Swanner: Rocketman follows the life and career of Elton John. If you’re thinking this is a bio picture, you’re almost right. This film is more of a fabulous musical based of the life and songs of Elton John. The film starts with Elton entering rehab dressed as the devil. He sits down and starts to share his story from when he was a young boy living in London in the 1950’s with a head-in-the-clouds mother and a bastard of a father,. When the family realizes he has musical talent they started lessons. At 11, he won a junior scholarship to the Royal Academy of the Music.
Judd: Rocketman stars Aaron Egerton (Elton John), Jamie Bell (Bernie Taupin), Bryce Dallas Howard (Elton’s mother Sheila), and Richard Madden (manager/lover John Reid) and is directed by relative newcomer Dexter Fletcher, with the screenplay by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot, War Horse, Victoria & Abdul). The film is a powerhouse of talent on screen and off, and Rocketman does not disappoint.
Swanner: People are going to immediately compare this to Bohemian Rhapsody since they are both dealing with 70’s rock stars. Bohemian Rhapsody was telling the story of Freddie Mercury and Queen in a very by-the-book bio pic way. Pretty straight forward. Rocketman plays with John’s songs by using them where they fit the situation, and not following a definitive timeline. It works because fans who demand the truth in a bio pic, Rocketman can do whatever works for the film.
Judd: I did like the way they kept certain time periods vague. We knew when it was the late 60s, the 70s, and when we moved into the 80s-early 90s. The script moves as a phenomenal pace, and the movie never slows down. Egerton’s performance must be given full credit for giving a relatable, human side to the self-indulgent, histrionic, tantrum-throwing, Elton John.
Swanner: Egerton is the film. All the other performances are great, but the film is about Elton John. Not one time in this film did I feel he wasn’t Elton John. This is a career making performance and the Oscar race has officially started. Don’t be surprised if this isn’t it’s own Broadway musical in a few years. Rocketman is a big screen must see.
Swanner: 4 stars
Judd: 4 stars