Hungarian Rhapsody, which chronicled the year in the life of the band, shows us the highs and lows they faced. It starts off with a 25-minute documentary, A Magic Year, which recounts the year leading up to Queen‘s performance in Budapest. After this, we are treated to the concert, featuring some of the band’s greatest hits. These include, but are not limited to, Seven Seas of Rhye, One Vision, We Are the Champions and of course, Bohemian Rhapsody. A Magic Year gives us a glimpse into the lives of the band when they were off the stage. This included everything from clips of Queen recording and rehearsing, to featurettes of others talking about them. It also includes some candid confessions by the band members themselves. They confided about everything, ranging from their insecurities and stage fright to the pressure of touring.
If you, like us, have wanted to watch interviews of the band, you know that they were few and far between. This is exactly why A Magic Yearworks. Though the quality of the archived footage is inconsistent and the film tends to get a bit slow at times, it gives us a sneak-peek into the band unlike ever before. It’s also jarring to see the stark contrast between the band’s larger-than-life stage personas and their self-effacing nature. This is especially true for Freddie Mercury, who seems like two completely different people in A Magic Year and Hungarian Rhapsody.
Unsurprisingly, Hungarian Rhapsody is a spectacular treat, both to the ears and the eyes. The band members’ effortless coolness shines through in each of the performances, making it hard to look away for even a second. Add to this the powerhouse vocals and instrumentation, and you have the perfect blend. The concert also features a special track that sets it apart from all of the band’s other shows. Since this was Queen‘s first concert in Hungary, the band covered Tavaszi Szél Vizet Áraszt, a classic Hungarian song. Not only did it sound beautiful, but the reaction it received from the crowd was also priceless.
However, herein also lies Hungarian Rhapsody‘s biggest flaw. One of the best parts of watching a concert film (or even badly-recorded bootlegs online, for that matter) is the crowd’s reaction. After all, the closest we can come to replicating the thrill of the concert is through the audience interaction. This was especially true for Queen‘s music, which elicited a reaction like no other band’s. Unfortunately, very little of the audience’s reaction actually makes it to the final cut of the film. Even the audio is a soundboard recording. Though this would’ve been ideal for a CD release, it does hamper the concert film quite a bit. We are also made to wonder if filming the Budapest concert was the best idea. Though it’s still magnificent from start to finish, the show pales in comparison to the Live Aid concert.
All things considered, Hungarian Rhapsody is still a brilliant concert film that is shot beautifully and is a must-watch for every fan.
Why should you watch this film?
Hungarian Rhapsody is a one-of-its-kind experience that lets you experience Queen‘s greatest hits up-close and personal. It is a stunning display of the band in their prime. Not only can you see them perform their finest tunes, but the film also gives you a rare glimpse into the band and their personas off-stage. Whether you only know a few of their songs or you know the catalog better than the band themselves, you’re bound to enjoy this concert film.