Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Going to the movies with Queen

It may be summer movie season but we're still getting some hints of fall film offerings and one of the newest trailers is for Bohemian Rhapsody, a bio-pic of the band Queen and their iconic lead singer Freddie Mercury.

The movie is set for November and honestly, I'm surprised that it took this long to make a Queen movie, especially since their music is incredibly cinematic. Let me give you a neat quartet of fine film examples of that:

FLASH GORDON: Queen created the soundtrack for this now camp classic from 1980, with the theme song "Flash" becoming an international hit on the music charts. The music is what instantly comes to mind when anyone brings up this movie and for good reason; it was well tuned to the overall goofy nature of the film yet enjoyably epic in it's own right:

HIGHLANDER: The band contributed several songs to the 1986 soundtrack for yet another cult favorite,although this one launched a good number of sequels and a TV series.

The songs wound up becoming a separate album for Queen entitled  "A Kind of Magic" and one of them "Princes of the Universe" was not only the theme song for the original film(not to mention the original title!), it was also used for the TV show theme as well.

Granted, I have not seen Highlander(need to do that at some point in the future) but these songs are rather well known to me and countless others. There's just something about Queen that easily lends itself to fantasy and science fiction, a gorgeous operatic vibe that they fully embraced:

SHAUN OF THE DEAD: Appreciating the music of Queen does allow for a sense of humor,thankfully, which is why one of the best sequences in this 2004 "zom-rom-com" is set to one of their songs.

 It helps to have a jukebox set on random in the bar where our human heroes are holed up from the awaiting zombie hoards in order to naturally introduce the song.

 The choice of song was clearly not random as the action in this scene is perfectly timed to "Don't Stop Me Now" from the flickering lights outside to the trio of friends whaling on the now undead owner of the place.

Getting the rights for a song can be tricky,especially for a small movie like this but it was well worth it indeed. There are plenty of great moments in this film but this one is most memorably funny and fun:

WAYNE'S WORLD: There's no way I could do a proper Queen filmography without highlighting this 1992 SNL skit based comedy. Leading man Mike Meyers was bound and determined to use "Bohemian Rhapsody" for the opening credits sequence, to the point of threatening to quit the project.

Fortunately, Freddie Mercury himself was able,despite ill health, to see that scene and give his approval for the song's use. Mercury passed away before the movie's release and that combined with the popularity of the film brought the song back to the record charts, reaching number two in the US alone.

I'm glad that Meyers held fast to having Bohemian Rhapsody for that sequence. It nicely ties into the humor of the characters and makes for a grand entrance for these silly cinematic shenanigans to follow:

As for Bohemian Rhapsody the movie, I'm really looking forward to it. The teaser trailer alone focuses on the music and particularly on their main man, with Rami Malek bearing a striking resemblance to the late great Freddie Mercury.

The musical legacy of Queen is important as this was a group of artists whose talents inspired many and helped to redefine cultural norms, especially for the LGBTQ community. It's rather ironic that many of the people who did(and probably still do) object to their music proudly sing "We Are The Champions" and "We Will Rock You" at sporting events. You know those are Queen songs, right?

Hopefully by the time this movie is in theaters, we'll be seeing a glimmer of hope on the cultural horizons for all. In the meantime, we do have this cinematic tribute to look forward to with infinite pleasure:

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