Rocket man

When we think of great music collaborative pairs we think of Rogers and Hammerstein, Learner and Lowe or Rogers and Hart.

We should also think of Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

Taupin has a phenomenal output as a lyricist, Elton John seems to be able to pull finished music from out of thin air. The two have produced such master works as “Candle in the Wind,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” and “Crocodile Rock” among dozens of others. Many of their songs rank with the best that rock and roll has to offer us.

And very few performers can match Elton John for stage presence and flamboyant, energetic showmanship.

Acting in the leading role of this biopic of Elton John’s early musical rise we have Taron Egerton. Now a solid leading man after his two “Kingsmen” films, he came to my notice with another biopic, “Eddie the Eagle.” In that he showed the story of perhaps the least likely Olympic athlete ever to compete. His portrayal of Elton John is brilliant. He takes us over the often seen rock star arc from unknown to wealth, success, excess and where too often early death sets in, to rehab and sobriety. I don’t know if all genius level people are emotional and spiritual wrecks, but Elton John was all of the above.

Director Dexter Fletcher, also an Englishman like Egerton and Elton John, came in to finish the truly memorable and stunningly successful recent musical biopic, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He also directed Egerton in his break out film, “Eddie the Eagle.”

Fletcher directs the film as fantasy recollections of Elton John as he goes through rehab. It has plenty of the music we wanted to hear and full scale dance numbers too.

Stalwart ink slinger Lee Hall penned the screenplay as he did with the beautiful and terrifying World War I epic “War Horse.” He also has done a lot of work on British TV.

Dallas Bryce Howard has a supporting role in “Rocketman” as Elton John’s emotionally remote mother. Howard vanishes entirely in the role. She will be most familiar for her roles in the recent “Jurassic World” films. She has a wide range of film roles including “50/50” and one of the “Spiderman” movies. She is the daughter of actor/director Ron Howard and goddaughter of The Fonz, Henry Winkler.

The R-rated “Rocketman” runs for two hours and one minute. This rock and roll biographical film gets a rockin’ four saw blades. The music alone will make this film a joy to watch. But due to the vivid portrayal of Elton John’s love life you will want to leave the kids at home. Bad words often enough peep through to cause a concern as well.

Fun Facts

• Elton John has an Oscar for “The Lion King.” He also played with Egerton in “Kingsmen: the Golden Circle.”

• Director Dexter Fletcher also has a number of acting as well as directing credits on his sheet. He appeared in a small role as one of my favorite films called “Cockney’s Vs Zombies” with Honor Blackman of “Goldfinger” fame.

• Bernie Taupin has also written lyrics for Arizona’s own Alice Cooper.

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