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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Rocketman 2019 * * 1/2 Stars

RocketmanDirector: Dexter Flecher
Year: 2019
Rated R
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden

If Michael Gracey directed a musical a la the 1960's, 70's, 80's or early 90's, the result would be 2019's Rocketman (my latest review).

Taron Egerton gives a committed (and raw ) performance as Rocketman's main lead and legendary musical icon, Sir Elton John. The only problem is he does the actual singing of Elton's jams and well, he's pitch-y and not much of a singer. 

Image result for Rocketman movie scenesIn Rocketman, Elton John's life is chronicled from his distant childhood with his parents to his rise to stardom to his life-changing rehab stint in 1990. The film is rooted in fantasy, reality, trances, and scenes involving various characters breaking into song. I liked the actuality of the story but the fantasy elements and almost everything else zap Rocketman of having any sustained, dramatic momentum.  

Containing decent acting, a lot of splashy visuals, and a sort of combative narrative, Rocketman gets some of its timelines wrong just like in last year's Bohemian Rhapsody ("Don't Go Breaking My Heart" wasn't recorded before "Bennie and the Jets", "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", and/or "Honky Cat"). Plus, the movie doesn't rely on being credibly artsy and succumbs to having a saturated, candy coated TV feel. 

Still, Egerton dons glittery garb and gives it his all (despite looking more like a young Ewan McGregor than Elton John). And there's excellent supporting work by an almost unrecognizable Bryce Dallas Howard (she plays Elton's aloof mom, Sheila Eileen). 

Image result for Rocketman movie scenesBottom line: I've been a fan of Elton John's music (and Bernie Taupin's lyrics) for pretty much my entire life. Their early stuff from the albums Tumbleweed Connection to Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy is my vivid, euphonious childhood.

Nimbly paced musically without giving the viewer ample time to breathe, Rocketman is a so-so tribute to Elton's long-lived life that could have done without the miscued, Greatest Showman treatment. Rating: 2 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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