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Elton John Biopic: Rocketman In The Movies

Upcoming musical-oriented film Rocketman, outlining the breakthrough early career years of Reginald Kenneth Dwight (Sir Elton John), is exciting, elaborate, glittering, flamboyant, soaring and upbeat. And that’s due to the string of incredibly composed songs intertwined with a contribution of fabulous performances from an enthusiastic ensemble led by young Taron Egerton playing the man himself.

In cinemas from May 30, Rocketman may well be compared to Oscar-winning melodic Queen biographical movie Bohemian Rhapsody, but it shouldn’t be. Elton is his own entity, of course. The grandiose showman and his outrageous costumes make him stand out, backing it up with huge talent. Not as commonly known is that Sir Elton has done his fair share of acting, albeit questionable at times. He has made multiple appearances in an array of various television shows from The Nanny, South Park, Will & Grace, Ally McBeal to The Simpsons. But as a film critic, it’s his often extended cameo appearances in movies that I remember most.

At the top of the list is SPICE WORLD (1997) where the great man catches up with The Spice Girls with Oscar nominee Richard E. Grant in tow for a brief bit of Elton fun. Rock opera TOMMY (1975) featured Elton as Pinball Wizard whilst performing the arcade heroics on stage to the scintillating tune of the same name. With music by fellow British rockers The Who, the movie also featured Tina Turner as Acid Queen and Eric Clapton alongside screen icons Anne Margaret, Oliver Reed and none other than Jack Nicholson. One for the ages.

In a non-acting achievement, the Oscar-winning soundtrack for Disney’s The Lion King was a highlight. As was the use of classic song Tiny Dancer in sing-a-long during a pivotal bus trip bonding moment played for emotional laughs in ALMOST FAMOUS (2000). Other worthy motion picture cameo mentions are an awkward gardener role in Disney’s The Country Bears (2002), a film often on the top of worst movie lists that also features Christopher Walken and Queen Latifah. Equally unusual for completely different reasons is his contribution to Bruno (2009). He is joined by fellow music maestros Sting, Bono, Chris Martin and Slash in an MTV-like clip led by fashionista Bruno, one of the many politically incorrect alter egos of Sascha Baron Cohen singing ‘Dove of Peace’. Hilarious.

More recently you may remember his memorable bit on the small screen in popular series NASHVILLE. Or something completely different, and personally I thought unfunny, in blockbuster Kingsman sequel: The Golden Circle (2017). However the professional hook-up with Taron Egerton became apparent on-set resulting in the talented British thespian taking on and succeeding in the lead in ROCKETMAN.

Premiering at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival where audiences are not afraid to boo or walk out of screenings, gave the Elton John story a standing ovation with Taron brought to tears by the several minutes of applause. Ironically, auteur Dexter Fletcher took over from the let-go director of Bohemian Rhapsody but was uncredited. He may now also stand in the limelight of a crowd-pleasing, Oscar-worthy musical journey.

ROCKETMAN: IN CINEMAS NOW.

Shane A. Bassett

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