Movie Review: Rocketman is rightly fantastical, flamboyant
Comparisons between Rocketman and the Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody are bound to occur.
After all, both are tales about two immensely influential and flamboyant music icons. Both share a director (Dexter Fletcher performed an uncredited rescue job on the Queen biopic).
Both have a Game Of Thrones actor portraying manager John Reid.
But the similarities stop there.
Rocketman is a celebration of one man's journey to happiness told through Elton John's hits. But instead of following the typical career chronology, here they are used as narrative devices.
This method works well as some events defy reality. Told through John's eyes, it is an exaggerated package of razzle, dazzle, bling, feathers and demons.
John's story alone would be entertaining enough. He has achieved many incredible feats - he went from chubby kid piano prodigy Reginald Dwight from working-class England to the international megastar Elton Hercules John who sold over 300 million records and was responsible at one point for 5 per cent of all music sold on the planet.
This film really works because of Taron Egerton's electrifying performance. And yes, that is him singing.
While Egerton pulls off the rock star moves and excess, he also brings the huge sadness and loneliness when he is stripped of the elaborate costumes and fancy eyewear.
Framed by a group therapy session - Egerton storming in wearing orange, sequinned devil regalia - the film recounts his private life. From rejection by his father, through his success in the 70s to the nadir of John's self-destruction, hoovering up all the pills and booze available. You could say John was at his lowest when he was at his peak.
Egerton is strongly supported by Jamie Bell, who scores with his generous and subtle performance as John's long-time friend and lyricist Bernie Taupin. Richard Madden is perfectly sinister as John's manipulative lover and manager, John Reid.
Rocketman has been John's passion project for over two decades.
Part trippy, part fantastical, director Fletcher still manages to fill the film with humanity.
STARRING: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard
DIRECTOR: Dexter Fletcher
THE SKINNY: Do not expect a traditional biopic for someone as flamboyant as Elton John. This is a fantastical jukebox musical about John's (Egerton) lifelong pursuit for love and acceptance that starts from childhood to his massive breakthrough. Addiction to alcohol, drugs and sex included.
This animated musical is your quintessential family-friendly flick but backed by pop culture heavyweights.
The animation, inspired by the real-life UglyDolls plush toys that were launched in 2001, begins in a colourfully surreal world.
Adventure ensues when spirited Moxy (Kelly Clarkson) unwittingly lands herself in the other place where perfectly beautiful dolls live, triggering a personal vendetta with Lou (Nick Jonas), the model for perfect dolls.
Along with her pals, among them Ugly Dog (Pitbull) and Lucky Bat (Wang Leehom), Moxy battles against the harsh stereotypes held by the unblemished toy creatures, in pursuit of a higher purpose - in this case, acquiring a child to play with.
This movie about finding love and acceptance is not without its obvious cliches, but one can let oneself be drawn in by the endearing honesty and sincerity of the ugly dolls.
The soundtrack is forgettable, but the story will stay with you for its simplicity and relatability. - LYDIA GAN- 3 Ticks
CHASING THE DRAGON II: WILD WILD BUNCH (PG13)
This gangster movie tells the story of police officer Sky (Louis Koo), who is sent to infiltrate the gang of criminal genius, Logan (Tony Leung).
The initial infiltration is exciting and tense, as Sky's position in the gang is never assured.
However, by the last third of the movie, much of the tension is gone as it turns into a prolonged chase scene.
Fans of the original Chasing The Dragon (2017) may be disappointed as the human element found in the first movie is sorely lacking.
However, Leung's Logan brings an admirable amount of camp, making him the most entertaining character in the film. - JOHN TAN - 3 Ticks
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