Elvis Review

Thankfully, Elvis Presley had left the building that is life before Kurt Russell and John Carpenter got their grubby hands on his story. Despite how ill a casting choice Russell is as The King of Rock and Roll, it is the recency of the times that see him shoehorned into this feature. Two years after the death of the acclaimed singer, and biopics were not just inevitable, but necessary to capturing his memory. At least, that would be the process Carpenter is thrown into. Hot off the heels of Halloween, and it feels like a fish out of water scenario for a horror director asked to showcase the life and times of a monumentally influential artist.  

Russell, who looks more like a quaffed and menacing Val Kilmer than anyone else, takes on the role with as much confidence as you can expect from a budding young actor asked to fill the shoes of a great artist. He is shaky, caught in the headlights, but tries his best. Russell is competent, but his role does not inspire much more than that. A little less conversation would be alright. He slides himself into the costumes and the iconography as suitably as he can, and acknowledging that he looks a tad out of place is part of the acceptance we must feel for Elvis 

Though we cannot return this feature to the sender, Carpenter has tried his best. He is hot off the heels of a surprising boom of the horror genre with Halloween, and the biopic step is a necessary one. He tests the waters, falls in and looks to support himself as best he can. Russell is a good enough buoy but the supporting cast are terribly forgettable. A shame too since they are the real details of Presley’s life. Even then, the details are inaccurate at best and sloppy at worst. To his credit, the actual scope and technical merits, for a made-for-TV feature, are impressive. Elvis outshines some modern productions purely by adding a bit of style and flair to the smaller moments that most would use solely as filler pockets. Is it possible to drag good work out of a bad feature? Yes, that would be the case for Elvis in this feature. It’s no Bubba Ho-tep, but the reactionary nature and modern shock of his death linger on this production and its effectiveness.  

The King certainly doesn’t feel like one here. For fans of Presley’s work, they’ll hope to be one of the many TVs he shot, so they do not have to watch any more of this lengthy biopic. For those that know little about the man with the blue suede shoes, nothing will latch onto the mind. He was fat, died on the toilet and made a decent debut record. Go now, forwards into the future, for Carpenter has managed to offer two minutes of relatively interesting and intense information in nearly three hours. A Wikipedia biopic without the use of Wikipedia. The future is now. With those tools at your side, Carpenter and Russell have prepared audiences to tackle Presley. Thank you very much, you bunch of posers.  

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