Considered by most to be one of the greatest rock anthems of all time, “Bohemian Rhapsody” holds a special place in the hearts of Queen fans, and with Fox’s upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic, we’re about to learn a little more about the creative process behind the scenes, including why the song has so many high-pitch renditions of “Galileo!”
But while much praise has been showered on Rami Malek for his central performance, it seems that the film itself isn’t faring too well with critics. At the time of writing, it currently holds a 57% on Rotten Tomatoes and though that’s far from the worst score you can have, a few reviewers have been particularly harsh on it.
Below, you’ll find a sampling of some of the most brutal reviews for Bohemian Rhapsody (via Screen Rant) and we must warn you, they ain’t pretty!
If not for Rami Malek’s feral posturing as one of rock history’s greatest frontmen, a deep roster of killer songs, and the long shadow of his band’s iconic 1985 performance at Live Aid, this movie could effectively be about any musicians, at any time, rolling through any part of the United States. From the disapproving parents, to the drug-fueled orgies, to the unbelievable scene when a young Freddie Mercury (née Farrokh Bulsara) introduces himself to Brian May and Roger Taylor mere seconds after the two bandmates have been abandoned by their original lead singer, it’s an out-of-body experience to watch such a paint-by-numbers portrait in a post-“Walk Hard” world. If there’s anything more tiresome than the movies that inspired the Dewey Cox story, it’s a movie that uses Jake Kasdan’s damning parody as a template. Even when it’s funny, “Bohemian Rhapsody” isn’t in on the joke — it’s too busy burnishing its own myth.
Like trying to hit that famed high B flat on “Galileo” without a warm-up, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is embarrassingly unprepared to cover the life of its subject — Freddie Mercury. This jumbled take on the legend is squawky, sexless, and shallow, assaulting the senses as it offers little insight or real depth into Mercury or the band he fronted […] But what’s most astonishing about this version of Mercury’s life is that it’s so utterly sexless. Malek does his best, but the material gets only a PG-13 rating for “suggestive material,” among other things, when there’s no reason to be so tame. This isn’t a biopic about Lyndon B. Johnson. Sex and sexiness were so intertwined with Mercury’s public persona that making a film this entirely lacking in anything more than the hint of lust can only be seen as intentional.
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Distracting technical flourishes such as blurry cameras and quick zooms take away from any potential resonance of the acting, and even Malek’s best attempts at emulating Mercury during the performance scenes fall flat due to cheap CGI crowds and awkward quick cuts which take away from the magnetism he’s trying to create in his wide-eyed showmanship. It doesn’t feel like the work of a seasoned director (or two of them, in fact) but rather a garish, gushing student project that’s got wildly out of hand. It’s nowhere near as interesting or absorbing as its central figure, and in glossing over the elements of Mercury’s identity and life which are so vital and important to many – his race, sexuality, and the fact he was the first major cultural figure to die of AIDS – Bohemian Rhapsody leaves a sour taste. This is a revisionist attempt at painting Mercury in primary colours suitable for audiences who’d rather just bop along to the Greatest Hits than think about the man who shared his gift with the world until it killed him, and Freddie deserves so much more.
The best part of the movie is — shocker — hearing Queen’s timeless songs. They’re best showcased during a fabulous re-creation of the 1985 Live Aid concert, which was watched by 1.9 billion people worldwide. […] What we ultimately wanted from “Bohemian Rhapsody” was not carbon-copied concerts, but behind-closed-doors insight into a deeply private, complicated, internationally beloved superstar.
Bohemian Rhapsody feels like dirty pool. Either one of the next two things are true: Either the surviving members of Queen still resent the fact that so much of their legacy is wrapped up in Freddie Mercury that they had to make this revisionist history of a movie, or the surviving members are so cinematically tone deaf they inadvertently made a movie that sure comes off like that’s what they were trying to do. […] I have no idea if it was malicious – probably, consciously, it wasn’t – but regardless, this is the end result: to punish Freddie Mercury 27 years after his death. And, without the surviving band member’s permission, this movie couldn’t use Queen’s music. In hindsight, it would be better if this movie didn’t exist at all.
So, for all of the potential and the bright lights and the fist-pumping power ballads, it looks like Bohemian Rhapsody isn’t exactly all it’s cracked up to be, and may only be saved by Rami Malek’s powerhouse performance in the end.
Still, this is just a small portion of critics, so don’t take what they’re saying as gospel. There are many who thoroughly enjoyed the movie and Fox’s star-studded biopic might just find itself with a big audience when it premieres stateside tomorrow. The comparisons to A Star is Born will be inevitable, of course, but if nothing else, we imagine that Bohemian Rhapsody has what it takes to ensure that Rami Malek finds himself being talked about during the upcoming awards season.
Source: Screen Rant