Open Your Eyes, Look up to the Skies, and See Bohemian Rhapsody
By Arden Y
The new movie Bohemian Rhapsody is a true “rags to riches” story, and it details the triumph of the human spirit. Currently 93% fresh from the audience and 62% fresh from the critics on Rotten Tomatoes, it is a movie that will leave you deeply inspired, and maybe even make you shed a few tears.
It will introduce a whole new generation of fans to the famous band Queen, and create a new genre of movies honoring rock legends.
The movie is about Queen, a popular rock band during the 70s and 80s. The movie focused on the life of lead singer Freddie Mercury, who, in the film, is played by Rami Malek.
The movie did an amazing job of honoring a real life underdog, and giving viewers someone to relate to and root for.
Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar, which is an island off the coast of Africa. In his late teens, he and his family moved to England.
The movie followed Freddie as he met his fellow band members, Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy). The two were performing in a bar with their band, Smile. In a crazy coincidence, their lead singer had just quit and Freddie, who enjoyed singing and writing his own songs, came upon them. John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) who played bass, joined the band shortly after.
That’s how Queen was created.
While focusing on the rise and fall of the band and their many hits (including We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, and the six minute rock epic Bohemian Rhapsody, the movie’s namesake), the movie also centered around the fact the Freddie was homosexual.
Another factor that the movie focused on, although briefly, was Freddie’s struggle with AIDS. He died in 1991 at the age of 45 due to the illness.
Rami Malek’s proformace was one of the highlights of the movie. He nailed Freddie’s personality perfectly, from the way he moved to the fake teeth he used to make them look more like the real Freddie’s.
One of his most powerful acting scenes was when Queen performed at Live Aid. Live Aid was a concert held on July 13, 1985, where many bands came together to raise money for famine in Africa, making no money themselves. The scene would be consided one of the best in the movie, like how Queen’s real historical performance is considered one of their greatest live performances of all time.
What was impactful about this concert was that Queen came back to perform after a gap of inactivity. The movie took great effort in recreating Queen’s performance almost exactly. Although they cut out a few songs, it was practically spot on. The impact of the scene was enough to make life long Queen fans truely emotional.
While the movie was a masterpiece in its own right, there were some historical facts that were off.
For example, Freddie had already known May and Taylor before Queen started, rather than meeting them by chance like the movie represented it. He also met his first lover, Mary Austin, differently than the movie depicted. In reality, he knew Mary because one of his band members dated her first. In the movie, he randomly met her one night and their relationship kicked off from there. The movie also changed the chronological order in which some of Queen’s songs were released.
Another thing that was slightly different, was that, they added a character who didn’t support Queen to add drama, even though this person didn’t exist in real life (although it is ironic because Mike Myers, who played the added character, was a star on the popular Saturday Night Live skit Wayne’s World, on which he was famous for supporting and promoting Queen).
These changes would be distracting to people who grew up with Queen, but since it is a movie, they work. The movie needed to make some changes so that the story would flow better and be an overall dramatic experience. Although it is always best to stick to the facts of the story, the changes were small compared to the facts that the movie did do justice to.
The real Brian May and Roger Taylor helped to oversee and direct Bohemian Rhapsody, and they didn’t want the movie to focus of Freddie’s struggles with AIDS and his personal life. They wanted people to appreciate the hard work he did and how they created the groundbreaking music.
On another note, the direction and artistic aspect of the movie was breathtaking. From Freddie’s costumes which were strikingly simular to the orginal, to the lights and sets of the stage, the film had a beautiful mix of effects. One rememorable part was when the actors recreated the music video of Bohemian Rhapsody, which featured just their heads in a black background.
If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it is a fantastic experience. There’s something in the film for all fans, old and new, to enjoy. The main goal of the movie was to do justice to and honor Queen. From Rami Malek’s incredible acting as Freddie, to Bryan Singer’s thoughtful direction, and to Freddie’s multiple cats (let’s be real here, they stole the show) the movie succeeded. Freddie Mercury and Queen will forever be remembered as one of the greats.