“Real love’s hard to come by. So you find a way to cope without it”
Review by Lewis Goodall
In the true Elton John nature, I feel like I should get someone else to write this review for me whilst I get all the credit for it.
Rocketman is recreation of the life of Elton Hercules John. Played by Taron Egerton, we see into the life of the flamboyant pop star as he breaks out of his “mummy and daddy don’t love me” phase and into stardom (and rectum as he discovers later in life).
Elton John isnt an artist I particularly have an interest in. Watching this film actually made me realise how many of his songs I know that I didnt actually realise were his. Being all about him, it went for the wise choice of featuring songs that were sung by Elton John. I wasnt expecting this film to be done in a musical style though, I was more envisioning a take a lot like ‘bohemian rhapsody’ where all the songs were sung normally instead of the surrounding extras joining in with the song as well. It felt very much like a splice between Mumma Mia and Bohemian Rhapsody, yeah, that’s a nice splice. Saying that I felt it was an off brand ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Rocketman was more Sainsburys basic.
The incorporation of the songs was good…. 50% of the time, other times just felt a bit cringey. I love a musical, but It has to be done well when someone randomly burst into song or it just looks ridiculous. I got that ridiculous vibe sometimes, purely because some actors started to sing and I really wasnt expecting them to. The songs themselves were good though, I’ll give them that, I will find myself listening to a Elton John song here and there now.
Moving onto the storyline itself. What do you, oh lord of saint Elton John have to offer us in terms of a story? What’s that? The same story as Freddie Mercury just with a lot less aids? Riiiiight I get you. The film is told over the course of an AA meeting where Elton confesses to the group everything about his life, starting from a wee little nipper who liked the piano and going through the years of how he became more famous and more hooked on copious amounts of cocaine and penis. I quite liked this idea as narrative in terms of him reciting his story to a group, felt that was nice but also I feel like a voice over wouldve added a lil something something to the film.
Right I’m just going to say it, I dont know why they made this film, although at the same time I can but at the same time no. My reason for this is because Elton John is still alive, I feel like this is usually done as a tribute when someone passes away but to me, honestly it feels like a cash grab after Bohemian Rhapsody, there, i said it, come at me Elton fans. The film just feels very generic and cliche. It’s your typical feel good film, I’m not necessarily a fan of feel good films because I find them all to be the same, but this one has an Elton John skin so if you’re a fan of him then I would recommend it.
Overal I feel like I probably would’ve enjoyed it more if ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ didnt exist, that being said I cant deny that this is a good film. Might not of been for me but I would certainly see why people would enjoy it. It has a full helping of his songs and gives a backstory to the superstar. You learn a thing or too as well, I had no idea he had two songs called ‘Pinball Wizard’ and ‘Honky Cat’ so that’s something.
The Earth is 4.5 billion years old. With the last 50 million years or so, the human race has evolved from essentially what was a single cell organism, and grew limbs to leave the water. We then evolved to grow fur and stood up straight. What really helped with our evolution was the apposable thumbs. With these we’ve been able to discover fire, our cavemen ancestors made tools and weapon to propel us to becoming the most intelligent animal. We invented the wheel, built pyramids and built planes so we can fly. As the human race we have achieved so many Incredible things, including the screen you’re looking at right now. These millions of years of evolution to create the perfect being and yet we’ve fucked it by making cats.
Cats… honestly I don’t really know how to describe it. The story is this from what I managed to pull from this car crash. Victoria (Francesca Hayward), a cat, gets chucked in a back alley, disowned by her owner. Other alley cats surround her and each in turn introduce themselves and how they work within the cat group. They reveal that tonight is the night that one cat will nominate another cat to be reborn with a new life.
With a star spangled cast including James Cordan, Rebel Wilson, Taylor Swift, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone (yep, he’s in it too and yes he sings), and other famous people, you’d think that there was no way it could possibly go wrong with such amazing actors. You’ve all seen the trailer, you’ve seen photos of what this film looks like, if not just watch the trailer at the bottom of the page but from that you can tell that this is the most visually horrifying film in recent history. The look of the cats was something I did actually get used to which I wasn’t expecting, although every now and then I would bring myself back into reality and really think about what I was watching. You would never think that Hollywood would put Taylor Swift and Idris Elba together, ballroom dancing… as cats. All of them looked horrifying at first but as the film progresses I did feel like I want to stroke them which was bizarre. So I got used to the cats but during the film they included mice and cockroaches and at this point my jaw had fully dropped. I could not believe what I was watching had come out in 2019. They were pure nightmare fuel. The cats were famous people but the mice were kids faces on horrifically poorly animated mice, looking like they were straight out of a PS2 game cut scene.
Not even just the visuals that were sickening, it was the choreography. Now there wasn’t anything wrong with the dancing itself but it was everything when they weren’t dancing, they all walked like they had scoliosis which didn’t give a cat vibe at all. That’s what my problem was, well I had many problems but they didn’t move like cats, not really, I know they’re limited because they’re humans but cats don’t really have horrific back problems where they walk around half bent over. Also cats don’t abide by the moons gravity apparently because whenever they are in the air they just seemed to float everywhere like they’re in Pennywises nest. Its was all just off, just something a little off with just everything so none of it really felt right. There’s just other technical issues as well where there proportions of the cats compared to other objects just changed or wasn’t right. At one point one of them were stood next to a loaf of bread and bread looked like the size of a flip flop. I know this film is set in the past but did they have flip flop bread back then? Also Judi Dench always had her wedding ring on? There’s just so many questions I have with just about everything! Visually this made me burp up sick but I also had many questions with the actual pacing and story.
Now I’ve never seen the theatre production of cats but I’ve heard that it’s weird anyway. I’ve heard that it doesn’t really make sense so god knows why they decided to make it a film. The whole story seemed to just consist of the cats introducing themselves and that’s it. It was an hour and fifty minutes of introductions and because of that you don’t really get attached to any of the characters because there are so many so none of the stories pay off in the end. Victoria gets introduced to the normal cat crowd and then gets told about this event that’s happening that night where a cat gets chosen to be reborn. This one cat that seems to be a tour guide then takes her to meet all of the cats which all have their own songs. Meanwhile we get glimpses at Idris Elba who is a naughty cat with magic that steals cats so he can be the one chosen to be reborn because there will be no other cats contending. It all just felt so strange. I gasped when magic was used for the first time because I wasn’t expecting magic to be in it because why would you?!? When Idris Elba just disappears in a puff of glitter it was shocking, the film could not get weirder.
The songs were catchy I guess but ultimately I couldn’t focus on the songs because everything was just far too distracting. I couldn’t focus on anything other than the fact that these cats where human shaped but didn’t have human parts. I would’ve felt more comfortable if these cats had tits if I’m honest. Creepiness comes from when something that isn’t human has human features, imagine bread with human eyes… creepy, so cats with a human face and human hands and feet is just so off putting.
I never want to spoil the end but I’ll say now I was just in awe that this is actually a film that was made. I will recommend that you watch this purely just to witness how bizarre this is. When a film is bizarre on purpose like it’s trying to be a load of nonsense then it’s not shocking but when a film like this comes out and it’s trying to be serious but is as nonsensical as this it’s just… it’s just a mess, it’s a train wreck, a suicide bomber going off in the middle of a busy town centre would be less of a mess than this.
Overall, I feel like I’ve expressed how this film is diabolical. Its spaghetti hoops in a blender without the lid on top. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, plus also a point I forgot to mention, two actually, I could rant about this forever but last two points. 1, it was all just slightly sexual, there was a lot of sexual tension throughout the whole film which added to the comfortable feeling I was feeling in my trousers, just confusing me even more. 2, I guess skip to the score cause this is slight spoilers but at the end they’re doing their final number and then Judi Dench turns to the camera and starts doing what is essentially a PSA about cats… talking about how they aren’t dogs. I just have no words, I wish this film did have dogs in it.
I’m doing a part 2 because I actually made the decision to go and see this film a second time and you know what… I actually enjoyed it. I think watching the second time i watched it for face value and just got into the groove of the songs and i left actually enjoying it. I now listen to some of the songs in the car so I’m adjusting my score. Even though this film visually is pretty gross and the story is even grosser, I enjoyed the songs. Especially Mr Mr Mistoffelees, his song is a true banger.