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Blu-ray Review: Rocketman

August 27, 2019

By John Corrado

Following a successful run in theatres earlier this summer, the Elton John biopic Rocketman is coming to Blu-ray this week. The film reinvigorates the usual biopic formula by turning the singer’s life into a full blown jukebox musical built around many of his classic songs, and it features one of the best performances of the year so far courtesy of Taron Egerton, who does a tremendous job in the leading role.

While it didn’t quite pull in Bohemian Rhapsody numbers at the box office, for my money it’s the better movie. The film offers a warts and all look at Elton John’s life, that is very entertaining to watch while also not shying away from the darker elements of his addictions and depression. If you missed this one in theatres, and are even a casual fan of his music, it’s worth checking out. For more on the film itself, you can read my full review right here.

The Blu-ray comes with a solid selection of bonus material, much of it centred around the music. First up are four extended musical numbers (“The Bitch is Back”; “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)”; “Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache”; and “Honky Cat”), which are viewable together and on their own and are preceded by an optional introduction from director Dexter Fletcher. These are followed by ten deleted and extended scenes (I Love Rock and Roll; You’ve Got to Kill the Person You Were Born to Be; Arabella; Elton in the Gas Oven; Stylish Boots; You’re Not the First Closet Queer With a Mummy Complex; The Blood Test; The Heart Attack; The Laundrette; and Do You Want Anything?), which also feature an intro by Fletcher and are all worth a look after the film.

Next up we have the five featurettes It’s Going to Be a Wild Ride: Creative Vision; Becoming Elton John: Taron’s Transformation; Larger Than Life: Production Design & Costuming; Full Tilt: Staging the Musical Numbers; and Music Reimagined: The Studio Sessions. Together these individual pieces give us a closer look at Egerton’s uncanny performance, which included doing all of his own singing, the costumes and sets that were made for the film to evoke the 1950s through the 1980s, what went into shooting the massive musical numbers, and how music producer Giles Martin reinvented Elton John’s classic songs for the soundtrack, with the full blessing of the musician himself.

In fact, Elton John actually weighs in throughout these bonus features and is credited as an executive producer on the film, with his husband David Furnish also serving as one of the producers. Finally, the disc gives us the option to watch thirteen of the musical numbers with onscreen lyrics so we can sing along with selected songs, either on their own or as part of the movie, as well as all twenty three musical numbers isolated on their own, which adds up to nearly an hour in total. The package also comes with a limited edition booklet that includes a special message from Elton John, and serves as an advertisement for his upcoming autobiography, Me, to be published on October 15th.

Rocketman is a Paramount Home Media Distribution release. It’s 121 minutes and rated 14A.

Street Date: August 27th, 2019

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