Bohemian Rhapsody Blu Ray Review (20th Century Fox)
Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 biographical film about Freddie Mercury & the band Queen. It was directed by Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil, X-Men franchise, & Superman Returns). Executive producer Dexter Fletcher (Wild Bill, Sunshine on Leith, Eddie the Eagle, & Rocketman) directed additional footage when Singer was fired towards the end of the production. Sacha Baron Cohen was originally supposed to play Freddie Mercury when the project was first announced in 2010 but left the film due to creative differences. It has currently won 21 awards including 4 Oscars for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, & Best Achievement in Sound Mixing. The budget was estimated at $55 million & it grossed $889.1 million worldwide at the box office!!!!
In 1970 London, Farrokh “Freddie” Bulsara (played by: Rami Malek from Mr. Robot, Papillon, The Master, & Oldboy) works as a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport. After seeing the band Smile perform at a pub, Freddie encounters Mary Austin (played by: Lucy Boynton from Gypsy, Don’t Knock Twice, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, & Murder on the Orient Express) for the very first time. He goes to give the band members guitarist Brian May (played by: Gwilym Lee from Jamestown, Midsomer Murders, Isle of Dogs, & The Tourist) & drummer Roger Taylor (played by: Ben Hardy from X-Men: Apocalypse, Mary Shelley, Only the Brave, & EastEnders) props on their performance where he finds out lead singer Tim Staffell (played by: Jack Roth from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story & Game of Thrones) just quit the band. He offers to be the replacement for him & they both kinda laugh at him until he proves his vocal talent to them. They also add bassist John Deacon (played by: Joseph Mazzello from G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Social Network, The Pacific, & Jurassic Park) to the band. After playing all kinds of local shows they decide to sell their van & record their first album together as Queen. An A&R rep from EMI Records hears the band at the studio & their experimental sound grabs his attention right away. Farrokh legally changes his name to Freddie Mercury. The band signs with John Reid (played by: Aidan Gillen from Game of Thrones, The Wire, Peaky Blinders, & The Dark Knight Rises), Elton John’s manager & receives a contract with EMI. “Killer Queen” is a hit record & they go on a sold out tour in the United States to promote the release.
In 1975, Queen records their fourth album “A Night at the Opera” but leaves EMI when executive Ray Foster (played by: Mike Myers from Wayne’s World 1/2, Austin Powers franchise, Shrek franchise, & Saturday Night Live) refuses to release “Bohemian Rhapsody” as the lead single. Confused with his sexuality, Freddie begins an affair with Paul Prenter (played by: Allen Leech from Downton Abbey, Rome, The Imitation Game, & Bellevue) while engaged to Mary Austin. The manipulative Paul causes problems with the band. He meets waiter Jim Hutton (played by: Aaron McCusker from Dexter, Shameless, & Final Score) at a party & gets turned down by him. After more success & the smash hit “We Will Rock You”, Freddie is told to pursue a solo career & disband Queen. He fires John Reid over the suggestion & continues to work with his band. Freddie’s relationship with his band mates further sours after their music video for “I Want to Break Free” in which the band appears in drag is banned from MTV. Paul convinces Freddie to take the solo deal for $4 million with CBS Records. This causes major issues with the other members of Queen & the band ends up breaking up over it. Freddie struggles to create the same magic & feel as the Queen material with his new band for the solo album. Freddie discovers that he has contracted the HIV/AIDS virus. Queen’s manager Jim Beach (played by: Tom Hollander from Bird Box, Taboo, Gosford Park, & Pirates of the Caribbean franchise) reunites the band to play the Live Aid benefit concert & they give one of the best performances of all time there. Freddie is very sick so he reconnects with Jim, Mary, & his family. Freddie dies on November 24th, 1991 at 45 from AIDS related pneumonia.
I know Bohemian Rhapsody was very controversial due to it’s inaccurate history & the director’s trouble past being exposed to the public while it was being made but I still think it’s one of the best films from 2018. I understand it was frustrating for diehard Queen fans because they changed a decent amount from the real life events in this but they knew what they were doing with it. They never claimed it was a documentary on what exactly happened with the band & Freddie, they wanted to make an entertaining feature that celebrated the legacy of their music. They definitely accomplished that with Bohemian Rhapsody. Despite being blacklisted because of his previous actions, director Bryan Singer proves once again that he’s one of the most talented around when given the right material but I have a feeling he won’t get many opportunities after this. One of the strongest departments for this production was the casting. Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, & Joseph Mazzello were perfect as Queen. Rami Malek gives a performance of a lifetime as Freddie Mercury & he deserved the Oscar that he won for the role plus many other awards. The supporting cast that included Mike Myers, Aidan Gillen, Lucy Boynton, & Allen Leech boosted the overall quality of everything here. The Bohemian Rhapsody scene with Mike Myers was hilarious & it made me geek out a little because Wayne’s World was the first time that I ever heard Queen. Since then they have been one of my all time favorite bands. The music & the Live Aid performance is some of the best cinematic musical scenes that I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It was really cool to see how some of those major hits got put together & recorded in this. I’ve watched lots of movies based off of bands over the years & Bohemian Rhapsody is one of highest quality ones made, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from 20th Century Fox! This 1080p (2.39:1) transfer is a visual treat on blu ray so I can only imagine what it looks like in 4K! All the scenes were the band is traveling across the world, it shows a variety of beautiful locations. The true highlight here is the Live Aid performance, it looks & sounds amazing. The cinematography is perfect on it, it might be the best musical moment I’ve ever seen in cinema. They captured it to every little detail compared to the real one. It has 4 different audio options which include English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English: Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, & French: Dolby Digital 5.1 on the release. Considering this is a film based off a band & features all kinds of music, it’s shouldn’t be a surprise but this is one of highest quality sounding releases this year for home video. It feels like you are at some of these shows, the soundtrack is top notch. It also has English SDH, French, & Spanish subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from 20th Century Fox on this release! “The Complete Live Aid Movie Performance” is almost 22 minutes. This is definitely the best extra on this disc. It’s fully uncut & not edited down like it is in the actual film. I actually wish they did an extended cut with this in it because it’s amazing. They nailed this recreation of this legendary performance & it’s my personal favorite moment in the feature. “Rami Malek: Becoming Freddie” is a little over 16 minutes. It has interviews with actors Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Lucy Boynton, Queen’s Brian May, Roger Taylor, & various others from the production. They talk about looking for the right person to play Freddie Mercury. They showed the transformation from Rami to Freddie. They showed the various things that helped him become the rock legend. They chat about how the actor nailed the role & felt like the real thing. “The Look and Sound of Queen” is almost 22 minutes. It has interviews with actors Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Queen’s Brian May, Roger Taylor, & various others from the production. They talk about recreating the band for the film. They chat about picking the perfect cast rather than go for familiar names. The original band members bring up how impressed they were with the final results for the production. They were very involved with everything. They all mention about getting the look & sound right for the feature. Ben Hardy says he lied about playing drums to get the role but learned it right away after getting the part. They used actual instruments & clothes from the real band in this. They bring up the locations. “Recreating Live Aid” is almost 20 minutes. It has interviews with the cast, Queen, & various members of the production. They chat about recreating the epic event. They talk about getting every little detail right for this. They mention it was difficult find the blueprint for the stadium so they had to use other sources for it. It wasn’t easy to find space to build it in England. They bring up the clothes that had to be remade to fit the exact moment. They used some of the original instruments from the show. The original members of Queen said it gave them chills how realistic it felt compared to the real thing. It has 3 different “Trailers” for the film. It also includes a glossy slipcover, a digital code, & a DVD copy of the release. It was released in several formats including 4K & DVD. It’s available everywhere right including some store exclusives, CHECK IT OUT ASAP!!!!