Elvis

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Wick's Review

Created Jul 09, 2022 09:52AM PST • Edited Jul 20, 2022 05:52PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Very Good 3.5

    Elvis coulda been titled Baz given its near fatal dose of writer-director Baz Luhrmann’s overwrought style. Elvis Presley was no stranger to overwrought style, so the cinematic marriage works to a point. That point gets reached when Baz dwells on the overwrought story of Col. Tom Parker, notwithstanding that Elvis’ Svengali manager is played by American icon Tom Hanks. There’s a lot going on, just not all about Elvis.

    Elvis does rise to the occasion of revivifying the King of Rock & Roll when it focuses on the world’s most beautiful man, a man with the voice of a god. He could sing anything and sing it better than it’s ever been sung. Plus, there was his R-rated dancing. Elvis the Pelvis bequeathed big shoes to fill – blue suede shoes.

    Austin Butler fills those shoes, curls that lip, swivels those hips and belts out the early songs masterfully. A star is born in Elvis and his name is Austin Butler. He’s the best Elvis impersonator ever. Oops, did I say Elvis impersonator? Meant to say actor. Other actors who have essayed the King of Rock & Roll include Kurt Russell, Don Johnson, Val Kilmer, Tyler Hilton & Michael Shannon. Quite a list, but Butler is best.

    Elvis trades in falsehoods and only gives the King partial runtime in his own damn biopic, all of which is very Elvis indeed. But, as it always is with the American Kallos, the first modern yet ancient ideal of beauty, Elvis burns brightly, a successful revivification of a singular sensation in both entertainment and American history. That’s worth getting caught in a trap and definitely worth a trip to the theater.

  3. Really Great 4.5

    Austin Butler becomes Elvis Presley, #RockstarFountainhead

    Tom Hanks liberat corpus of Col. Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager.
    Elvis’ Family
    • Priscilla Presley, Elvis’ wife, played by Olivia DeJonge
    • Gladys Presley, Elvis’ mama, played by Helen Thomson
    • Vernon Presley, Elvis’ papa, played by Richard Roxburgh
    • Chaydon Jay as young Elvis
    The Blue Moon Boys, Elvis’ Band
    • Scotty Moore, the man who invented fucking power chords – Xavier Samuel
    • Bill Black, pioneering rock & roll bassist – Adam Dunn
    • D.J. Fontana, Elvis’ drummer – Terepai Richmond
    Legends
    • B.B. King – Kelvin Harrison Jr.
    • Little Richard – Alton Mason
    • Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Yola Quartey
    • Arthur Crudup – Gary Clark Jr.
    • Mahalia Jackson – Cle Morgan
    • Big Mama Thornton – Shonka Dukureh
    • Hank Snow – David Wenham
    • Jimmie Rodgers Snow – Kodi Smit-McPhee
    Industry Types
    • Sam Phillips – Josh McConville
    • Dewey Phillips – Patrick Shearer
    • Jerry Schilling – Luke Bracey
    • Steve Binder – Dacre Montgomery
  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Really Great 4.5
  8. Very Good 3.5

    The high points of the film, aside from Elvis’ gripping performances, show Elvis as a son of 1950s Memphis, just another Beale Street boy. It depicts Elvis clothes-shopping on Beale Street with B.B. King, the Beale Street Blues Boy. Black style appropriated by a white working-class kid changed the world!

    The low points are when Baz Lurhmann goes too Baz Lurhmann and creates a Memphis Moulin Rouge. After all, Baz Lurhmann getting to do an Elvis film is like an Elvis fan from the Louisiana Hayride getting a free Graceland-style home makeover. Overindulgence is guaranteed.

    In the Baz Luhrmann canon, I’d place Elvis modestly above Australia, but then I’m an American.

  9. Direction Good 3.0
  10. Play Good 3.0
  11. Music Perfect 5.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.2

    The man was sex appeal personified, a hunka hunka burning love.

  15. Sex Titillating 2.4
  16. Violence Gentle 1.5
  17. Rudeness Profane 2.6
  18. Glib 1.9

    Elvis fudges the facts liberally and often. Hence, I grade its CircoReality at 3X normal, aka Surreal.

    Fact-fudging aside, this otherwise definitive biopic is eye-opening about several aspects of the cultural melange that was Elvis Presley.

    • Black style: Elvis grew up in integrated neighborhoods in an otherwise unintegrated South, so was steeped in black music and style. Hence, the pink suit he wore when he first burst onto the scene. It kicked off a cultural sensation for the color pink.
    • Unrivaled sex appeal: His hip swiveling and lip curling weren’t affectations at first. But as one of his bandmates said, “Elvis was a fast learner”, and soon emphasized his physical affectations to the utter delight and frequent delirium of his audience.
    • Endless talent: Elvis had the voice of a god and also had the great gift of producing his music, including with large supporting casts behind him on stage.
  19. Circumstantial Surreal 3.0
  20. Biological Glib 1.6
  21. Physical Natural 1.0

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