Queen claims Bohemian Rhapsody critics don’t know how to enjoy movies. The multi-Oscar winning 2018 biopic told the tale of rock n’ roll icon Freddie Mercury and his journey to lead one of the most popular bands of all time, Queen.
The film’s road to success got off to a troubled start when Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Who Is America?), who was originally slated to play Mercury, ultimately stepped down due to his disagreement with the surviving members of Queen over what type of biopic they wanted to make. Then, just as things seemed to be moving again with the casting of Rami Malek as Mercury, the film’s director, Bryan Singer, was embroiled in a sexual assault lawsuit and allegations that continue to this day. Singer was replaced by Dexter Fletcher and the film arrived to mixed critical reactions, though it did well with audiences. By February of 2019, the film had already received a tremendous number of awards, but scored the ultimate victory when it was honored with four Oscars at the 91stannual Academy Awards.
Despite the fact that the film has since gone on to become the most successful musical biopic in history, there are still those who don’t feel that it was all that spectacular. This appears to be an area of contention for the members of Queen, who spoke with Planet Rock recently. Aside from its status as a hit film, the soundtrack for Bohemian Rhapsody has also been a major success as well, becoming the highest charting Queen release in the U.S. in almost 40 years. With success like that, it’s no wonder that the band is adamant about Bohemian Rhapsody’s quality. Said Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor on the topic of the film and its naysayers:
“We’re a funny old country, aren’t we? The trouble with us is, we’re too f***ing popular, and a lot of the media just hate that. There were some decent reviews, but there were many that were kinda sneering and superficial. I thought, ‘You just don’t get it, do you? You weren’t moved, and whatever, but f*** you actually. F*** you all the way to the bank, actually. But bad reviews usually mean that it’s going to be really successful. I think people know a lot more than film critics, and the word of mouth via social media is so much more powerful than review from a guy who probably watches 40 movies a week, and has probably lost the essence of the joy of a movie.”
This isn’t the first time that someone from Queen has taken the time to vent about the film and people’s reactions to it. Late last Spring, Brian May came forward to tell the public that the band hadn’t made any money yet from Bohemian Rhapsody, despite its tremendous success. It does seem that the band has had the last laugh with regard to naysayers and Taylor is likely correct when he cites the band’s popularity as a major advantage. Regardless of what critics had to say about the film, there were always going to be enough Queen fans to make a certain impact on the film’s box office receipts. Ultimately, however, Bohemian Rhapsody’s staying power was stronger than any review and the film truly made its mark.
Whether Taylor is correct by assuming that critics who didn’t like the Queen biopic “didn’t get it” or have “lost the essence of the joy of a movie” is another issue altogether. Though the film made a lot of money and won numerous awards, it still doesn’t mean that everyone is going to like it. Critical opinion shouldn’t be mistaken as a bias or an intentional disregard of the film in question. Bohemian Rhapsody was not without its flaws, but its positive attributes clearly helped it to find the success that many would say it rightly deserved.
Source: Planet Rock