Honest Elvis Movie Review

by Sami

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The new Elvis movie is a triumphant and beautifully epic film. Keep reading for my honest Elvis movie review.

An Honest Review of the Elvis 2022 Movie

As a member of the Music City Film Critics Association, I was invited to an early screening of the Elvis 2022 movie.

I felt the same way as someone described in a recent documentary, Exclusively Elvis: “We didn’t have the same context of his childhood until now.”

As someone who didn’t grow up in the Elvis area, I truly didn’t know the backstory of Elvis Presley. Not only did the movie serve the role of an incredibly accurate biopic, it delivered as a spectacle too.

Going to the movie theater has become an anomaly post-COVID. It almost seems unfair to say “Elvis” is a triumphant return to seeing movies in the movie theater because is an experience unlike any other I’ve ever had. But if there was ever a movie you’d want to see in the theater and not wait to watch at home, this is it.

Rarely does a movie maintain such historical accuracy while also providing surprise and delight for the audience. Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” captured the heart of the King while tapping into the emotions of a child. The director managed to humanize each character in a way I couldn’t have imagined possible, especially when it came to the film’s narrator and Elvis Presley’s manager, Col. Tom Parker (expertly portrayed by Tom Hanks).

Baz Luhrmann Delivers a Cinematic Masterpiece

Honestly, I expected a bit of a mind trip in this film. Baz Luhrmann is far from conventional when it comes to directing. Instead, he created a realistic representation of the man while still delivering all the razzle and dazzle we expect from Elvis.

You may remember Luhrmann’s previous work in movies like Moulin Rouge and Romeo & Juliet. He has a masterful way of retelling stories we’ve seen or heard a dozen times before in completely new ways…and “Elvis” is no different.

Every element of this film was excellent: the cinematography, the costuming, the characterization, and most notably, the music.

See it in ScreenX

Have you ever heard of ScreenX? I hadn’t until last night. The screening of Elvis I attended was presented in a ScreenX theater and I can’t imagine seeing this movie any other way.

According to the press release, “By expanding specially selected film sequences onto the left and right-side walls of the auditorium, ScreenX surrounds and transports moviegoers into the story of the film.” From the moment the preview started, it almost felt like we were in a 4D simulator ride. To say it was immersive would be an understatement.

“Elvis” will debut in 270-degree panoramic ScreenX theaters worldwide starting June 22.

Elvis Presley’s Childhood

Elvis grew up as the lone white kid in the Black projects of Memphis after his father went to prison. I also didn’t realize Elvis had a twin brother who died at birth. So it seems he grew up with a strange mix of survivor’s guilt and the mantra from his mama that he had the strength of two men in him.

I knew Presley was from Memphis, but didn’t realize the extent to which the city and its music really shaped him.

He seemed to be shy and even made comments that he couldn’t dance without moving. But it wasn’t until now that I learned where that movement he became famous for stemmed from…

Presley Influenced by Black Culture

One of the most interesting facts I learned about Elvis stemmed from the influence of Black culture and music. In fact, it seems his iconic moves came from when he went to a tent revival as a boy and got “caught by the Holy Spirit” and started shaking. The shaking he became famous for started in the church and became his signature on stage.

Photo Credit: Warner Bros, Liaison

Austin Butler Deserves the Oscar for Best Actor

I may not be the only one to say this or the first, but it deserves to be said nonetheless: Austin Butler deserves the Best Actor Oscar in 2023.

He dedicated over two years of his life to becoming the King of Rock & Roll. He wallpapered his apartment with a timeline of pictures of Elvis. He tirelessly studied Elvis’ voice and mannerisms. He truly transformed himself into Elvis in this movie.

“He found the role. There’s some other force there I think.”

Baz Luhrnmann on Austin Butler Winning the role of elvis

I even heard Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis’ daughter, say that she didn’t want Austin to hear anything unkind about his performance. If anyone had something bad to say, they’d need to go through her first.

This film is supposedly the first Elvis story both Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley have given their combined seal of approval.

Elvis Rotten Tomatoes Score

The Elvis Rotten Tomates score is 82%. Keep in mind that there is not an audience Rotten Tomatoes score yet because I wrote this review before the movie opened in theaters.

Read the Elvis Rotten Tomatoes review

The Show Goes On…For Almost 3 Hours

Elvis does eventually leave the building, but not quickly. The Elvis movie is almost 3 hours. Two hours and 39 minutes to be precise.

But don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a second of it. It doesn’t feel long either. In fact, some may feel more could have been included. Just opt for a small drink with your popcorn because there’s not a long enough break I’d recommend anywhere in the story to take a bathroom break.

Elvis 2022 Release Date

This newest Elvis movie has a release date of June 24, 2022 and is rated PG-13.

It comes to HBO Max on August 8, 2022. But again, I strongly suggest you don’t see this movie at home. Go immerse yourself in its full glory in theaters.

Read my other honest movie reviews

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