rocketman featurette

Hollywood can’t say no to a musical biopic. They’re usually hits, and more often than not, they score Oscar noms – even if they’re not very good (cough cough Bohemian Rhapsody cough cough). But the upcoming Rocketman, which tells the story of Elton John, might end up being a pleasant surprise. For one thing, it’s being sold as a “musical fantasy”, not a straightforward biopic. For another, it has Taron Egerton in the lead, and he’s actually singing – not just lip-synching. A new Rocketman featurette goes behind-the-scenes of the film, and showcases Egerton’s singing prowess.

Rocketman Featurette

Everything I’ve heard about Rocketman so far has hinted that it’s not going to be your typical musical biopic. “We are making a movie called Rocketman about Elton John’s formative years,” star Taron Egerton previously said. “Everyone thinks it’s a biopic. It isn’t. It’s a fantasy musical so it’s actually his songs used to express important beats in his life at emotional moments. He’s not the only character that sings. It’s going to be fun.”

Director Dexter Fletcher seconded that. “It’s a musical fantasy, not a biopic,” he said. “We have Elton’s songs and Elton’s life story, or a part of it. And it is a fantasy version of real life. It is a true fantasy. So I am looking to create something that will entertain and inform and amaze and do many, many things.”

Sounds neat! So why does the footage in this featurette look so much like your standard musical biopic, right down to a needless scene where a character asks the very famous focus of the film, “What’s your name again?” Hopefully this has just been edited to appeal to a bigger audience, and the film itself will take more risks. In any case, the real goal of this featurette is to highlight Taron Egerton’s singing. While some actors playing musicians lip-sync (see Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody), others take a leap and perform the singing themselves (see Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line). Egerton falls into the latter category, and he certainly has the pipes for it. That said, Elton John has such a distinct voice that Egerton’s singing still sounds a bit…off to me. It’s close, but not quite there. Perhaps it’ll work better in the final film.

Rocketman, an “epic musical fantasy about the uncensored human story of Sir Elton John’s breakthrough years”, starring Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden and Bryce Dallas Howard, blasts off in theaters May 31, 2019. In addition to the featurette, there’s a snazzy new poster below. And I imagine a new trailer is on the way as well.

Rocketman poster

 

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