“A look at the life of the legendary rock and roll star, Elvis Presley.”
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Writers: Baz Luhrmann, Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce
Staring: Tom Hanks, Austin Butler, Olivia DeJonge
Release Date: June 24, 2022
Do we think that Elvis (2002) is going to be good?
I for one am skeptic. The first frizzle of worry I have comes right at the one-minute mark of the trailer when Elvis (Austin Butler) seemingly breaks out for the first time and shows his rock star persona. We have the facial expressions, the gyrating legs and…a heavy metal guitar riff? Elvis Presley is not ACDC, right? I get that this is Luhrmann going all Spinal Tap and cranking it up to eleven, but as the first introduction to Elvis grown up in this trailer, even this seems a bit out of touch. Maybe I am overthinking it, but it got my alarm bells going off.
I am thinking that this metal rock vibe is a nod to the fact that Elvis Presley was the first rock star to go through the “Sex, Drugs and Rock N’Roll” tumultuous roller coaster. I personally don’t associate him with this particular lifestyle, I think more of ACDC, Aerosmith, the early Rolling Stones and Van Halen. It is undeniable that Elvis had an impact on this type of rock music evolving to what it became, so it is nodding to that.
Am I overthinking it? Probably.
Tom Hanks is back in a musician’s agent role as Colonel Tom Parker. He is stepping back into familiar territory, when he directed his first movie, That Thank You Do! in 1996. In Elvis he transforms his body, which is something that awards people love. Would not be surprised to see him get love (everyone wants Tom Hanks at awards shows) for his supporting role.
The man of the hour is Austin Butler. He has the great honor, and great burden, of playing Elvis Presley. He is a relative newcomer on the scene, having only appeared in major movies in smaller parts: he played Tex Watson in Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood (2019) and Jack in The Dead Don’t Die (2019). It would appear that he is a big part in The Shannara Chronicles? It is the only thing he has pictures of on IMDB.
Butler does have the look and the hair. Most notably he has the eyes. For some reason they are sticking out to me most. This is going to be Butler’s major breakout if it works well, so here is to hoping that Mr. Baz Luhrman has the proper goods this time.
I have not seen all of Mr. Luhrman’s works. I really liked Moulin Rouge! (2001), enjoyed my time with Romeo + Juliet (1996), and did not find miuch pleasure in The Great Gatsby (2013). The Australian born director has an eye and ear for the LOUD. Everything is BIGGER and BETTER. He has THEATER vibes running through his veins. This is his first movie since The Great Gatsby, but even nine years of being away from Hollywood, his name still evokes a certain emotion.
I suppose I need to carve out some time to see Australia (2008), but everything I have ever heard about that movie is that it is underwhelming.
I am a bit perplexed with the bit in the trailer where Mr. Parker says the death of public figures has nothing to do with Elvis, but the rock god says it does have something to do with them. I fully admit to not knowing a lot about Elvis the person, so maybe he does have a bit of political awareness to him? Just an oddity that made me pause my thinking for a moment.
This trailer is painting Elvis as a sympathetic figure. It appears like this Elvis is going to be a crowd pleaser and not a deep-dive into his psyche. Maybe I need to study up more. Maybe Baz is taking some liberties. Maybe it is a little bit of both.
All the questions surrounding Elvis will be answered when it is released into theaters on June 24, 2022.
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