‘Bohemian Rhapsody’: An Enjoyable Mess


Tanner Bass, Contributing Writer

Picture 72,000 people in Wembley Stadium, In the same concert you saw rock icons like The Who, David Bowie, Paul Mccartney, Elton John, and U2. However, the concert has just gotten started as you hear “Ladies and Gentlemen…Queen!”, you see Freddy, Brian, Roger, and John rush onto the stage as you know this is about to be history. The story of Bohemian Rhapsody is about the rise, fall, and then triumph of Queen, as it leads to their performance at Live Aid in 1985.

This movie has a nice lineup of actors including Rami Malek, Ben Hardy, and Mike Myers. Rami Malek captures everything great about Freddie Mercury, from the way he walks, the way he talks, and the way he performs. However, every other actor in this movie falls flat as they give bland, uninspired performances, compared to Malek.

The pacing of this film did not help out the cast, as the first act blows through Queen history with no mention of their albums like Sheer Heart Attack, The Miracle, or even News of the World. Although they do show the creation of some of the songs on those albums, it seems like we’re missing part of Queen history because they tried to fit the entire story into a movie run-time length that is too short, which leaves a lot of information left out.

Almost the entire movie is played out in montages that describe the life cycle of each song. These montages were enjoyable with songs like Bohemian Rhapsody and We Will Rock You, but the montage formula quickly got old as it was repeated at least three more times throughout the film. The film also leaves a large chunk of Queen history out in favor of their more popular songs, which can be a bit disappointing for some people who are more informed about Queen’s history.

When the film finally starts to slow down, it slows down way too much. This happens near the end of the movie, at a turning point for most of the characters. The slower pace near the end introduces a great opportunity for the characters to abandon their bland character traits and truly shine, but the actors play it safe and continue to give a very shallow performance.

All of these criticisms proceed to be outshined by the Live Aid performance. The scene truly does the original performance justice in its full 25-minute glory. The camera moves in and around the stadium in a very fluid manner which creates a very realistic experience. The CGI crowds truly do justice to how many people were there and the way they react to the songs and actions of the band feels very natural. When I got home, I immediately rewatched their iconic performance and they were spot on with everything. The way Freddy improvised his lyrics differently in Bohemian Rhapsody, to the entire crowd clapping to Radio Ga Ga in the same robotic way as a reference to their music video.

While this movie falls into the same tropes as other music biopics have, Bohemian Rhapsody is very enjoyable because of the story of Queen. It may not be perfect, but I can recommend it to any Queen fan, or any fan of classic rock.