Bohemian Rhapsody Movie Review

6.5/10

A solid biopic. Bohemian Rhapsody is a fitting film about one of the world’s greatest bands and an iconic figure of music. While it’s not one of the best biopics ever made, it’s still a crowd pleaser and worth the watch.

The film explores the life of Freddie Mercury and his career as lead singer of Queen. It tracks Mercury’s recruitment into the band and leads all the way up to their historic performance at Live Aid. A large focus is put on capturing the singer’s struggles and successes in both his personal and professional life.

What works great the film’s themes of family and diligent determination to realises one’s expectation of themselves. Both ideas give a relatable human factor to the story, which is needed when dealing with a film about global rock stars.

I enjoyed how the band constantly referred to themselves as a family of misfits who play to other misfits like them. While a little cheesy, it helps humanise the superstar band as everyday individuals. It’s interesting to see the band compare their dynamics and internal conflicts to that of a typical family as Mercury would often point out.

I also liked the films focus on Mercury’s diligent determination to realise his expectations of himself. Mercury’s determination to improve himself and accomplish his dreams are relatable human values and it’s inspirational to see others strive towards their goals. I found myself being thoroughly engrossed in watching his talent shine throughout the course of the film.

My only issue with the story is that it’s quite predictable. There are familiar beats and obvious signals to pick up that make it simple to know where the film is going to go. Even if I was born on Mars and had never heard of Queen or Freddie Mercury, the arc of the story is easy to gather.

Production wise the performances and camera work were both entertaining to watch.

I particularly liked Rami Malek who (fittingly) stood out as Freddie Mercury. Apart from the costumes, his flamboyant demeanor and stage presence in the film would have made Mercury proud. There’s a lot of visible effort in his performance to try and match the same level of life as one of the best performers in musical history. Although this is ultimately impossible to do so, Malek should commend himself and be proud.

Finally, some of the camera work in the film was also interesting to watch. One sequence involved a continuous shot of a camera flying between the legs of a piano and then onto the large crowd. While shots like these didn’t come often, I appreciated that there was an effort made to include them and I thought they were a nice touch.

Overall Bohemian Rhapsody is a solid biopic. Even if it feels safe* and predictable, the film works well as a crowd pleaser and I still enjoyed myself. Yes, it’s not the greatest biopic ever made but it’s still worth the watch. Especially for the epic finale which on its own feels incredible. See it.

*I wonder what the film would have looked like if Sacha Baron Cohen had played Freddie Mercury and realised his initial vision for the singer. Link here to the interview where he discussed this.

Alice Through The Looking Glass Movie Review

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS4/10

Disney’s sequel to Alice in Wonderland is a film that like its predecessor, squanders its potential through its mediocre plot and instead provides yet another unworthy adaptation to film. It seems that Lewis Carrol’s beloved classic will still be waiting for the day it receives the motion picture justice it so rightfully deserves.

Director James Bobin once again uses its main leads of Mia Wasikowska, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and of course Johnny Depp, to reprise their roles from the previous movie. However, the story takes a swift turn in focus from the previous installation by pouring attention heavily on the Depp’s character the Hatter and his troubled past. Alice (Wasikowska) is tasked with traveling back in time to investigate and prevent such past events in the Hatters life in order to save her good friend from a heartbreaking end – literally.

This overall arch in the plot to save her dear friend serves as a reminder of two themes that are continuously made apparent to the audience. The first being that nothing is impossible unless you believe it to be and the latter being that you can never change the past but only hope to learn from it. Whilst these ideas give the film potential to become a possible Disney classic, Bobin loses touch with these themes and instead becomes lost in a sea of bizarre plot devices from one scene to the next. Devices that aim to have almost no purpose with the rest of the plot of the film.

For example, at the beginning of the film, we are introduced to the conflict between Alice and her mother with her actions to turn over the deed of the house and ship to Alice’s former lover, Lord Hamish Ascot. Soon after this argument takes place, Alice is swept up once more into the realm of Underland to save the Hatter’s life but the argument with her mother is never explored or mentioned again until the end of the film. By then, we can already predict how the issue will resolve itself but its relevance to the rest of the film’s themes is completely negligible. It almost has no point of being in the film other than to generate a point of conflict for the sake of conflict and examples like this continue as the film progresses.

Having such quarrels with the plot, the film redeems itself through its high budgeted production and visuals that can be evidently seen throughout. Though filled with a high number of CGI scenes, they, in turn, add nice diversity and colour palette to the magical world of Underland. A particular mention should be given to Sacha Baron Cohen’s character of Time (a literal personification), whose intricate and detailed series of gears and windings highlight the films visual aspects. In doing so, Tim Burton’s vision from the last film retains its shape and it remains faithful to its origin as a wondrous landscape with bright and vivid characters.

Whilst visuals make a film nice to look at, they, unfortunately, do not make it enjoyable in the end. Greats films serve as vehicles for great stories to be told and it’s herein that lies the main fault of Alice through the Looking Glass. Questionable plot choices and conveniences throughout hinder the important messages of the film and instead downgrade it to yet another average viewing. However, I still believe in the films two main themes in that one day the impossible will be achieved and Alice in Wonderland will receive the A-grade film treatment it merits. ‘Till that day, let’s not focus on changing the past but hopefully learning from it.