Biopics have become as expected during award season as superhero movies during the summer (or any other time of the year, at this point), and Bohemian Rhapsody fits the bill perfectly. Not only does it have the usual narrative trappings of a musical biopic and a performance that carries the film, the last twenty-minutes of the film are basically just a recreation of Queen’s most iconic concert. It is also ironic that so much dedication was spent on accurately recreating this concert when basic life events are incorrect in the screenplay. Although this was most certainly done for dramatic effect, the very same people who would be most likely to appreciate the accuracy of the Live Aid section might also be annoyed by the changes made to Freddie Murcury’s life story.
First and foremost, Bohemian Rhapsody is a showcase for Rami Malek’s abilities to imitate, along with the make-up department’s creation of a set of fake teeth. Of course, there is much more to the narrative. We follow through his beginnings as a baggage handler living with his parents under his given name, Farrokh Bulsara. Shortly after finding success with a band that recently lost their singer, he changes his name and coldly turns his back on the family that raised him. This is only the beginning of the kind of selfish and narcissistic behavior which has become expected from the subject of most musical biopics, which eventually becomes poisonous to the band, Queen.
Along with showing us the unexpected success of the band, ultimately leading Freddie to think that he would be better off recording as a solo artist, the film spends plenty of time diving into his personal life. While some were disappointed by the minimal time spent addressing Mercury’s homosexuality, instead choosing much of the film to be focused on his marriage to Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton), others were upset by the screenplay’s decision to change the timeline of when Mercury was diagnosed with HIV. This is primarily so that the Live Aid concert can serve as the film’s climax and resolution, all in one. While the film itself is more than a little uneven, the wisest decision made was to end on the most impressive sequence of filmmaking.
The Blu-ray release seems to also be aware of the film’s highlight, with the complete Live Aid movie performance available uncut in the special features. This is available on the DVD also, while the other three extras are exclusive to the Blu-ray release. There is an additional featurette just about the re-creation of that concert, as well as a featurette about Malek’s transformation into becoming Mercury, and how the film captured the look and sound of the band. There is also a DVD and a digital copy of the film included with the Blu-ray.
Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 8/10
Special Features: 6.5/10