IF you could strip it down to its component parts, Rocketman is 70 per cent Bohemian Rhapsody and 20  per cent The Greatest Showman.

The other ten per cent is allocated to a sort of personal therapy session; indeed the film opens with Elton dressed in a devil suit, bursting into a self-help group to open up about his numerous addictions.

Scripted by Lee Hall and directed by Dexter Fletcher, Rocketman is, broadly speaking, a biography of the more interesting years of Elton John's life. He is one of the great songwriters of the past 50 years: his partnership with Bernie Taupin produced some of the 1970s' most enduring tracks (Your Song, Daniel, Crocodile Rock, Honky Cat, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and many more are gems of popular music).

It also documents the singer's downward spiral into a black hole of drink and drugs after a dysfunctional childhood. The singer's parents do not come off well in the film: both are depicted as selfish, narcissistic creatures, and Bryce Dallas Howard and Stephen Mackintosh are excellent as the imperfect parental figures.

The scene where Elton sees his father (now remarried) and has to sign an album for a work colleague is ghastly, for all the right reasons.

As Elton, Taron Egerton makes the most of a full range of facial emotions, from glee and delight to anger, confusion and despair. Richard Madden is terrific as John Reid, Elton's lover and manager, and manages to combine self-centredness with charisma. The partnership between Taupin and John is the most tender and moving aspect of the film. "You're the brother I never had," Elton says at one point.

Rocketman's subtitle is "Based on a true fantasy" but it's the straight sections that work the best; the more surreal stuff (with characters dancing and singing different lines) is a bit silly, and it sometimes feels like it is trying too hard.

Its fatal flaw, however, was the decision to re-record the original tracks, with Egerton's vocal replacing John's. No offence to the young actor, but he cannot compete with Elton's soulful tenor: Tiny Dancer loses the elegance and emotion of the original.

The Bitch Is Back, one of the Seventies' best rock songs, is also stripped of its raucous energy. 

Nevertheless, Rocketman is an emotive and enjoyable ride.

Review by Miles Salter, York writer, musician and storyteller