Rocketman (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Reggie Dwight is an international treasure. He has been giving music to the world since the early 70’s, has amassed a gigantic fan base, and is one of popular music’s most eclectic musicians. Oh wait… something about this opening doesn’t seem right… Ah, yes…. ELTON JOHN is the name, and Rocketman is the game… uh… movie… And what a film it is! A whirlwind journey told through the eyes, ears and reminiscences of music royalty? This movie screams “see it!” from it’s first frames! Music, drama, and huge highs and lows are just a few of the things awaiting you in Rocketman. Check out more below on this incredible music fantasy biopic!


Elton John is a figure in music history that is truly undeniable. He is an artist who has been up and down so many times. There have been controversies, addictions and many life revelations that have played out in the public eye.  If you’re a fan of his music you’re likely to know some of those stories. Rocketman takes those stories and tells them truthfully, but also throws a truly new spin on the music legends story. This is a biopic yes, but deeper than that, this film is presented as a highly stylized musical with flash and flare almost indicative of classic musicals in the past. The difference? Well, it’s 2019, this is based on a true story told with full participation of the story, and you wouldn’t see some of the material presented here back in the day. All that aside, you are sucked into this amazing ride right away.

As a young boy, Reginald Dwight is a shy, talented child who longs to be hugged. His father is absent, his mother (Bryce Dallas Howard) is greedy and rude and his grandmother (Gemma Jones) is literally the only person in his life that respects him and sees what he has going for him. Right away, Grandma is taking Reggie to piano lessons and letting his gift become even more pronounced by the day. Reggie can play by ear is and leaned very quickly what his teacher is trying to teach him. This begins a critical stage of discovery for Reggie.

Flash to some years later, and Reggie (now played by Taron Egerton) is still blossoming as a first rate musician. He can write beautiful melodies and has made a friend named Bernie (Jamie Bell) who is a very gifted lyricist. The two form a partnership that lasts for countless years. Oh, there is also that discovery of something pertinent to his career… the discovery of his name. Reggie hates his name and decides to take the name of a band mate of his, Elton (of course) and chooses the name of another musician he admires, John (Lennon… of course) and the rest is history… Or so we think.

Elton is immediately on the rise as a songwriter. He signs a quick deal with a slick manager John Reid (Richard Madden) and begins his journey as a recording artist. As with most all music superstar stories, things aren’t always so cut and dry. This is where Rocketman turns the genre of musical biopic on its ear. The movie is for all intents and purposes a true story, but little elements of fantasy and flare elevate the story that much more. The musical numbers are effective due to the imaginative direction by Bohemian Rhapsody’s rescue director Dexter Fletcher and with technical advisory from Elton John himself. You won’t forget any of the musical scenes because even the smallest ones are filled with grand wonderful moments.

I think for me, the best part of this wild ride was to be the fly on the wall for many moments of Elton’s life. His self discovery and change from Reginald Dwight into Elton Hercules John is truly unforgettable. He is unapologetic about his sexuality, his shyness, and his need for true love. Those moments are handled well throughout the film. His stage presence is not the same as his personal life. Elton has trouble coping in either aspect of his life without drugs or alcohol and that is handled very candidly in the film as well. The film begins with Elton walking himself into rehab and speaking about his life. That’s how we dive in and we are fully immersed from moment one straight through the two hours in a whirlwind.

At the end of Rocketman I felt like I didn’t want the musical to end. You are completely engaged the entire time in an incredible fantasy world, much of which is all fact. There are true sadnesses and upsets within the fantasy, but it is all for the betterment of a man torn between superstardom and the destruction of a very important life. Taron Egerton deserves special consideration for taking the role and not playing it, but almost literally living it. There’s nothing fake about his performance and you are glued to him. His screen presence is immense!

Make no mistake, this is no mere biopic. This is a sprawling, lively, blunt musical told with a truth not marveled by many other movies pertaining to biographical information. Not everyone is picture perfect and the payoff at the end is that Elton John, even now, is still standing. Absolutely incredible…


  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Dolby Vision: Yes
  • HDR: HDR10
  • Clarity/Detail: Rocketman was captured digitally at 3.4k and finished at 2k. This upscaled image is crisp, and nearly pristine. The details are evident quite immediately as Elton enters rehab in a flashy stage costume. The various materials, and the shininess on the spandex are heir apparent to the rest of the transfer. You are treated to many visual delights in crisp interiors, rich concert venues and great fantasy musical numbers. The underwater scene and the scene at the carnival are rich with detail that 4k lovers dream of!
  • Depth: Depth is presented in such a way that certain moments seem to lift off the screen. Obviously this isn’t literal, but this film definitely has that UHD pop in many of the musical number sequences.
  • Black Levels: Blacks are of the deep and inky variety. There is not a faded black level in sight with this disc.
  • Color Reproduction: Colors are lovingly recreated from their filmed source. Reds, greens, blues, and every other color of the rainbow are gorgeous rendered throughout. There is not a dud in the bunch.
  • Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are natural and exacting.
  • Noise/Artifacts: None to be seen.


  • Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core), French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Descriptive Audio
  • Subtitles: English, French and Spanish
  • Dynamics: As to be expected with a musical or music-based film, there are immediate dynamic moments any time music is a part of the scene. The quieter moments of Rocketman are not in any competition with the louder moments of course, and the Atmos mix is fully immersive in even smaller scenes. You feel like you’re in the house with young Reggie as he sings about his need for love. You also feel like you’re a part of the crowd in the many performance scenes and floating underwater with Elton during one rock bottom moment in the film. The directionality of each channel is spot on throughout also.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The low end is always there for the music. There aren’t a whole lot of other moments where bass is needed or necessary. LFE comes just as it should, when it should and is deep and rumbly as needed too.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: The surrounds are used in all the complimentary ways. The main use for surrounds is in the environments throughout the film. Echoey home scenes, louder concert scenes and outdoor scenes are all treated lovingly throughout the surround environment. Music and other sounds pan through the sound stage and bring you right in the middle of whatever moment you’re seeing.
  • Height: Height channels only bring the use of the surrounds even further over the top. Music, ambient sounds, and even some moments of dialogue can come through those top speakers and help with the audio immersion.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: Clean and always audible, no matter which channel the dialogue may be in.


The 4K Blu-ray combo pack for Rocketman includes a slightly larger slipcover to encase the disc case and a small booklet containing a “special message” from Elton John about the film. You also get a digital code and a smattering of extras on the bundled Blu-ray. Things get a little gripey for me from here as there is another assemblage of addition bonus content for those that choose to redeem the digital code. For those like myself who believe a 4K disc is the best way to view films at home, this is another disappointment in that we’re missing something those who redeem codes will receive. What we have is great, but to have it all in our physical package would’ve been preferable.


Bonus content is as follows:

  • Extended Musical Numbers:

o   Introduction by Dexter Fletcher

o   The Bitch Is Back

o   Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)

o   Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache

o   Honky Cat

  • Deleted and Extended Scenes:

o   Introduction by Dexter Fletcher

o   I Love Rock And Roll

o   You’ve Got to Kill the Person You Were Born To Be

o   Arabella

o   Elton in the Gas Oven

o   Stylish Boots

o   You’re Not the First Closet Queer with a Mummy Complex

o   The Blood Test

o   The Heart Attack

o   The Launderette

o   Do You Want Anything?

  • 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
  • Music Reimagined: The Studio Sessions – Behind the scenes in the recording studio with Taron & Elton​
  • ROCKETMANLyric Companion: Sing-Along with Select Songs (English only):

o   The Bitch Is Back

o   I Want Love

o   Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)

o   Your Song

o   Crocodile Rock

o   Tiny Dancer

o   Honky Cat

o   Rocket Man

o   Bennie and the Jets

o   Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me

o   Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

o   Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

o   I’m Still Standing

  • ROCKETMAN Jukebox: Jump Straight to the Music


Rocketman truly dazzled me. I’ve always loved Elton John and songs like “Tiny Dancer,” “Levon,” “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” and “The Bitch Is Back” among many others are unforgettable classics to me. Seeing his life story presented in a spectacular musical makes the story all the more interesting. Taron Egerton loses himself in the performance and director Dexter Fletcher proves he is a dynamic filmmaker who tries very hard to tell stories in unapologetic ways. This movie has a ton of heart and you won’t forget it after your first viewing. The overall package here is excellent (but I did dock this one a point for being stingy with those exclusive extras… I won’t go digital until I HAVE to!) and is a must see for fans of classic rock and pop music!





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