Rocketman – 6

Disappointing. There’s no attempt at rock history, as Elton John’s songs are shoehorned into the plot wherever a lyric suggests relevance, regardless of chronology. OK, so it’s a fantasy (a la Baz Luhrmann), not a biopic. But there’s not much of a plot, either; it’s a therapy session in which Elton relives his unhappy childhood, lack of love and addiction to drugs and alcohol. It would be nice if there were a cathartic denouement, in which rock’n’roll triumphs, Elton discovers himself and becomes a star. But no, he’s a star from the start; his performances seem more forced than euphoric; and the big finale number is “I’m Still Standing” – probably the 53rd best song in his catalogue. By that point, we are fully tired of the Busby Berkeley dance numbers, which are repetitive, uninventive and not always appropriate. Do we really need a choreographed dance sequence in the hospital following a suicide attempt? Taron Egerton’s singing is fine, but the songs carry surprisingly little emotional heft: I couldn’t help but compare how I felt hearing “Tiny Dancer” here, with semi-naked bodies gyrating a la Woodstock at Mama Cass’s Laurel Canyon retreat, to the scene on the touring bus in Almost Famous. I was never a fan of Queen, while I purchased four of Elton’s first five albums on release; but Rocketman can’t hold a candle, in the wind or otherwise, to Bohemian Rhapsody.


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