Movie Review: Elvis Featured

Andy McKinney June 26, 2022 142

You knew it was coming. Welcome, Elvis

Big Idea

  • First, there was Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. So of course, now there’s an Elvis movie
  • This movie is more than a celebration of great music, but a “grand tragedy”
  • Austin Butler plays Elvis, Tom Hanks plays Colonel Parker
  • Only a mild PG-13 rating
  •


This film is art about art

After the success of the recent musical biographical movies "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Rocketman," music lovers might have expected a film about 'The King himself.  

Here it is, and it is spectacular.  Elvis Presley died (some say he died) much too soon, but he left a blazing slash on the American music scene that will never dim.  This film is a worthy tribute to his star power and his life.

This film is not a celebration of great music but a grand tragedy of the highest, most moving order.

Presley's wife, daughter, and granddaughter all endorse this high-powered film.


Writer/director/producer tasks come together in the capable hands of Australian-born Baz Luhrmann. He hasn't made a ton of movies, but his work has produced a series of gems.  He directed "Strictly Ballroom," "Moulin Rouge" with Nikole Kidman, and "The Great Gatsby.”  


His pacing with "Elvis" is like dropping down the shoot of a bobsled run.

Austin Butler ("Once Upon a Time in Hollywood") sings some of the songs in the film.  His voice and stage presence with songs like "Hound Dog," "Trouble," and "That's All Right" show those who have never experienced a live Elvis show just why we still have people making a living as Elvis impersonators.  Butler is outstanding in the role.

As is Tom Hanks as the mysterious, sinister, menacing presence of Colonel Parker, Presley's long-time manager.  Unusual for an actor of his fame, Hanks vanished into the role.

Watch for Alton Mason playing Little Richard.  I love Little Richard.

The music, Elvis' music makes the movie.  We have some thirty-six numbers to enjoy.  Butler sings as young Elvis, but Elvis handles the singing of his mature years.  Arizona's Stevie Nicks sings, as do Kris Isaak and Eminem, among others, on the soundtrack album.


This film is art about art.  Bas Luhrmann has created a fascinating rendering of the life and death of Elvis Presley.  He takes us through the thrilling early years, then shows Elvis' decline, the betrayal by those he trusted, and his premature, needless death.  Art, to be art, must touch our emotions.  This film qualifies.

The worthy, wonderful "Elvis" runs for two hours and thirty-nine minutes.  Despite the subject, Rock n' Roll, it has a mild PG-13 rating.  Those of us who grew up with Elvis and those who want to see what all the fuss was about will enjoy this musical biopic.  Four sawblades.



Best quote-Colonel Tom Parker said in the film, "...I could see in that girl's eyes.  She could have eaten him alive.”

Some might say that we, the public, devoured Elvis, the man to create Elvis the Star.  I don't know about that; too deep for me, but I liked the movie.

The power of Elvis' personality and talent is so strong that forty-five years after his death, his estate makes about $23 million a year.


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Last modified on Sunday, 26 June 2022 01:08
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