Is Rocketman Better Than Bohemian Rhapsody?

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Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody are both biopics of legendary musicians Elton John and Queen, respectively. But are they both good and accurate? Is Rocketman better than Bohemian Rhapsody?

Technically, Rocketman is not dramatically better than Bohemian Rhapsody. But it is a more accurate depiction of the actual events of Elton John’s rise to fame than Bohemian Rhapsody is of Queen and Freddie Mercury. Rocketman doesn’t manipulate the timeline of events and doesn’t sugarcoat the truth. 

But both films are honestly fantastic.

Many fans have observed the historical inaccuracy in Bohemian Rhapsody and accused it of manipulating certain moments in the band’s history.

At the same time, others accused the film of glorifying some of the troubled parts of Freddie’s life. But which biopic is worth watching, and what do the musicians feel about these films?

Let’s explore some more details!

Is Rocketman worth watching?

Rocketman is well worth watching. It is a critically acclaimed movie that has been described as a “performance worth watching”. Taron Egerton’s performance is commendable and his acting and his singing skills are spot-on. 

Rocketman portrays Elton John (played by Taron Egerton) strolling in the music world in full regalia.

As he became familiar with a few faces in the industry, Elton befriended Bernie Taupin-who wrote most of the lyrics for Elton’s songs.

But why didn’t John write his lyrics? 

I have tried exploring the answer in a recent article where you will also learn more about Bernie and Elton’s chemistry. Just click that link to read it on my site.

As the movie proceeds, it becomes a crazy-explosive celebration of the rise and fall of the pop star. Fans get a clear insight into Elton’s struggles with drugs and his famous argument with his manager, who many think ripped him off at one point. Ironically that manager also managed Queen.

Not familiar with the story? 

Luckily, I made sure to talk about it in my recent article. I have also discussed how Elton’s love affair with his manager came to a bitter end following an accusation. Just click that link to read it on my site.

By the end of the movie, viewers experience never-seen-before parts of their favorite star’s life. Taron Egerton’s acting and singing skills are pleasant to the eyes.

He doesn’t shy away from putting his heart out in the movie and making it as earthbound as possible.

Is Bohemian Rhapsody like Rocketman?

Bohemian Rhapsody is like Rocketman in that both are similarly styled movies that detail the rise to fame of 1970s rock stars Queen and Elton John. Both films also deal with the burgeoning sexuality and addiction issues of Mercury and Elton, respectively.

Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody revisit the life of British rock stars Elton John and Freddie Mercury, whose careers launched in the 1970s.

Many critics have questioned how both biopics are different from each other. In comparison, some think that Bohemian Rhapsody exaggerated some of the events; in many cases, it made up things entirely new to fit the story.

a critic wrote for the Daily Beast:

“The movie exploiting Mercury’s fatal disease as a dramatic device as he comes out positive to his bandmates during Live Aid rehearsals is historically inaccurate,”

The movie also presents a manipulative version of the tragedy of Freddie’s AIDS as a punishment for gay promiscuity.

But the aspects that the movie stays true to are parts that reflect the sheer power of Freddie’s powerful vocals and his ability to sway the audience.

Exploring his vocal range, I found many people were often confused about Freddie’s octave range. 

So, I made sure to give you a concrete answer in my recent article. Just click that link to read it on my site.

What did Elton John think of Bohemian Rhapsody?

Elton said the following upon the film’s release:

“Bohemian Rhapsody was a film for everyone, and it worked brilliantly. It brought the great music of Freddie Mercury to a whole bunch of people who had never heard of him.” 

Bohemian Rhapsody experienced tremendous box office success winning multiple awards. However, Elton stood proud of his film too.

When asked how he found his biopic different from Bohemian Rhapsody, he replied:

“Ours told the truth even though it’s a fantasy…My life can’t be sugar-coated, and I didn’t want it to be.”

Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor responded to the criticism explaining “they intended to make a family-friendly film that celebrated their friendship together.”

In addition, many fans believed that the movie shied away from portraying the harsher realities of Freddie’s life, including his drug abuse, the time he was diagnosed with AIDS, and his sex life.

Nor did the movie show Freddie’s lowest points. In contrast, Freddie had openly talked about his illness and revealed the truth to close friends, bandmates, and family members.

Although Elton has encouraged the depiction in Bohemian Rhapsody, he feels his movie displayed “the ugly truth of his lifestyle and his unapologetic sex life.”

Did Rocketman or Bohemian Rhapsody win any awards?

Bohemian Rhapsody has won over 57 awards, including Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, Academy Awards, etc. Rocketman has also won prestigious awards like Golden Globe and Academy Awards. 

Here is a complete breakdown of the awards both films have won:

Bohemian Rhapsody

The movie was released in 2018 and has won the following awards:

  • Academy Award 
  • BAFTA 
  • Screen Actor Guild Awards 
  • AACTA International Awards 
  • AARP Movies for Grownups Awards 2019
  • American Cinema Editors, USA 2019
  • Blogos de Oro
  • British Film Designers Guild Awards 
  • German Dubbing Awards 
  • Golden Globes 

Rocketman

The movie was released in 2019 and has won the following awards:

  • Academy Awards 
  • Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards 
  • Gold Derby Awards 
  • Golden Globes 
  • Hawaii Film Critics Society 
  • Hollywood Critics Association 

But many fans believe that awards speak for themselves, and in most cases, it may be true. However, it is not the only parameter to consider judging a movie’s success.

There are other aspects to be considered as well- for example, film editing, sound editing, best picture, sound mixing, screenplay, and direction.

How does Elton feel about Rocketman?

The musical icon said that he didn’t want to glorify his past, and watching the biopic for him was “difficult” as the movie delved into some of the darker moments of his life that he had forgotten. 

Elton’s biopic follows his musical journey to becoming one of the most renowned pop stars of the era. The movie follows the musician’s past struggles with addiction, mental illness, and the question of his sexuality from his teen years.

Speaking about the importance of the movie, Elton John told The Daily Telegraph: 

“This is how my life was, and I didn’t want to cover it. It was difficult to watch because I thought, ‘God, I don’t want to go back there. Thank God I came out of it.” 

Feeling unable to continue reliving the experience, he also explained how his addiction impacted his fame.

He explained: “Success was fantastic, and I couldn’t cope with it. And you can’t leave out the bad.” 

But Elton was all praises for Taron’s performance and singing in the film. He said he was blown away by Taron’s performance.

Bohemian Rhapsody vs Rocketman: Empathy & Perspective | A Video-Essay

Conclusion

Fans know that Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody follow the rise and fall of two great artists Sir Elton John and Queen’s frontman Freddie Mercury including their addiction and promiscuity.

However, when it comes to comparing both, fans believe that Rocketman is far better than Bohemian Rhapsody in technicality and dramatization. They believe that Bohemian Rhapsody is historically inaccurate.

In those aspects, Rocketman is better than Bohemian Rhapsody because it portrays an accurate picture of Elton’s life as it happened.


Image by Alexander Lesnitsky from Pixabay and Image by ykaiavu from Pixabay

Jeff Campbell

Hi, I'm Jeff Campbell, a former DJ, music journalist, musician, and music lover. I'm old enough to have seen all the cool bands and young enough to still remember them.

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