You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn't heard of at least one Queen song. "We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You" are staples of any sporting event soundtrack. And thanks to "Wayne's World," we'll never hear "Bohemian Rhapsody" the same way again.
Now fans can embrace every Queen hit all over again with the new movie "Bohemian Rhapsody." The film feels like a love letter to Queen's music. I glanced around the theater during a recent media screening and almost everyone was bobbing their head or tapping their toes or singing with each song. The music is done so well, that it feels like you've left the theater, gone back in time, and are sitting front row at a Queen concert.
Actually, we were sitting in the front row so maybe that's why it felt that way.
And although the movie is about the band and the music, the real star is Freddie Mercury played by Rami Malek ("Mr. Robot"). During the performance scenes, he isn't aping Mercury's signature style, he's embodying it. Every fist pump, hip thrust and sweat-filled gyration felt like an homage to Freddie Mercury and it was electric to watch.
It's been over 25 years since Freddie Mercury died of AIDS-related bronchial pneumonia and this film does a beautiful job of taking us through the highs, and lows, of his life. Some have criticized the movie for "glossing over" Mercury's personal life and sexuality but it feels like they are missing the point. This movie isn't a Freddie Mercury biopic that needs to delve into the details of his sex life. This is a movie about Queen, how they came together, rocked our faces off, then tragically lost a talented member of the band. The scenes in the studio where the band is creating new sounds, finding a new energy and pushing boundaries of rock at the time are some of the most entertaining in the film.
It also feels like a celebration of their music and how someone can be on top of the world, yet feel so alone.
The Queen story is fleshed out by screenwriter Anthony McCarten ("The Darkest Hour"), no doubt after some input from surviving members of the band and people who were close to the band. And in some parts you're left wondering, is that really how he got the idea for this song? We may never know for sure, but it sure is fun to watch. Audiences can decide for themselves if this is the real life, or is it just fantasy.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" opens in theaters November 2nd. It stars Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton (Murder on the Orient Express), Gwilym Lee (Jamestown), Ben Hardy (The Women in White), Joe Mazzello (Jurassic Park), and Mike Myers (Austin Powers) as EMI Records' Ray Foster.