ROCKETMAN Review

“I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues” is one of my favorite songs of all time. Like, I would rank it as being among one of the best song's ever written...that's how much I love it. My mother's side of the family being from England I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know who Elton John was. It’s not so much the lyrical content itself that moved me as a young man for I couldn’t have grasped what Bernie Taupin was expressing through his lyrics, but there was always something about the tone of the music and the clarity of the melody in an Elton John song that would inherently move myself and countless others, obviously. I don’t know what exactly was meant by, “And it won't be long before you and me run-to the place in our hearts where we hide,” but I know how it made me feel; I know that it made me stop and take more time to recognize what was happening in my life at that given moment and realize that no matter what stage of life I’m in that it won’t be that way for long and to cherish those moments as life isn’t measured by how long we have, but by what we do with the time we’re given. A little deep, right? To say that I was hoping for the same type of emotional reaction to director Dexter Fletcher’s Rocketman is accurate and while it would be largely impossible for a two-hour visual interpretation of Elton John’s life to measure up to such high hopes there was the optimism that Fletcher might be able to pull it off as the opening moments of the film suggested this wasn't your typical musical biopic. Sure, we begin with the Elton John of the early eighties entering rehab with it serving as a platform for John to reflect on the entirety of his life, but while the framing device may be familiar you've never quite seen it service the story as it does in Rocketman. Fletcher's film is a full-on fantasy in many regards meaning this isn't a movie about Elton John's life as it actually happened, but the story of Elton John's life as Elton John remembers it. This setting of expectations paired with the flashing through of John's childhood that culminates in "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" and a full-on, flat-out, undisputable musical number complete with dance interludes gives the impression that Fletcher mastered how not to just convey the events of his subject's life, but capture the essence of what it might have been like to live as Elton John. From this moment on though, Rocketman never gains the same momentum that it bubbles over with during "Saturday" and though it offers some technically inventive filmmaking and creative interpretations of several Elton John classics the film itself is never as emotionally moving or rousing as the songs themselves. 


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