Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Bohemian Rhapsody)

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Bohemian Rhapsody is owned by 20th Century Fox and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners

Directed by Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher

OH MAMA MIA!  Has the day finally come for this biopic to see the light of day!?  A Queen biopic has been floating around in Hollywood for a solid decade at the least, and I remember when they were ready to go on one starring Sacha Barron Cohen as Freddie Mercury which is certainly something I would have loved to see but sadly ended up falling through like all the other attempts.  Now that we have the very first teaser trailer for this biopic, does it assuage the anxieties of eager fans as to whether Queen can be done justice on the big screen!?  Let’s find out!!

Initial impressions are… okay I guess.  You really shouldn’t expect TOO much to come out of a teaser trailer and we’ll surely get a few more before the film’s release in November, but I think they at least set the right tone to build up some hype before they start showing the meat of what this biopic will be about.  The music playing over the whole teaser is a mashup of a bunch of queen lyrics over the beat to We Will Rock You which sounds a BIT awkward at points (ESPECIALLY with the chorus to Killer Queen), but it actually works surprisingly well when layered over Bohemian Rhapsody.  We really don’t get any details on the plot other than the making of Bohemian Rhapsody will be a major subplot and that there’ll be a crap load of concert scenes throughout.  The actors look fine I guess with Rami Malek (Mr Robot) as Front Man Freddie CLEARLY getting the spotlight.  If I were to complain about one thing though, I’d say that he doesn’t quite look right as young Freddie with long hair even though he looks absolutely spot on for Mustache Freddie.

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“I can eat this microphone whole, and it’ll be the most beautiful thing you could imagine!”

Here’s the thing about Queen.  I’m PROBABLY in the majority of “Queen Fans” out there in that I LOVE a good chunk of their music, but honestly couldn’t tell you much about the band itself.  Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You, Killer Queen, Don’t Stop Me Now, Bicycle Race, these are songs that have been utterly ingrained into our cultural psyche; as much IF NOT MORE SO than The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and… okay PROBABLY not Michael Jackson, but they are DEFINITELY close!  And sure, it does ultimately depend on who you ask and where they’re from, but to me Queen has been more omnipresent in popular culture than pretty much any other band out there; despite not even being in the top forty of bestselling artist of all time.  THE BACKSTORY BOYS sold more albums than Queen did, yet I’m sure you can probably only name MAYBE five of their songs (the GOOD one and then a few of the ones that got radio play).  The point is that a biopic for them is a really brilliant idea because so many people can easily recognize the music right off the bat and would more than likely learn something new from a telling of the band’s story which as far as I can tell hasn’t been DONE yet in a movie!  That said, do I think they’ll actually capitalize on that?

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Look!  It’s Freddy Mercury, and… um… I think one of them is John?

Now this is just a teaser trailer so it’s still too early to tell what kind of biopic this will be, but if this IS anything to go on I’m guessing it’ll be one big celebration of their music rather than a genuine look at the band and its front man.  Now this wouldn’t NECESSARILY be a bad thing except that this is Queen and Freddie Mercury we’re talking about which denotes a certain amount of gravitas (similar to how Straight Outta Compton was about MUCH more than the individual members of the band) and even more problematically, early reports have said that the film will bypass the AIDS Crisis for the most part which is a downright travesty considering how important Mercury’s role was in it; especially in regards to his untimely death in 1991.  If 20th Century Fox wants one big party movie set to a phenomenal soundtrack, they should remake Highlander as a Rock Opera.  Freddie Mercury THE ROCK GOD cannot be separated from his identity as a gay/bi man and the hardships that he and others like him faced should not be swept under the rug to make a feel good music film.

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That certainly is a FABULOUS crown though!

Based on this one teaser, the subject matter at hand, and the people behind the camera, my guess is that this will be a HUGE missed opportunity.  As the first major Queen biopic to hit theaters (how the heck has it taken this long!?) there is a lot for them to live up to yet everything we’ve seen so far leaves me feeling rather uneasy.  Okay, Dexter Fletcher is a better choice than keeping Brian Singer on board (though we have no idea how much was done before he left), but one of the most important and influential bands of ALL TIME can only manage to rope in the director of Eddie the Eagle!?  Not even a Scorsese producing credit!?  This is probably gonna be a lot smaller and have far less impact than its subject matter deserves, which is a complete shame considering how much Freddie’s story can not only bring inspiration to many people but can also bring back to people’s minds the utter horror that was the AIDS Crisis in the eighties which I get the feeling that many in my generation don’t really get the scope of; yet another indictment of our education system that whitewashes history and is EXTREMELY squeamish about discussing recent acts of oppression within our society.  I mean, a fictionalized retelling of one person’s story during that time is HARDLY the one simple fix for all of that, but it’s a start!  I guess we’ll have to wait and see to find out if I’m right about that.  At least it’ll have a kick ass soundtrack.  That, and I’m guessing it’ll kick up Highlander Reboot rumors again which is always fun!  Remember when they almost roped Ryan Reynolds into one of those?

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