Early on in "Rocketman," when Egerton’s Elton, having stalked offstage in his outsize orange devil costume, is sitting there in a support group, looking back on the life that brought him to this moment, the line "I was justified when I was five" is used to spin the action back to his childhood and the film’s first musical number, "The Bitch Is Back." I watched the sequence that follows never having the faintest idea of why this song would apply to this situation. Like everyone else, though, I enjoyed hearing the killer hooks of "The Bitch Is Back."
Yet the problem with "Yesterday" and "Rocketman" isn’t that they sell the Beatles or Elton John out. It’s that, in devoting so much of themselves to imagining how these incandescent artists might appeal to audiences today, the movies never fully remember — or capture — how they appealed to audiences back then, when all that selling seemed so far away. Fair enough. One could argue that we live in the real world, and that it’s impossible to make a big, expensive movie about the Beatles or Elton John without treating those songs as marketing hooks.
You could say, "No, the movie isn’t really on the side of that." But I would suggest that the pop commodity fetishism of "Yesterday" is wound right into the movie’s blandly iconic, number-one-with-a-bullet song choices ("Hey Jude," "Let It Be," "Here Comes the Sun," "Help!," "All You Need Is Love"). The movie, which opened Friday, is a what-if? As I said in my review, the most telling aspect of "Yesterday" is that it presents the Kate McKinnon character as a music-business manager of snarky corruption, yet her master plan to market the Beatles is treated less as satire than as the film’s own fantasy of selling the "ultimate" supergroup. If "Rocketman" is at least guilty of a certain operatic overreach, "Yesterday" revives the Fab Four by reducing them. trifle, an attempt to turn a world without the Beatles into a happy-face "Twilight Zone" episode that becomes a fantasy of rebooting the Beatles. It’s as if the PR department had nixed the notion of doing anything more adventurous or offbeat.
"Rocketman," with its slipshod staging and "stylized" chronology (i.e., the events of Elton John’s life seem not just out of sequence but seriously out of whack), is a bubbleheaded travesty of the musical biopic that Elton John should have had. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band," starring (yes, starring!) the Bee Gees in their post-"Fever" prime, might be a spectacle of high-kitsch joy, instead of one of the most atrocious movie musicals ever created. Yet if hearing those songs were all it took to make a good musical, then the legendary 1978 Robert Stigwood debacle "Sgt. (And had that movie been made, it would have been twice the hit.)
The movie has been hyped in such a way to make it sound stodgy if you complain about its iPod-random chronology. But when Elton shows up for his fabled American debut at the Troubadour in L.A. in 1970 and plays "Crocodile Rock," I’m sorry, that’s the equivalent of making a biopic about the Beatles in which they launch their Shea Stadium concert in 1965 with a cut off the White Album. That said, I’m seriously shocked that more people aren’t more disappointed by what a botched opportunity "Rocketman" represents.
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This led directly to the age of "Flashdance," "Footloose," "Top Gun," and a thousand lesser titles, from "Thank God It’s Friday" to "D.C. "American Graffiti," or the films of Elvis Presley, might have paved the way, but what kicked off with "Saturday Night Fever," in the corporate Hollywood that was coming into being, was the perception that the movie and music industries could effectively merge. Movies could be vehicles for creating and marketing pop soundtracks, and pop soundtracks could be vehicles for creating and marketing movies. Films and music would now be tails wagging each other, which created a new form: the movie as synergistic tie-in musical. Cab," that were conceived and packaged to piggyback on their MTV-and-radio-friendly soundtracks. Yet even if you include those two, what isn’t nearly as remembered now — thought it marked a fundamental change in the aesthetics, and business, of movies — was the revolution wrought by "Saturday Night Fever" (1977). The movie’s soundtrack, one of the greatest ever, was beyond huge — it was a disco volcano that kept erupting.
Elton John’s music and image developed radically over the first half of the '70s, but the way "Rocketman" tells it, he simply touched down in the world as this nerd glam prince with a hundred pairs of glasses churning out sublime synthesizer earworms. It uses them as musical bullet points, but there’s scarcely a moment when it figures out how to sit back and catch the lightning majesty of what Elton John created. Maybe that’s why the movie, in its greatest-hits-ripped-out-of-context way, wobbles around the kicky splendor of the songs. In the movie, we almost never see Elton discovering who he is — as a musician, or as an image of pansexual flamboyance.
The Beatles and Elton John are hardly typical subjects for a pop-music film. Maybe that's why neither movie comes close to touching the greatness of its subject. They’re synergistic tie-in musicals that are out to rebrand the Beatles and Elton John for a new generation. As such, they deserve — I would say demand — a kind of big-screen treatment that exudes transcendence. Yet "Yesterday" and "Rocketman" aren’t jukebox musicals that send you out on a cloud of rapture. They are gods among giants.
ideas floating around in "Rocketman" that work better in theory than they do onscreen, one of the most pivotal was the decision to have Taron Egerton do his own singing. And he sounds just like Elton John!" Of all the here’s-a-cool-way-to-make-a-pop-biopic! "Look, he‘s really doing it! That almost never happens in music biopics (Rami Malek lip-synched in "Bohemian Rhapsody," Jamie Foxx lip-synched in "Ray," Marion Cotillard lip-synched in "La Vie en Rose"). Media voices have cooed over Egerton’s vocalizing as if they were the proud parents of a kid vying for championship of a karaoke competition.
Who doesn’t? On the surface, at least, the film couldn’t be more different from "Bohemian Rhapsody," which was a conventionally middlebrow push-your-buttons biopic. In recent weeks, I’ve had more than a few conversations about "Rocketman," the biography-in-a-blender Elton John musical that, I confess, absolutely drove me up a wall. Yet when people talk about "Rocketman," they sound a lot like they do when they talk about "Bohemian Rhapsody." There’s a fan-service reductionism to the whole megillah, and to the way that the chief sentiment you hear always comes down to the same thing: "I loved hearing those songs!" Well, yes. That one really was a Bryan Singer film, though it was finished by Dexter Fletcher, who directs "Rocketman" as if it were a Baz Luhrmann movie staged as a badly lit, thinly scripted Netflix throwaway.
Actually, I’ve always thought that two additional movies were part of that story: "The Exorcist" (1973), which tapped and shaped the up-and-coming appetite for overexplicit sensationalism, and "Rocky" (1976), which brought back the feel-good ideology of happy endings and, in doing so, helped to usher in the age of Reagan. Everybody knows, because it’s a cornerstone of modern movie mythology, that two fabled films of the 1970s created the blockbuster mentality: "Jaws" (1975) and "Star Wars" (1977).
In the '70s, the fluky flavor (and power) of Elton John’s voice was connected to the contrast between the way he spoke — incredibly posh and rounded English tones — and the bluesy down-home American idiom that he infused into nearly every sung syllable. The songs in "Rocketman" sound "good" as far as it goes, but they’re stripped of Elton’s distinct vocal personality. (Even in a song as mellow as "Your Song," he would sing, "And you can tell everybod-eh.") What you hear, in almost every line of his phrasing, is the ebullient theatrical muscle it took to make that reach. According to the film’s topsy-turvy logic, though, this somehow renders them old but new again. Except that he doesn’t. To put it bluntly: They can now be resold. Taron Egerton can sing, but it’s exactly that aspect that his voice doesn’t have.

The biopic, which follows the personal and professional journey of the iconic performer, will make its U.S debut on May 31.” />
And that’s what needs to be approached responsibly and it's a beautiful scene I’m very proud of." Fletcher is also proud of the scene, telling Malkin that "what’s important is you see two people having a moment, Elton’s first love.
It has and always will be the no holds barred, musical fantasy that Paramount and producers passionately support and believe in. Shortly after the report was published, he wrote, "Seeing much speculation about ROCKETMAN!! See for yourself May 24." It’s still unfinished so it’s nothing but rumors. That’s good! Fletcher also previously took to Twitter to respond to claims that Paramount was attempting to "straight-wash" the film.
That’s down to me, that’s how I need to tell the story at that particular moment. You might see a little bit of butt, you might not. When addressing the controversy with Malkin at CinemaCon on Thursday, Fletcher said, "The real story is that I shot the love scene and like any scene, we go through the edit of the scene and we look at how it works best for what we’re trying to communicate. That remains to be seen."
“It’s nonsense," Egerton told Variety's Marc Malkin when asked about the reports. It’s been slightly blown out of proportion how extreme it is." "There is a love scene in the film.
“It’s one moment in a film that I believe is full of great moments." "I think it’s a really beautiful bit of male intimacy,” Egerton said. Whether it remains in the film or not, Egerton takes pride in his part in the love scene.
Taron Egerton, who will play Elton John in the forthcoming “Rocketman,” responded to claims that Paramount attempted to cut out a gay sex scene from the biopic.
Controversy ensued over the sex scene after the Daily Mail published an article in late March alleging that Paramount asked director Dexter Fletcher and producer Matthew Vaughn to cut out a sequence in the film that shows John sitting in bed naked alongside his lover and manager, John Reid, played by Richard Madden. Per the report, Paramount wanted to cut the sequence in order to sanitize the film and receive a PG-13 rating.