Movie Review: Elvis

Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977 almost 45 long years ago and after all of this time, Hollywood is still making movies about this life. This is representative of his huge world wide fame that eventually killed him at the young age of 42. In far too many cases, the greatest and the best entertainers that so many have said are the greatest ever, just cannot handle the abnormalities of their lives and die young. Considering the insanity of any life in a spotlight of world wide fame, is it possible for anyone to live a long time? Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor, just to name three. The other problem is dealing with a mundane and boring real life opposed to the times when you are on stage, in front of many thousands, considered the best ever. In order to be a great entertainer, it takes much more than just talent. It also takes the ability to stand in front of thousands of people and not get stage fright. You must have the skin of the rhinoceros, you must be able to manage the money and not pay too many people in your security team and entourage, this last one being one of Whitney Houston’s biggest problems, along with Elvis Presley. Eventually you must come to the realization that its just singing and dancing, its not curing Cancer or saving the world. When it all goes to your head, your life will become uncentered and too abnormal. When you are not happy at the top of the world, the only remaining direction is down.

As far as the new movie “Elvis”, unfortunately it is told in an unexpected and different way, with too much jumping around from scene to scene, with too many different timelines. This film is not enough unlike the way Michael Bay directs a movie, and I for one, have never been a fan of Michael Bay. This movie is well acted throughout, making it more of a shame the way the story is told in too many sudden fragments, rather than just a simple straight forward story. Many times, trying to be different and innovative can backfire, as is the case here.

As far as the story, there is not too much we did not know that is revealed in these two hours, other than the fact that Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’s promoter for almost all of his career, was stealing from him out of greed and to fuel his gambling habit and ongoing debts. Tom Hanks plays Tom Parker and the good news here is that Hanks wore a fat suit, rather than gaining and then having to lose a great deal of weight – an ongoing health hazard with too many movies. Hanks is unrecognizable in this film due to an outstanding makeup job, as well as his acting, that once again is great. The lead role of Elvis Presley is played by actor Austin Butler and the accolades from critics about his performance are all well deserved.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings are a moderate 79% and I agree with that number only because of the performance of Tom Hanks and Austin Butler – with an equally moderate recommendation, despite the bad way the story was told.