Elvis (2022)

elvis poster 2022 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Austin Butler

Tom Hanks

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Elvis

Studio:  Warner Bros./Bazmark Films/Roadshow Entertainment

Genre(s):  Drama/Musical

Release Date(s):  May 25, 2022 (Cannes)/June 24, 2022 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

elvis austin butler tom hanks ferris wheel

Get in bed with an (over-acting) devil

Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks) has lived a life of fame as the manager of Elvis Presley (Austin Butler).  From the Colonel’s discovery of Elvis in Mississippi to his rise to fame, the Colonel has his fingers in Elvis’s life.  Elvis finds himself in a whirlwind of fame, drugs, and controversy as he becomes one of the biggest celebrities in the world.  Fame has a price, and Elvis will pay…but the Colonel has his own plans.

Written and directed by Baz Luhrmann (with Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce, and Jeremy Doner also contributing to the screenplay), Elvis is a biopic musical picture.  The movie premiered at Cannes and was released in June of 2022.  The film was a critical and financial success.  It received Razzie nominations for Worst Supporting Actor (Hanks) and Worst Screen Couple (Tom Hanks and His Latex-Laden Face (and Ludicrous Accent)).  The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Butler), Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Sound, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design, and Best Cinematography.

I like Baz Luhrmann.  If nothing else, he brings spectacle back to filmmaking.  Elvis is no different in that front…but a fatal flaw threatens to derail Elvis.

elvis recording rca austin butler

Time to take the world by storm!

The story is told through the perspective of “the Colonel” who used and manipulated Elvis through his whole life.  It becomes a bit of a chicken and an egg scenario…did the Colonel make Elvis or did Elvis make the Colonel?  Elvis had such a magnetic personality and talent, but without the Colonel, there was a good chance he never could have escaped his poor upbringing…or could he?  That kind of becomes the question of the film.  While the Colonel’s decisions were often selfish and harmful to Elvis, Elvis almost always clawed back to the top in spite of the Colonel.  It is an interesting take to a typical biopic.

The fatal flaw of the movie is the Colonel himself.  Tom Hanks in a fat suit doing and awful fake accent for two hours is awful tough to take.  It feels like a pandering Oscar grab gone wrong (many felt Hanks was miscast).  It distracts from the real star of the movie…Butler who is electrifying as Elvis and makes Elvis his.  In its own weird way it does relate back to the story format…Hanks tries to control the movie but Butler succeeds in spite of him.

elvis 68 comeback special if i can dream austin butler

Don’t call it a “Comeback” (or a Christmas Special)

The movie does have the hyperactive, over-the-top look you’d expect from Luhrmann.  Elvis was often about flash and bling…sometimes over substance.  The trick of the movie is trying to balance the bling with allowing Elvis’s talent to shine.  It does a pretty good job and becomes memorable as a “musical” as a result.

Elvis is a mixed bag.  I really liked what it did with Elvis and his performances, but I hate the path it took with Hanks.  With it being such a prominent part of the plot, it isn’t possible to separate the two.  Give Elvis a chance and try to ignore the distracting Hanks…and enjoy a good performance by Austin Butler that should have been an unquestionable highlight of the film.

Related Links:

The 95th Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response