Elvis Movie review (saw it today)

1955

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Saw it yesterday. It was actually better than I expected it to be. Also, the directorial choices, regarding which aspects of this cautionary tale would be magnified, I found interesting and surprising.

There were quite a few details that were correct and purposeful, especially costuming and set design, props, etc., and artistic license, while obviously veering and reaching, ultimately seeks pathos.

Celebrity, and the tragedy mythos, is handled in an interesting way, and particular aspects of context are given more attention here than would be expected, given recent trends.

Overall, it clearly favors the perspective of one person very close to Elvis, yet manages to paint a fairly comprehensive portrait of a man who lost himself to the vultures, and best and worst intentions, of American dreaming.

The sacrificial nature of a life lived under the scrupulous lens of fame, show business, and popular opinion, is here accurately, and morbidly, laid bare, if only in a sliver of the breadth of it’s desperation, and complexity.
 

Frenchy_JC

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I saw it friday night, here, in France.
Whaou ! What a movie !
Tom Hank is awesome camping the "bad guy" Colonel Tom Parker, Austin Buttler completely credible as Elvis, and the movie's photography is very beautiful.
Definitively a great movie that I will view again with pleasure.
 
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Preacher

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Thanks for the review! I've only been to 3 movies in the past 32 years as I just don't care. However, I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing this movie.

Over the years, I've been fortunate to play guitar (even though I play nothing like Scotty) with 4 different Elvis impersonators.

One who really believed he was Elvis......(Oh boy! That was a trip), one who was pretty darn good, one who was exceptional and actually toured and made a darn good living doing it, and one who was so bad it was laughable....the funniest part is he really thought he was all that a bag of chips!

Anyway, it was an amazing ride playing songs from his early years all the way to his last years.

I sincerely hope someday there is a movie about Roy Orbison's life. Amazing story of rising above several tragic loss's. What a great voice he had and just an amazing song writer.

Elvis impersonators are one of a kind.
I had a friend who was going to a big costume party on Halloween and since he had dark black hair that was pretty long he decided to go as Elvis. He was trying to get all of his costume together and was showing us at work the pieces he had.
He had the big rhinestone glasses, an acoustic guitar, and a leather jacket and was going to wear blue jeans and a white t shirt.

One of the guys that was there on break said, "Elvis never really like that look". The guy who was going as Elvis looked at him and said, "well I would love to go all decked out in the Elvis white suit with all the rhinestones and the cape but I don't have the cash to do that."

The guy looks at him and says, "I have some stuff that might help. Let's talk."
Break was over so we all went back to work. A week later the guy who was going as Elvis called me to the side and asked if I knew anything about "Jerry" (names are changed to protect the innocent).
I told him not really as he only had worked there a few months. Then he tells me that Jerry invited him to his apartment to look at some Elvis stuff. Apparently Jerry is a HUGE FAN, as he had at least 30 Elvis outfits, including the white sparkly suit and cape. It kind of freaked my friend out a little as Jerry had a lot of stuff including three life size manikins dressed in Elvis garb placed throughout the house. He even busted out apparently an actual Elvis worn outfit that he had in a glass case for my friend to look at.

Long story short, my buddy went as Vegas Elvis in the white suit and cape, was the belle of the ball at the party made out with a half dozen gals. Jerry stayed home and fretted that his costume was going to get something split on it. Jerry moved a few months later back out west, maybe he is in Viva Las Vegas, who knows?
 

Telekarster

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Elvis impersonators are one of a kind.
I had a friend who was going to a big costume party on Halloween and since he had dark black hair that was pretty long he decided to go as Elvis. He was trying to get all of his costume together and was showing us at work the pieces he had.
He had the big rhinestone glasses, an acoustic guitar, and a leather jacket and was going to wear blue jeans and a white t shirt.

One of the guys that was there on break said, "Elvis never really like that look". The guy who was going as Elvis looked at him and said, "well I would love to go all decked out in the Elvis white suit with all the rhinestones and the cape but I don't have the cash to do that."

The guy looks at him and says, "I have some stuff that might help. Let's talk."
Break was over so we all went back to work. A week later the guy who was going as Elvis called me to the side and asked if I knew anything about "Jerry" (names are changed to protect the innocent).
I told him not really as he only had worked there a few months. Then he tells me that Jerry invited him to his apartment to look at some Elvis stuff. Apparently Jerry is a HUGE FAN, as he had at least 30 Elvis outfits, including the white sparkly suit and cape. It kind of freaked my friend out a little as Jerry had a lot of stuff including three life size manikins dressed in Elvis garb placed throughout the house. He even busted out apparently an actual Elvis worn outfit that he had in a glass case for my friend to look at.

Long story short, my buddy went as Vegas Elvis in the white suit and cape, was the belle of the ball at the party made out with a half dozen gals. Jerry stayed home and fretted that his costume was going to get something split on it. Jerry moved a few months later back out west, maybe he is in Viva Las Vegas, who knows?

Ha! Back in the day when me and my boys first got together (4 part harmony group), after a gig we were approached by a guy who said "Hey, you guys are pretty good! Would you like to do a gig with me and my act? I'm a rock singer and need some backup vocals for an evening. I'll pay each of you 200!" Well... heck... 200??? That was some REAL dough so of course we said YEP! He went out to his car and gave us a demo tape to practice with, all 50's Elvis tunes. Of course we knew all the songs, so it was easy for us to do.

When we got there that night, we were stunned to see him dressed exactly like Vegas Elvis!!! We had no idea he was an impersonator! LOL!!! He looked fantastic, and looked almost exactly like Elvis! He had his costume custom made to be an exact replica of Elvis's famous white caped rhinestone suit. He spent 1000's on it I think. He pointed to this MASSIVE silver and turquoise buckle he was wearing and said "See this? I bought this from Elvis's estate! This was actually worn by the King! Ok boys, show time! Let's rock!"

The man put on a show that, to this day, gives me goose bumps when I think about it. We backed him up and he rocked that place like a strip mine, man!!! One of the best shows I ever experienced! I don't know where he is today, but he's probably passed on by now, but man.... he could really rock. Elvis would've been proud ;)
 
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Preacher

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Ha! Back in the day when me and my boys first got together (4 part harmony group), after a gig we were approached by a guy who said "Hey, you guys are pretty good! Would you like to do a gig with me and my act? I'm a rock singer and need some backup vocals for an evening. I'll pay each of you 200!" Well... heck... 200??? That was some REAL dough so of course we said YEP! He went out to his car and gave us a demo tape to practice with, all 50's Elvis tunes. Of course we knew all the songs, so it was easy for us to do.

When we got there that night, we were stunned to see him dressed exactly like Vegas Elvis!!! We had no idea he was an impersonator! LOL!!! He looked fantastic, and looked almost exactly like Elvis! He had his costume custom made to be an exact replica of Elvis's famous white caped rhinestone suit. He spent 1000's on it I think. He pointed to this MASSIVE silver and turquoise buckle he was wearing and said "See this? I bought this from Elvis's estate! This was actually worn by the King! Ok boys, show time! Let's rock!"

The man put on a show that, to this day, gives me goose bumps when I think about it. We backed him up and he rocked that place like a strip mine, man!!! One of the best shows I ever experienced! I don't know where he is today, but he's probably passed on by now, but man.... he could really rock. Elvis would've been proud ;)

This guy was the same! Although he was bald which made thinking he was an Elvis impersonator nonsense.
He let my friend borrow his "cheap" suit, he had from what I heard a couple that were custom made and cost 1,000s of dollars.
I was just shocked how deep he was into Elvis.

Then I started playing guitars, messing with amps, and pedals. It was then I realize there is a sickness that comes over all of us!
 

chris m.

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Baz Luhrmann, the director, definitely goes for "over the top". I've seen the trailer and think it should be quite a spectacle.
Given the director I suspect he will always lean more for spectacle over historical accuracy.

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burntfrijoles

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Baz Luhrmann, the director, definitely goes for "over the top". I've seen the trailer and think it should be quite a spectacle.
Given the director I suspect he will always lean more for spectacle over historical accuracy.
I think he will surprise you. I didn't think it was over the top. In terms of history, I can't think of any biopic that are 100% accurate. As I wrote above, some scenes are amalgams of different events like his wiggling his finger, etc but I think it's true to the story. In fact, he skipped over much of the movie career which could have been done way over the top.
In terms of spectacle, the 68 comeback special and Las Vegas years were done very well and in the line with the actual spectacle of Las Vegas.
 

Papanate

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I for one will not go see the Elvis movie - he was a weird creepy man in his private life - and pretty much didn't grow up past 16 - the choices he made were absurd - I don't need to see a fake movie supposedly representing conversations that no one has any idea about.
Sorry to be a downer - but I don't like glorifying personalities - especially guys like Elvis.
 

burntfrijoles

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Sorry to be a downer - but I don't like glorifying personalities - especially guys like Elvis.
Hey, everyone is entitled to voice their opinion. Personally I don’t think this glorifies Elvis. there is not one aspect of the film that justifies Elvis‘s lifestyle. It shows him to be rather weak with many shortcomings. In fact, it’s a tragedy on many levels.

At the same time, it shows his cultural impact that is still felt today in many ways and further it shows just how intolerable people, particularly communities were back in the day.
 

KokoTele

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I saw it at the drive-in Saturday night and enjoyed it. Like all biopics, I didn't go in expecting historical accuracy, but the overall story seems to match well with what's been published about Elvis. There were lots of things that were glossed over, but there was too much story to tell in one movie.

The visual accuracy was stunning. The clothes, the sets, the instruments... they didn't make Elvis fat enough in the last act, but that's about the only thing that stood out to me.

The music was excellent, of course, though I thought the hip hop interludes were out of place and distracting. The rest of of it was pretty incredible.
 

Ian111

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Too much Baz Luhrmann to the point it was distracting for me. I like his movies but for this movie I wanted more of a traditional bio pic and less, look at my directorial style. Austin Butler was really good as Elvis.
 

Preacher

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So Preacher and Mrs Preacher went and took this in last night.

All in all if was a thought provoking movie even for someone like myself who "thought" he was pretty well versed on all things Elvis.

I knew that Col. Tom had a huge part of making Elvis into who he was, but the ability to manipulate, enslave, and orchestrate people to the level he did was bothersome and left me feeling a little sorry for EP.

The filming was outstanding, almost shot in a documentary style in some aspects and then at other times it was shot almost ethereal in nature. Almost like you were watching a dream on the screen.

The actors:
Austin Butler as Elvis: I was not aware of this young man although I am sure my kids know who he was as he started in the Disney channel shows and such. His portrayal of Elvis was spot on pretty much. I always hate going to movies that are based on a real person and not see that person but the actor portraying the real life person. This was not the case, he became Elvis and until the very end of the movie was Elvis. It was the end of the movie when Elvis really had his physical problems that it kind of got lost, as prosthetics only go so far. A+ for him.

Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker: I love Tom as an actor but I don't know if this is on par with some of the other stuff he has done. I had a hard time buying into him becoming Colonel Tom, whether it was the prosthetics. the fat suit or his accent which seemed to come and go at times I always saw Tom Hanks. But I will say that, I agree that if I shook Colonel Tom's hand I think I might want to go wash immediately. If half of what happened in the movie was true, that guy is one slimy creature. B- for Mr. Hanks.

Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla - She doesn't have a ton of screen time but what she does with her time as Mrs. Elvis is pretty good. Another new comer to the big screen in the US (she's an Aussie) I think she is just starting out to see her star shine. Maybe it is because I have not seen her a lot on the screen, there was not a time where I thought of her other than Priscilla. A+ for her.

And that my friends is about all the actors that have a part worth talking about. Of course they had people for Elvis' mom, his father (he gets some of the credit for making EP a slave to Colonel Tom if what in the film is true), and other people in EP's life, but those three carried the movie.

Now for the Musicians on this forum.
there were some guitar sightings, a Whiteguard Tele apparently played by BB King, a J45 and a J200 used by Elvis, and a Hagstrom hollowbody electric that looks like someone slapped a Strat neck on a ES335.

I had heard before that Elvis was a big fan of the blues music that permeated Bealle street and I thought the addition of BB King, Little Richard and Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Arthur "Big Boy" Cruddup (played by Gary Clarke JR) were nice touches to touch on EP's roots.

All in all a very nicely done movie, but one that will not shatter any box office records. It opened at just over $30M but tied TG2 at the top spot (which has been out for some time). From what I have read it cost $85M to make so I hope that it continues to play well or we won't be seeing anymore musical biopics for some time.
 

KokoTele

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Now for the Musicians on this forum.
...and a Hagstrom hollowbody electric that looks like someone slapped a Strat neck on a ES335.

I thought it was a Fender Coronado at first glance and then didn't pay any attention to it. But you're right, it's a Hagstrom Viking II.

Don't forget the paisley Tele played by the James Burton character in the Vegas years. It wasn't prominent, but I was happy to see it there.
 




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