Elvis: I can’t help but get bored with him


According to the fable, in 1945, Elvis Presley’s teacher heard him sing and then brought him to the director to show off his impressive talent. The manager recommended that Presley take part in the Alabama-Mississippi State Fair talent show. Although this was Presley’s first public performance for many, he only earned a modest fifth place. Stories like this can show a more human side of him that contrasts with the deified figure commemorated in popular consciousness. This is something Baz Luhrmann never understands when making a movie, including his latest disappointment:Elvis.

“Elvis” is the latest soulless musical biopic that takes some of modern history’s most iconic musicians and spins their stories into cynical up-and-down arcs that pound the beats of an outdated storyline formula. The film covers the whole life of Presley (Austin Butler) without ever asking the question: what new perspective can I add to a life already as exceptional as that of Elvis Presley? Instead of telling the story from Presley’s point of view, or that of an omniscient narrator, Luhrmann shows it from that of his infamous manager “Colonel” Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). It then rushes through the major highlights of Presley’s life, from his big break with a cover of “That’s All Right” to meeting Priscilla (Olivia DeJonge) and his residency at the Las Vegas International Hotel.

If you asked me who is the worst filmmaker I have ever seen, I would immediately answer: Baz Luhrman. What sets him apart from other directors is that those known to be the worst directors are mostly those with boring and forgettable cinematic styles. Luhrman, on the other hand, is a genuine author whom I despise. His excessive camera movements, grotesque visual effects, hammered performances, and post-production camera zooms (my biggest cinematic pet peeve) make Michael Bay look like Martin Scorsese.

Especially the scenario does not help at all. Luhrmann and collaborator Craig Pierce use voiceover narration as less of a crutch and more of a complete wheelchair. The Colonel trying to analyze Elvis’ life was so on the nose that Dhar Mann must have been inspired by the dialogue. The pacing is a mess, too, with its two hour and 39 minute runtime – the first 40 minutes of which rushed through all of Elvis’ major hits and controversies – feeling impossibly long.

As for the flamboyant worlds Luhrman is little known for, instead of making new mistakes, he decides to make the exact same ones that plagued “The Great Gatsby.” Once again, the film glorifies the setting and environment that Baz is theoretically meant to critique. While this is a criticism frequently leveled at directors like Scorsese, the difference is that his films have moments of raw disillusionment and dread that audiences and characters will feel in contrast to the idealized surroundings. Luhrman seems to be sickened by the idea of ​​his films having moments of raw emotion, and instead wishes the tragic scenes were as stylized and “cool” as every other scene in the film.

Luhrman tends to have very good actors do caricatures of themselves or other people. I’m aware of the accolades Austin Butler received for playing the lead role, and in my opinion he made a pretty good impression of Elvis’ iconic voice. Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks didn’t seem to remember how to create a natural foreign accent, which is odd for a man who did a great European accent in “The Terminal.” It also doesn’t help that he appears to be modeled after the Penguin, a cartoonish appearance that undermines the real things the Colonel has done.

Once again, Baz Luhrman uses these now wasted subjects and bloated budgets to create shallow action scenes, while pretending to say something deep and complex about characters or settings. My final remarks to this review are: just watch “All That Jazz”. It’s a better Elvis movie than “Elvis.”


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