I haven't seen the film yet, but probably will soon enough. After all, this is the '70's idol for my generation, pretty darn close to Beatles-level excitement for a good three years. I'm getting a little weary of these partially fictionalized biopics, mostly from fear really. While the filmmakers cry 'art' and claim the need to make a compelling story outweighs the minor inconveniences of facts, there's also the small matter that about 1,000 times as many people will simply watch the film and accept it verbatim than those who read the real story in a biography. Anyway, this isn't a film review.
Still, a big part of being an Elton fan back there was knowing and appreciating his relative rags-to-riches story, the nerdy kid who became the world's biggest star. We learned it all from his albums, Bernie's lyrics and the comic book included in the Capt. Fantastic album. All the famous moments portrayed in the film (I've seen the trailer at least) came to us in magazine photos, such as his iconic bejeweled Dodgers uniform when he played that L.A. stadium, this was all part of the excitement. This story was always made for the big screen.
That time frame is pretty much where the soundtrack songs stay, from his career beginnings to mid-'70's superstardom. It's performed by the movie cast, mostly the star Taron Egerton, who was chosen for both his ability to portray Elton, and to do a pretty good job of performing the famous material. That's easier to do on-screen than not, since just by listening to this soundtrack we have to compare his performances to the originals. I'd give him pretty good marks really, especially on the quieter songs ("Your Song," "Tiny Dancer") and he does a great take on the Gospel flavoured "Border Song." Truly, give the guy a B-plus, and he holds his own with the star himself on the lone new track included, "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again," which is a fine Motown-like track that might even put Elton back in the charts.
Annoyingly, instead of using full versions of several well-known cuts, including
"Bennie and the Jets" and "Pinball Wizard," the soundtrack features the abbreviated takes included in the movie. Giles Martin's production is less than lively as well, with the instrumentation buried, something you never heard on Elton's originals. Perhaps again this is a function of the film, where the focus is on the Elton character, but as any fan from the time knows, the band members were stars too. There's some messing around with arrangements, again for film reasons, such as a slow start to Crocodile Rock, and these distract.