an unrevealing review of baz luhrman’s ambitious new biopic of elvis

Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 min­utes.

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!

 

unrevealing review: 50s poster from the movie ELVIS (2022).

unrevealing review: 60s poster from the movie ELVIS (2022).

unrevealing review: 70s poster from the movie ELVIS (2022).

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?

Ob­viously.

Should you see it?

Hell, yes!

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

unrevealing review: cropped 70s poster from the movie ELVIS (2022).

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.

 

Elvis ThatsTheWayItIs LP 800

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.

 


 

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