Elvis attempts to put on some charms to bring a generation to the movies again revisiting the story and controversy of Elvis’ life and persona as a legend in music. Hitting theaters this Friday, is it worth going and seeing? Check our review after the drop.
ELVIS, by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, explores the life and music of Elvis Presley (Austin Butler) and Oscar winner Tom Hanks as his business manager Colonel Tom Parker. Elvis’s (Butler) story is seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Hanks). As told by Parker, the film delves into the complex dynamic between the two spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America.
Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann attempts to cache in on a level of nostalgia with Elvis. His hopes to bring in a crowd when it comes to his music, his life, and what really happened may backfire. Luhrmann has a track record of some spectacular and grandiose films (Moulin Rouge; Romeo & Juliet). However, at 2 1/2 hours Elvis feels like the filmmaker lingered in the building too long and should have left while things were on a more interesting note.
The film centers around the story from the point of view of his business manager, Tom Parker (Hanks). In real life, the two had a complicated relationship. Parker was accused of swindling the King and was later revealed to be in America illegally. Hanks does a masterful job of playing the seemingly slimy but sharp business partner. Together they navigated the political and social pressures of the time with Elvis’ music and performance style. However, in most cases, Parker had his own interest in mind.
This is where the film struggles. For the most part, people didn’t come to the movies to see Parker’s story. They wanted to see Elvis’ and the film spent too much time on the business partner relationship. However, when the film does spend its time on Elvis, things get entertaining. Butler does a stunning job of playing the role both in appearance but also in mannerisms and in his voice. When the story focuses on family and the political and social taboos that Elvis navigated it was at its best.
But alas the film spends about 60 minutes too long on the overall story and I spent a lot of time looking at my watch. I am not saying a large portion of the film isn’t entertaining. I came out learning a lot more about Elvis than I did before. Luhrmann lingered too long on Parker’s storyline to really make for a cohesive film for viewers to enjoy. With so many threads related to Parker’s back story and how he managed Elvis, the main characters’ story plots suffered.
Elvis hits theaters on 6/24. Sound off in the comments below once you see it and let us know what you thought!