The King is back on the screen! This weekend saw the release of Elvis, helmed by Baz Lurhmann and starring Austin Butler. A biopic with Butler as Elvis Presley and Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker? That should be a recipe for surefire cinematic success. Well, the film has hit theaters, hot on the heels of some decent critical reviews. So, today’s Awards Radar Community Question centers on this very movie. If you saw Elvis, here’s what we want to know…what did you think of it? Whether you love it or hate it, and there may well be a divisive reception, we’re eager to find out your feelings.
My review of Elvis is below, and while admittedly pretty mixed, includes this bit that sums it up well:
Elvis is going to play for fans of The King, no doubt about that. There’s tons of his music, Butler does a good job as Presley, and this sort of old fashioned film has its place. It’s just a shame that Luhrmann and company zig when they should have zagged, leading to a frustrating experience. It’s not like there aren’t excellent sequences, either, like what culminates in If I Can Dream being performed, or the final ten to fifteen minutes of Elvis. This isn’t a bad movie by any stretch, but it’s too long and should have been way better, given the opportunity presented. Alas.
That’s my take. Now, it’s time for you to chime in. What did you think of Elvis? Is it an Oscar contender? How does it stack up with other biopics? The time is now to share what you thought. We’re all ears…
If/when you see Elvis, let us know your thoughts!
I saw Elvis earlier today. I’m a huge Elvis fan despite being only 36 so my expectations were fairly high. I agree with much of your review. The movie is flawed – while Col. Parker is a pivotal character in Elvis’ story, the decision to tell Elvis’ story from his perspective is a strange decision that did not work for me. It made Hanks/Parker virtually a co-lead and all I wanted when we were too focused on him was to get back to Elvis. I was also frustrated that even with a lengthy runtime we didn’t really dive into Elvis’ story beyond the surface. That said, the parts that the movie does get right, especially the musical performances, soar and I settled on feeling the film is a beautiful celebration of Elvis that didn’t shy away from the tragic parts of his story. But it left me wanting more – more about Elvis’ upbringing in a black community (I loved the childhood scene intercut with his first performance) and his inseparableness from black culture, more on how Sam Phillips founded him, more about everything. I could watch a whole move built around the creation of the 1968 comeback special.
At first I thought Hanks was miscast, but wound up feeling like it was an inspired choice. Parker cannot be played as a straight villain as the audience needs to believe and understand why Elvis sticks with him for so long. Hanks does a solid job making you hate this man while understanding Elvis’ decisions.
And finally, man oh man. Austin. Butler. He was incredible. He does not look like Elvis in the face, but he becomes him. The commitment Butler put into the role is palpable and his performance, again especially the musical performances, is mesmerizing. Adrenaline inducing. He captures Elvis – his voice, charisma, movement, joy, sadness, loneliness – in a way I have not seen in a biopic that I can recall. Really hoping the Academy remembers this performance – just outstanding.
Definitely largely in agreement. And you’re right, almost any of the elements of his life that got short shrift could have been movies of their own.