Why review Luhrmann’s Elvis ? So I’m married. In case you’re wondering why in the world Drunken Yoda would be interested in a Baz Luhrmann helmed biopic of Elvis Presley, well that’s why. My wife dragged me to it.
Point is, this is an OK movie that isn’t for me. My enjoyment was severly limited because I just have no interest in ANOTHER Elvis biopic. It is stylish and has the constant Luhrmann-edits. You know what I mean if you’ve seen his stuff, If not, think Ang Lee’s Hulk.
The problem I had with this movie is it’s a fairytale version of Elvis’s life. There’s nothing deep about the pill addiction, there’s zero about how young Priscilla was when he got together with her, and very little about his bad choices. It comes across as a great man just destroyed by Colonel Sanders and his chicken empire.
Yes yes, I know. Tom Hanks’ performance has been lauded by all the usual suspects but I thought it was cartoony. Not insanely so, but not exactly realistic either. Maybe this guy was as Hanks portrayed him but given that the rest of the movie is so light and, I say again, fairytale-like I would imagine the truth is somewhere in between.
It’s well known that Tom Parker ripped off Presley, but so did Presley’s Dad, a fact barely hinted at in this movie. One thing for a former carnival barker to rip you off, you were partially at fault for not seeing THAT coming, but your own Dad? Maybe that’s a bigger gut punch for most people. But then Hanks couldn’t chew the scenery in a fat suit.
Austin Butler did a pretty phenomenal job however as Elvis. He carried the movie and kept it from being a farce. His take is really spot-on aside from the fact that even aged up, he sometimes looked 12 years old to me. But if you can look past that, he was really great as the King.
Stylistically, it’s gorgeous. Telling a story from beginning to end and having the basics of storytelling in place? Also good. I can’t say was bored but the breakneck editing and pacing made that impossible.
My problem is that at the end of it all, I felt nothing. I didn’t care. I don’t feel like I saw anything of real substance, mostly style. Maybe because I really don’t care that much about pop singers of any era. Music biopics are firmly in the “who gives a shit?” column for me. John Williams is exempt but then he never tossed a dinette set out of a hotel penthouse after snorting sterno. Those movies are boring and not compelling. Crazy out of control singers are what people want to see and I’m not one of those people.
So your mileage may vary. Certainly if you want more meat to your biopics, there are plenty of Elvis movies to choose from. Given that I barely can stand most music in the first place, I may not be the best reviewer for this. But I’m all you got!
If you want another take and you like Baz Luhrmann’s stuff, you may get a lot of enjoyment out of this. If you really love Elvis and know his life up and down, then this might make a nice addition for your enjoyment. If you know nothing about him and want to know more, I would look elsewhere.