Megan at the Movies: Elvis

Recently in Hollywood, there has been an obsession with movies about famous musicians and their lives. It started in 2018 with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and then it continued in 2019 with “Rocketman” and now we have “Elvis” (2022). I’m not a huge Elvis fan nor even a huge fan of biopics, but I went into the movie optimistic. While I will be discussing this movie, this is a spoiler-free review; however, the man’s been dead for 45 years so there are not too many new, shocking things I can pull back the curtain on.

  This movie follows the life of Elvis Presley, played by Austin Butler, through his childhood and early career all the way to the height and end of his career. There’s also the added element of Colonel Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks. Colonel Parker was Presley’s manager and the movie is told from his perspective. He opens the movie and continues to narrate it throughout. 

  I’ll mention what I like about this movie, before what I didn’t like. Firstly, Butler plays a great Presley. Besides the uncanny resemblance, he completely nails the classic Elvis voice and mannerisms. He even sings a lot of the songs in the movie and I could hardly tell that it was Butler singing. Speaking of the music, they obviously played a lot of Presley songs, but they also had a lot of new modernized songs played in the background of some scenes. It’s a lot like what they did in the “Great Gatsby” (2013) where they used modern music to give the audience an idea of what this music sounded like for the people in that time period. My favorite song that was made for this movie was Doja Cat’s “Vegas.”  I also thought the movie was shot well. There are several interesting camera moments such as replicating the camerawork used in the real-life recordings of Presley’s performances. 

  Now, for what I didn’t like. I didn’t like Colonel Parker narrating the movie and I especially didn’t like his constant fourth wall breaks. I thought it was weird and didn’t fit the movie’s tone. I also felt that the pacing was off. So much of the movie is about younger Presley and the second half of his life felt rushed. This movie also really sugarcoats Presley’s life. I know it’s PG-13 but I wanted more of the psychology and to be more in-depth about Presley. I guess what I’m saying is that I would’ve preferred this movie to be told by Presley and not the Colonel.

According to The Numbers, “Elvis” had a budget of $85 million and grossed $285.3 million at the box office and $31.2 million in its opening weekend. According to Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb, the movie has a 77% Rotten Tomatoes score and a 7.5/10 on IMDb. The film has also had overwhelming praise from Presley’s daughter on her Instagram.

Overall, “Elvis” was pretty good. If you are a big Presley fan, you’ll probably enjoy it more than I did. If you want to watch it, it’s streaming on HBO Max and Hulu, with a premium subscription, and it’s still showing in theaters. I would rate this movie 7 out of 10 stars.