Criticisms levelled at the first Bohemian Rhapsody trailer fell into two broad camps: 1) it looks like it follows the bog-standard narrative pattern of every other music biopic, and 2) not gay enough, and no mention of AIDS, the disease that claimed Freddie Mercury’s life in 1991.
This new burst of marketing material does little to alleviate the former. If you think the Queen biopic is going to deviate too much from the Walk the Line/Ray model, you’re kidding yourself – this is about cementing a legacy, not pushing the boundaries. However, we do get a little more guy-on-guy action (but not enough to alienate the multiplexes, and an oblique reference to Mercury’s illness. No more straight-washing here. Perhaps somebody is listening. Stranger things have happened.
Like finally getting a Freddie Mercury movie! Which, as the predictably breathless official synopsis tells us, “…is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid. While bravely facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.”
There’s a lot to enjoy here. Queen futzing around in the studio, Roger Taylor’s (Ben Hardy) “How many more ‘Galileos do you need?”, Brian May (Gwylim Lee) bringing We Will Rock You, the sheer pomp and grandiosity…
We also get a better look at Rami Malek’s take on Freddie and, damn, that is uncanny.
Bohemian Rhapsody is in cinemas from November 1, 2018.