An Epic Musical
Filmmakers couldnít have found a better actor than Taron Egerton to play Elton John in Rocketman. Even before critics were invited into the theater, a buzz of anxiety whirled through the lobby. Chatter inside the theater turned into a screaming and clapping audience eager to become invested in the story.
Before we see the world where Elton grew up, we watch him heading uninvited into a rehab meeting wearing a glowing orange jumpsuit with devil's horns and sweeping big wings (which also evoked lots of laughs). He admits to being an alcoholic, a cocaine addict and a sex addict. Not only is Egerton portraying Elton, heís singing his songs. (I hope to see him at Oscar time.)
Next comes a flashback to the world of the boy called Reggie (Matthew ILLesley) whose mother Sheila (Bryce Dallas Howard) wasnít a very good one, and a father who disliked his family and practically everything they did. Fortunately, Eltonís grandmother Ivy (Gemma Jones) cared a lot for the young boy and helped him follow his dream, develop proficiency, and earn a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music.
From school we move on to an incredible world of music, fans, shows, several lovers who come and go plus a spotlight on those who are also responsible for Eltonísí success. That includes: his writer Lee Hall and lyricist partner Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell); his first manager John Reid (Richard Madden); and of course the team that brings us this amazing story along with many unknown things fans never knew about the great entertaining superstar.
Dexter Fletcher directed but John himself served as executive producer because Elton wanted the film to follow in the tradition of the best musicals. Thatís why song-and-dance scenes form an intrinsic part of the story and overflow with creativity, energy and deliciously indulgent camera work.
According to a comment by singer Long John Baldry ďNobody expected Reg to become anything big. He was a shy person almost introverted onstage.Ē
For me, Rocketman is a bit of history, a ton of laughs -- and a terrific musical.
(Released by Paramount Pictures and rated "R" by MPAA.)