With the recent 20th anniversary of the passing of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, there's been an influx of Queen related material coming out from our friends over at Eagle Rock. This latest Blu-ray, titled The Great Pretender, takes a close look at the life of perhaps one of the greatest 'rock stars' of the last 40 years, Mr. Mercury himself. Rather than a career retrospective, the doumentary focuses more on the extravagent '80s, Mercury's failed attempt at a solo album (Mr. Bad Guy in 1985), relationships, Queen's big comeback that decade after taking a break, and mostly his dream of working with opera singer Montserrat Caballé that finally came to happen in the form of the album Barcelona in 1988, when he already knew he was ill and suffering the symptons of HIV. Many interview segments of Mercury are shown, a good few of them quite revealing, showing a rock superstar who was in actuality a very lonely and private man, despite his grandiose and over-the-top reputation.
Lots of live clips of Queen, as well as segments of various Queen and Mercury solo videos (real big in that MTV decade), but again, the focus, especially later in the documentary, is on the Barcelona album and Freddie's decline physically as the decade wore on. It's a sad story that all Queen fans know all too well (his death still hurts many to this day), but also a celebration of a rock and roll icon who gave so much joy to the world. Eagle Rock has included plenty of interview segments with Brian May, Roger Taylor, and a host of the rock music press as well as people close to Freddie and the band, giving additional insight to the late singer. Toss in superior high-definition picture quality and crisp sound, and you have a fantastic documentary of one of the greats of all time.