On Screen: Queen & Coldplay

November 24, 2018

This month, two films about two great bands were shown in local cinemas. Since I am a fan of both of them, I immediately booked tickets as soon as they were available. After watching the movies, these bands earned more respect from me and my adoration for them just grew even deeper.

Bohemian Rhapsody
"A chronicle of the years leading up to Queen's legendary appearance at the Live Aid (1985) concert." - IMDb


The movie depicted just how this band started, the legendary Queen, and how the inspirations came about that led to their creation of their popular songs, most notably Bohemian Rhapsody and Love of My Life, for me at least. The film follows their adventure from their first performance in a bar to their legendary performance on the Live Aid stage.

I became a fan ever since I got to watch their Montreal concert DVD. I even felt sad upon realization that I won't really be able to see them perform live. I have also seen the Live Aid footage on Youtube several times after as I have read that this is the ultimate Queen experience. Their 20-minute set was one of the best live performances of their hit songs Bohemian Rhapsody and Radio Gaga among others. It has never failed to give me goosebumps and (that oh so familiar) concert eargasm. I just love Freddie Mercury's voice and stage presence. In the movie, they used the original audio from the Live Aid footage. It was noticeable though that the film skipped their performance of Crazy Little Thing Called Love, and the obvious reason for me is due to the technical difficulties that happened during the song (which was really a bummer as it could have been a flawless performance but yeah I guess that imperfection even made it more appealing).

I also found it amusing to see the CGI used to recreate that massive crowd of Live Aid audience in the film. If you see the actual footage, you'll realize that yup that number of people were in the audience (around 70,000 in attendance). The crowd was ecstatic during Queen's performance, everyone clapping their hands during Radio Gaga, and We Will Rock You. Freddie's signature stage moves were very lovely to watch. It was indeed amusing that the film did it's best to be loyal to the Live Aid setup - from the band's outfit to the crew on the stage, to that green scotch tape on the mic + the drinks on the piano (hey Pepsi you just got free advert for that), to the people on the crowd (saw that black U2 banner!). Aside from this being a historical milestone for the band, their performance was even more worthwhile because this monumental event is all for a great cause - Live Aid's main goal was to raise funds for famine relief in Africa, and boy did they overachieve this as thousands of people sent their donations during the live telecast of the concert.

Although it's already a given that some events on the film were altered for cinematic purposes, it showed the band's adventure as they went for their destined fame, and also to Freddie's personal life, showing us the struggles that he had to endure throughout his life - the music, friendship, love, identity, and even his own mortality.


Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams
"A HEAD FULL OF DREAMS offers an in-depth and intimate portrait of the band's spectacular rise from the backrooms of Camden pubs to selling out stadiums across the planet." - IMDb


It's official: Coldplay's Head Full of Dreams concert is my life's greatest concert regret. I knew it the instant I saw the footages from this film. My heart ached as I saw what I missed that night. 😢 I knew that seeing this film is my way of rectifying that mistake, and well somehow my Coldplay heart became happy and satisfied all the same.

With videos spanning from way back 20 years ago, this documentary film showed how the band started. Even before they thought of naming their band "Coldplay" (of which they shamelessly stated they stole from another band that didn't want it anymore), those timeless moments have been captured and collated for this film. We see how they found their drummer. We see how Chris Martin formulated their hit The Scientist during that one time he was alone in the studio while the rest of his members were in vacation. We see how they built their songs in the early stages, how one cool guitar riff bore a full pledged song. I just love this one footage of Chris Martin telling the camera to mark this date as he says this words with uttermost conviction: "Coldplay will be the biggest band in the world, you will see." And damn yes, he was a self-fulfilling prophet. Just look where they are now.

Heavy with the band members' commentaries, this movie unfolded the notable events along Coldplay's 20-year journey in the industry. It's only here that I learned that they've been through a lot. They've been abandoned by the manager and the drummer along the way, and after sometime found their way back. It's humbling to see that their current line up is the original since day one. With that, you can just feel the bond they have created which was made stronger by life's ups and downs.

"Is there a keyboard somewhere?" We hear Chris Martin ask this during one of their jamming sessions. I will always be at awe at how musicians work. They are real-life magicians crafting these wonderful melodies that speak the language of the human soul. And can we just talk about Chris' voice! Man those vocals! His voice has always been the same since the start: deep and full of soul. He sings songs so emotional that it gives you certain feelings you never knew existed inside of you before. I learned from the film that the Ghost Stories album came to be post-Gwenth-Paltrow-breakup and there I understood why the songs sounded that way. Chris was broken inside. Even their members felt this, and they were all so protective of him during this delicate time of his life. Quite the opposite of the mood of his songs in this album, he has this personality of a bubble of energy off stage, grinning and doing dorky stuff in front of the camera. The film showed some footages of the band when they were here in Manila last year for the Head Full of Dreams concert leg in the country. We see them walking around Intramuros haggling with locals for souvenir hats, and also Chris biking around MOA arena (with fans realizing who he was began screaming his name as he past by) hours before the concert began.

I was happy I didn't leave the theater right away, because there was a comprehensive post-credits scene with Mat Whitecross talking about his experience filming the members since the beginning. After seeing the film, I can't help but feel that this is some culminating process for their career. They've been in the industry for two decades and maybe they feel it's time to retire and call it a day? I don't know. I hope they won't, that they would still create music until the day they die (LOL not to be interpreted literally). Can I promise myself I'll see them if there's a chance they'd come back to the country to perform? I don't know. When I missed their concert here, I knew in my heart that that concert was not meant for me. It was not for me, and I'll just have to accept that fact. But oh well who knows. Maybe by some stir of luck, I can see them perform live, even if just for one song.

~o~

I super enjoyed watching these two films using my VIP membership at SM Cinema. If you want to have a free refill of popcorn and drinks and earn cinema points, and also have a complimentary movie pass on your birthday month, download the SM Cinema app and become a VIP member! Aside from booking your movie tickets at the ease of your fingertips, you also get those cool perks!
By they way, this is not a sponsored post. I'm just a happy customer sharing this nice news to others! For more info, visit the SM Cinema site.

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