I can’t stop thinking about this movie, so far it is definitely the best movie I have seen this summer and one of the best movies I have seen this year. In general, it was a lot better than I was expecting it to be in the first place. I have seen the film twice now and I found it was better the second time around. I think the first time I found there was so much going on that I didn’t get to really take everything in, but the second time I got to see parts of it that I didn’t catch the first watch through.
The director, Baz Luhrmann also directed The Great Gatsby, and if you have seen that you kind of know what you are getting into. In comparison, I found this film much more enjoyable but I generally find his work to be a little all over the place. The editing and effects in this film were... A LOT. I knew that going into this film, but to see it on the big screen, my head felt like it was spinning. It reminded me of when a kid gets to use PowerPoint for the first time and adds way too many transitions, like star wipe and honeycomb and stuff people should never use. The spectacle of it all made it really unique but it was just too much.
I have grown up with Austin Butler on Wizards of Waverly Place, Zoey 101, and Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure. I would have never expected him to give a performance like this. How he mastered Elvis's voice and how he changes throughout the decades is truly amazing. Austin Butler sang for this role and completely transformed into Elvis. This is a really great performance and I hope he at least gets a nomination at the Oscars for this one because he really does deserve it. The effort he put into this role is astonishing. I like that they didn't completely glorify Elvis's life and were not afraid to shy away from the bad things too. It makes you feel bad for him but it also shows that he wasn't perfect. His character was also really easy to connect to and feel happy and sad for. As for the other characters, I didn’t like the focus on Tom Hanks and his entire character. I found he was distracting from the focus of the film. The movie is called Elvis and should have focused on Elvis. I also didn’t like the narration or the entire intro to the film. It was completely unnecessary and strange. This also might seem like a strange comment if you haven't seen the film, but we didn't even realize the film was starting at first. The intro seemed to have nothing to do with Elvis and we thought it was a trailer.
I really liked the soundtrack and I felt like they picked the right Elvis songs to match each scene. I loved the inclusion of Doja Cat’s song “Vegas”, I just don’t know if it fits in the era of the film. This might have been better used as an end-credit song. I also liked how they incorporated “I can’t help falling in love with you” covered by Kacey Musgraves in the scene with Percilla, I thought that was a clever way to incorporate the song into the scene without having him sing it. Overall, this film has an amazing soundtrack and they really utilized the music to help set the tone of each scene.
Something that really stood out to me was the film's set design and costumes. I especially loved the different cars they used throughout the different decades, especially the purple one he drives away from Graceland. Every set was so detailed and fit the era perfectly, it helped to tell the story. One of my favourite sets is Graceland and you can really see how it changes as he changes with it.
I liked the pacing of the film even though it could have been a lot shorter. It didn’t need to be three hours as I found it has a bit of filler and scenes that seem unnecessary. Overall, I liked the flow of the film and thought that it was well organized. When you think about it, his life albeit short, was very eventful. There is so much to tell and his rise and fall from fame is so interesting. They took decades of life and were able to condense it to just three hours.
Overall, it’s a great film and I highly recommend giving it a watch whether you are an Elvis fan or not. As someone who didn’t know much about Elvis and didn’t think much of him, this was a really cool film and I learned a lot. I don’t love his music but you get a better understanding of how he grew up, his rise to fame, and his downfall. It’s a very compelling story and I think this film tells his life story very beautifully.