Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

‘Crazy Little Thing’ called cinema

Queen’s remastered film hits IMAX theaters for a one-weekend premiere
Sofia Meija




The sound fills a twelve-channel sound system in the IMAX theater, followed by claps and an impressive light array that reveals an audience of 18,000 at the Montreal Forum in Quebec, Canada.

Buddy, you’re a boy, make a big noise, playing.” 

We are taken back to the evening of Nov. 25, 1981, when fans from all over the world gathered to experience the intricate sound and performance of the beloved British rock band Queen. 

“In the street, gonna be a big man someday.”

In the immersive, remastered IMAX sound and picture film “Queen Rock Montreal,” viewers relived a once-in-a-lifetime performance through a “front row immersive experience.” The original 35mm film was converted into 4K resolution for the cinema, preserving its authenticity. Originating from the 2007 concert film “We Will Rock You,” this film was enhanced to incorporate a new sound format, clearer imagery and specialized geometry meant for theaters.

“You got mud on your face, you big disgrace. Kicking your can all over the place.”

The faces of Queen — Guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor, bassist John Deacon and vocalist Freddie Mercury — appear on a “larger-than-life,” fifteen-meter screen in the cinematic production of this historic rock and roll film. In a Forbes press release interview for the film, May shared, “This film has preserved one of the highest peaks in Queen’s touring life, on stage in the old glory days.” The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Walt Versen, Queen’s former security chief, shared that he “couldn’t believe how powerful it was to see the 30-foot face of Freddie Mercury.” 

The concert film was advertised as an exclusive “one weekend only” event, screening from Jan. 18 to 21 in select AMC theaters. The film’s iconic setlist leads with their infamous hit “We Will Rock You” followed by “Somebody To Love.” The center was bridged with exhibitions of “Under Pressure” and “Love Of My Life.” The band finished with unforgettable performances of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Are The Champions.” The fourteen-song setlist neared a one-and-a-half-hour production, each song merging seamlessly into the next. 

The film starts with a powerful opener and escalates throughout the duration. Towards the middle point, the band’s energy accelerates rapidly — particularly lead vocalist and pianist Mercury. Known for his flamboyant and unapologetic stage presence, Mercury increases his range of movement by strutting and declaring the stage in a way that has viewers fixated from beginning to end. May interacts with Mercury during his staggering guitar solos, which receive an overwhelming response of excitement from the crowd. Keeping the viewer engaged, director Saul Swimmer included different cuts and angles of each performance: views from the crowd, back and front of the stage, solos on each member, close-up shots, etc. Swimmer also does an incredible job of portraying the crowd’s captivation of Queen through a series of extreme, long, full-screen, point-of-view and cinematic shots. Each reel is intentional in capturing the warmth and emotion of the fan’s reactions. The video shots vary from people’s hardcore head-banging to others embracing and crying. Demonstrating Queen’s duality, the audience comes together to bask in the glory of Queen’s music. 

After reviewing the film, what stood out most was Queen’s rare, exceptional sound and collaborative efforts. They worked in a special way of unison as if one could not exist on stage without the other. Individually, each band member carried talent, but together, they seemed indomitable. Overall, the film did an incredible job of capturing their performance highlights while contributing to their legacy, versatility and timeless style and sound. 

When the film neared the 90-minute mark, Queen’s closing performance filled the screen with a second rendition of “We Will Rock You” and a transition into “We Are The Champions.”

“We are the champions, my friends and we’ll keep on fighting till the end.”

Mercury belted the first two verses at the piano then proceeded to grab his signature bottomless mic stand shortly afterward.

“We are the champions. We are the champions.”

His bare feet wandered to the furthest end of the stage, right where the edge meets the audience. He shook hands, exchanged eye contact and punched his right hand in the air. By this point, the crowd was following his lead, singing word for word.

“No time for losers, ‘cause we are the champions.”

The band harnessed their energy for the final line as the crowd fell into a temporary silence and Mercury’s hands gripped the mic. With eyes shut, Mercury threw back his head, chanting, 

“Of the world.”

Screens dim, lights ascend and the credits roll.

There is nothing like experiencing Queen in theaters. 

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About the Contributor
Sofia Meija, Graphic Artist
Sofia (she/her) is a 3rd year Marketing major with a minor in Film Studies. She is passionate about creating creative SFX makeup, film and fashion. Her hobbies include painting, playing with her dogs, baking, cosplaying and arts & crafts. Outside of school, she works at Thirteen Floors as a makeup artist. She joined the Paisano in Spring 2023.

Comments (1)

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  • R

    RichardJan 25, 2024 at 4:08 am

    Apparently the run is being extended in some Imax theatres due to the exceptional demand!