You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know who Elvis was and has heard his music, or felt some of his influence on fashion style or shows. Even if it’s just a reference in modern pop culture or the many revival shows that still play stages across the nation. But unless you were around during his lifetime and when Elvis was playing Vegas, you may not the darker sides of his story.
We see this play out now a lot more on the screen when it comes to stars and singers throughout the years, financial abuse or mismanagement of their careers, finances, and more. And when most people think of Elvis, this isn’t what they think of. But the new Baz Lurhmann film may change that.
Elvis is hitting theaters this weekend, telling the story of Elvis’ rise to fame from a small boy who grew up poor to being one of the largest names in the industry. Except the story isn’t being told from his perspective. Instead, the story is being told by Colonel Tom Parker his manager, played by Tom Hanks. It flips between his narrative to what is actually happening in Elvis’ life and the path that The Colonel took him down, and how he used his skills as a sideshow manager to manipulate Elvis and everyone in his life.
Despite being told by the Colonel, the story isn’t there to paint him in the best of lights. Instead, the story still favors Elvis and the struggles that not his life, the current events, and even drugs had on his life. It shows that story that we’ve become accustomed to over the years painted over Elvis’ life and how the rinestone-covered life may not have been as fabulous as fans have pictured it over the years.
With a topic like Elvis, and of course any Baz Luhrmann film, we expect it to be a movie with a great soundtrack and a bit of a twist of traditional takes on some of the hits that made Elvis famous. And this movie, of course, is no exception. The story is moved along through the film using music as its guide, showing Elvis’ inspiration from Beale Street musicians, gospel music, and other experiences in his childhood. The music is mixed throughout the film and different time frames flashing back and forth and shows how even still today his music influences other artists with the inclusion of Vegas by Doja Cat mixed into much earlier times in history.
Elvis most likely will have a bit of a mixed reaction from fans. Purists will not love the flashing lights, newer music additions, and some of the choices made by Baz Luhrmann. But overall the movie will find its audience. Luhrmann has his own following and with a topic as popular as Elvis, this flashy movie may bring with it some of those older viewers who wouldn’t have normally seen his movies. The acting and singing alone will be enough to entice audiences but add in that specific flare that Luhrmann adds to his film, it just may bring more fans to Elvis who aren’t as familiar with just how much influence he has had on society even today.
In theaters in North America June 24 / Intl beginning 22 June
Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” explores the life and music of Elvis Presley (Butler), seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Hanks). The story delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom,
against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the most significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley (DeJonge).
Cast: Tom Hanks, Austin Butler, Olivia DeJonge, Richard Roxburgh, Helen Thomson, David Wenham, Natasha Bassett, Xavier Samuel, Luke Bracey, Dacre Montgomery, Leon Ford, Kate Mulvany, Gareth Davies, Charles Grounds, Josh McConville, Adam Dunn
(Warner Bros. Pictures)