo of the song Rocket Man, it seems Elton’s dream has at last been realised in the form of a fun, self-serving, sing-a-long-able romp that is at its best when it’s being as much a diva as its subject.
Los Angeles Times
Total Film (UK)
TimeOut (New York)
Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)
Rocketman (Official Review)
I thought Rocketman did alright. I like how it unfolds Elton John’s story which was really interesting. It was definitely like Bohemian Rhapsody. I do think it was a little too ‘explicit’ for a PG-13 rating. In heaps of scenes in the movie it was very boring let’s say. But I thought it was a pretty alight film by its self.
I thought I was seeing a Ron Howard film about Buzz Aldrin ?
Side one of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was my requested bedtime music as a 5 year old. Now as a middle aged jaded old man this film had me realize that while I don't own any of Elton's album's, I've apparently been carrying a 'best of' in my emotional psyche. All the hits where there...and the film's title song sequence was phenomenal.
This film does many things better than Bohemian Rhapsody, most importantly it takes it's time telling the story, whereas Boh-Rap rushed everything along in order to get Live Aid. Back to my 'emotional best of' the music ques are genius in how they propel the drama and a personal reminder of just how his songs have been around me growing and just how damn good those songs are. Queen had the anthems but Taupin/Dwight wrote masterpieces - I'm about ready to purchase a Best of the Bitch CD for my midlife car stereo.
This emerging Rock'n'Roll Cinematic Universe is a winner in that as viewer, the enjoyment of the music whisks you into the story.
P.S. I remember years ago sitting in a rather empty and beautifully air-conditioned Imax one summer afternoon with my popcorn, choc top & coke waiting The Dark Knight to screen. Elton John's 'Blue Eyes' was playing over the sound system ...at the time I sat in tranquil bliss dipping my popcorn into my ice cream thinking, "Damn this song IS really good!"
It's vibrant, magical and poignant when necessary; with overall fantastic performances/music and good directing making up for it's mostly on point pacing and rather conventional plot.
Okay, so less of a biopic more a greatest hits. This is HIS story about what he had to overcome to become a legend. I am not a fan of musicals and neither am I an Elton fan but this flick has the heart and charm to carry it's own weight. There were villains aplenty and very few good guys on his way up the ladder to success according to Elton so a grain of salt is needed, but Taron Egerton does a sterling job and there are plenty of solid performances around him including the wonderful Jamie Bell. Lovely to look at, and well musically arranged ,this is entertaining enough for even non fans. Elton's lifestyle choices preclude this from being a movie for the young which is a shame really as the suggestion is that any little battler can win with talent, hard work and persistence. Silly specs optional.