Sandy Kenyon reviews 'Rocketman': Pales in comparison to 'Bohemian Rhapsody'

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Friday, May 31, 2019
Sandy Kenyon reviews 'Rocketman': Pales in comparison to 'Bohemian Rhapsody'
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Sandy Kenyon reports on the Elton John biopic "Rocketman."

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The much-anticipated film "Rocketman" hits theaters this weekend, but does it live up to the hype, particularly in the wake of "Bohemian Rhapsody"?

I am puzzled, wondering why my opinion is so sharply opposed to critics who have been falling all over themselves praising the Elton John biopic -- a movie that bored me and fails to do justice to an artist whose music I have enjoyed for decades.

In many ways, it is an impossible task to play one of the most dynamic entertainers of the 20th century, with one of the most distinctive voices in all of rock.

Taren Egerton gets an "A" for effort, and it helps that he bears a physical resemblance to the man he plays.

He'd be terrific in a supporting part, playing Elton in a movie like, say, "Bohemian Rhapsody," but I sure missed the charisma and presence that helped earn Rami Malek an Oscar as the late Freddie Mercury.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Rocketman" share the same tendency to gloss over the truth. Yes, gloss over, because as tough as some of the scenes shown here appear, the truth was even harsher; and it doesn't help that the makers of "Rocketman" have confused an AA meeting with a therapy session.

What I liked is the way this movie explores the relationship between the pianist who wrote the music and Bernie Taupin, who provided the words. Together, they wrote so many great tunes, and that rich legacy deserves a better movie than this one.

Watching this made me want to go home and listen to Elton John's original songs as he performed them, and savor again his unique and original voice. That is so much better than seeing this pale imitation.

If "Rocketman" serves to introduce you to Elton John's music, then you will like it better than those of us who have grown up listening to his unique sound.


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