Saturday 24 August 2019

Elton John biopic Rocketman receives mixed reviews following Cannes debut

The film, directed by Dexter Fletcher, debuted in France.

Sir Elton John biopic Rocketman has received mixed reviews following its premiere at the Cannes film festival (Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
Sir Elton John biopic Rocketman has received mixed reviews following its premiere at the Cannes film festival (Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

By Keiran Southern, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

Sir Elton John biopic Rocketman has received mixed reviews following its premiere at the Cannes film festival.

An audience on the French Riviera gave the film, directed by Dexter Fletcher and starring Taron Egerton, a standing ovation, however the critical response has been lukewarm.

Many reviews echoed a similar theme, arguing it gave a fantastical account of Sir Elton’s life and career, rather than a warts-and-all feature.

In that sense, it was compared to Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which defied middling reviews to gross about £705 million at the global box office.

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Sir Elton John biopic Rocketman made its debut at Cannes and received a standing ovation (Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

Both films share a director, with Fletcher having stepped in at a late stage of Bohemian Rhapsody’s production following Bryan Singer’s dismissal.

Variety’s reviewer was disappointed Rocketman did not take a deeper look at Sir Elton’s life, writing the film “seems mostly preoccupied with the surface idea of Elton: the outrageous wardrobe, the spectacular showmanship, and his relatively unusual status as an openly gay megastar”.

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Sir Elton John and actor Taron Egerton embrace after performing at the party for the film Rocketman (Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

The Hollywood Reporter said while the Cannes audience gave the film a standing ovation, reactions among the general audience “will likely be more mixed”.

It added: “As a fantasia on the making of Elton John, Rocketman at the very least commits wholeheartedly to its flashy eccentricity, and for many, that will be more than fun enough”.

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw awarded the film three stars, saying Egerton “gamely does a middleweight impersonation, more comfortable with the lighter side: better at the tiaras than the tantrums”.

Another three-star review, this time from the Independent, praised Egerton’s performance, saying he excels in the role of Sir Elton.

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Actor Taron Egerton and Sir Elton John attended the Cannes premiere of Rocketman (Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Entertainment website The Wrap gave a generally positive review, saying Rocketman can be fun, but also “a melodramatic slog when it’s not embracing the craziness of its musical numbers”.

The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin gave Rocketman a full five stars, saying there is “no comparison” between it and Bohemian Rhapsody.

He said: “Putting the two side by side would be like conducting a taste test between a porterhouse steak smothered in tomato ketchup and a smouldering old shoe someone pulled off a bonfire.

“After the self-effacing salvage job, Fletcher has stormed back with the real, electrifying deal.”

Rocketman will be released in UK cinemas on May 22.

PA Media

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