IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR TROUBLE, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re looking for trouble, don’t look in my face or keep reading. This is a relatively brief and rather unrevealing review of a relatively long and complex movie that tells you little about the events or effects in the movie—hence, no spoilers.
This is just a chance for me to hopefully communicate to you how I experienced the movie. The intention of writer-producer-director Baz Luhrman intention seems to have been to hit the audience with a lot of the BANG! FLASH! POW! of comic books and the waaay-over-the-topness of gay-ish camp, like he did with Moulin Rouge. Except where I found this approach unwatchable on Moulin Rouge, it worked for me on Elvis.
This a spoiler-free review of “Elvis” that tells you absolutely nothing about the events or effects in the movie!
Once Austin Butler as the young Presley strides onto the stage and starts singing, it’s a rollercoaster ride of thrills for what seemed like an hour. While Butler’s take on the young Elvis the Pelvis seems to have received most of the media attention, it’s the later Elvis where he excels.
But, throughout the 2 hours and 39 minutes of Elvis, Luhrman makes fast and loose with the facts and the chronology of events so often that it will take a YouTube video 2 hours and 39 minutes to sort them out and rebut them!
These are the three primary posters used to promote the movie, Elvis. Apparently, there were others.
An unrevealing review
The most difficult period for imitators to do is Elvis on stage at NBC’s studio in 1968 and Elvis on stage at the International Hotel in Las Vegas in 1969. During these scenes in the movie, Austin Butler was so spot on that I didn’t think he was acting at all—I thought he was channeling Elvis’s spirit!
The biggest plus of the movie is that it is so much fun to watch—even if it may be a tad long—and presents Elvis in such a positive and appreciative light, that it just might create a new generation of Elvis fans.
The biggest minus is, obviously, the “artistic license” noted above taken with facts will probably confuse many of these new Elvis fans. This will force old-timers like me to spend the next few years answering questions on Quora like, “How could Elvis have performed a song on stage two years before it was written?”
So, to answer the basic questions about my experience watching Elvis:
Did I enjoy the movie?
Should you see it?
Will I see it again?
Duh . . .This a spoiler-free review of ‘Elvis’ that tells you absolutely nothing about the events or effects in the movie! Click To Tweet
FEATURED IMAGE: The image at the top of this page was cropped from one of several posters made to advertise Elvis. This photo is Austin Butler as Elvis on stage at the International Hotel in Las Vegas in 1970 wearing one of Presley’s earlier jumpsuits, which was comparatively tame and conservative compared to what was to come.
This is the cover to the purported soundtrack album to the 1970 documentary film Elvis – That’s The Way It Is. Except that it’s not a soundtrack but rather Elvis’ newest album of mostly studio recordings. Either way, it’s one of my fave albums with one of my fave covers.
Finally, if you’re an Elvis fan, you understand the opening two lines of this article. If you have seen the movie, you should recognize how they tie in with my observations/complaints about Luhrman’s liberal interpretation and use of artistic license.
Mystically liberal Virgo enjoys long walks alone in the city at night in the rain with an umbrella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig who strives to live by the maxim, “It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know that just ain’t so.
I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a college dropout (twice!). Occupationally, I have been a bartender, jewelry engraver, bouncer, landscape artist, and FEMA crew chief following the Great Flood of ’72 (and that was a job that I should never, ever have left).
I am also the final author of the original O’Sullivan Woodside price guides for record collectors and the original author of the Goldmine price guides for record collectors. As such, I was often referred to as the Price Guide Guru, and—as everyone should know—it behooves one to heed the words of a guru. (Unless, of course, you’re the Beatles.)