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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Baz Luhrmann
Cast:
Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge
Writing Credits:
Baz Luhrmann, Sam Bromwell, Craig Pearce, Jeremy Doner

Synopsis:
A look at the life and career of Elvis Presley through the POV of manager Colonel Tom Parker.

Box Office:
Budget:
$85 million.
Opening Weekend:
$31,211,579 on 3906 Screens.
Domestic Gross:
$150,260,502.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio:
English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Portuguese
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Portuguese

Runtime: 159 min.
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 9/13/2022

Bonus:
• “Bigger Than Life” Featurette
• “Rock ‘n’ Roll Royalty” Featurette
• “Fit For a King” Featurette
• “Viva Australia” Featurette
• Lyric Video
• “Musical Moments” Chapter Search
• DVD Copy


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RELATED REVIEWS


Elvis [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 13, 2022)

45 years after the icon’s death, can filmmakers find anything new to say about the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll? Director Baz Luhrmann attempts an answer via 2022’s biopic Elvis.

In 1955, aspiring showbiz impresario Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks) seeks a path to greater success. He finds a potential meal ticket when he encounters 20-year-old Elvis Presley (Austin Butler), a singer whose debut single “That’s All Right” causes a stir.

Parker signs Elvis and the rocker begins his ascent to the top of the pop heap. Over more than 20 years, Parker and Elvis go through their ups and downs until Presley’s death in 1977.

That synopsis implies a more linear approach to Elvis’s story than we actually get. The film launches with a view of Parker’s final days and leaps about quite a bit for information about Presley’s childhood and other elements.

At the start, I noted that it seems tough to find a fresh take on material as well-trodden as Presley’s life, but Luhrmann often follows this path. With movies like 1996’s Romeo + Juliet and 2013’s Great Gatsby, Luhrmann took on projects that recast well-known properties in his own flamboyant style.

Inevitably, Luhrmann does the same with Elvis. Inevitably, this leads to a film more concerned with visuals and pizzazz than drama and depth.

Given his cinematic preferences, Luhrmann has gotten the “style over substance” accusation often during his 30-year career, a factor potentially exacerbated by his lack of productivity as a feature film director. Luhrmann debuted with 1992’s Strictly Ballroom but Elvis represents only his sixth full-length big-screen movie.

With Ballroom, Luhrmann established that he could create a well-rendered character narrative along with his vivid stylistic choices. As he ages, however, Luhrmann seems content to let the images do all the heavy lifting and leave story development on the sidelines.

Oh, Elvis attempts some dime store psychology. It delves into a mix of domains that try to explain aspects of Elvis’s personality.

These don’t go much of anywhere. Elvis tosses in dollops of character development but concentrates more on flash and sizzle.

Luhrmann’s typically flamboyant approach works at times to convey the excitement of Elvis’s early days. However, the format undercuts drama due to its showy nature.

Granted, Luhrmann does back off somewhat during the film’s final act. Elvis concentrates on the singer’s early years before it rushes through his “mid-period” and then devotes lots of time to his final decade.

Luhrmann probably should’ve bitten off less, as Elvis attacks more territory than it can cover in a satisfying manner. Even when it slows down to dig into Elvis’s last decade, it stays superficial.

I guess that’s just who Luhrmann is. He tosses out enough narrative material to avoid the impression that Elvis acts as nothing more than a collection of music videos, but he still can’t fashion an especially coherent character story here.

It doesn’t help that Elvis essentially wants to tell two tales, as it digs into Parker’s side as well as Presley’s. Most of the movie revolves around Elvis, but Colonel Tom receives a lot of exposition as well.

This makes an already superficial movie even thinner. Parker exists as little more than a slippery sleazeball.

Presley shows more range, but we still don’t get a good sense of the King beyond those dime store interpretations I mentioned. The film so rushes through his life and career that it can’t offer anything meaningful.

Butler offers a more than credible take on Presley. While he can’t quite impart Elvis’s charisma, at least he provides more than just a simple impersonation.

Hanks finds little to do with Parker, but that stems from the part as written. Like I mentioned, Elvis never develops Colonel Tom in a substantial manner, so it leaves Hanks with little to do but act shifty.

Luhrmann’s flashy approach means that Elvis generally sustains the viewer’s attention across its 159 minutes. However, the final product never becomes a particularly rich take on the life of its subjects.


The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C

Elvis appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with solid visuals.

Sharpness worked well. Virtually no softness manifested here, as he image felt accurate and concise.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws also failed to manifest.

Despite the period setting, Elvis opted for 21st Century Amber/Orange and Teal. I don’t get this choice, but within stylistic preferences, the colors felt well-reproduced, and it tossed in some pinks and other hues occasionally as well, especially when Elvis got into the 1960s.

Blacks seemed dark and deep, while low-light shots offered appealing delineation. This turned into a satisfactory image.

In addition, the film’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack worked fine for the material at hand. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, music dominated and used the various speakers well. These elements came to the fore during concert segments and elsewhere, and those offered the movie’s most involving sonic segments.

Effects got less to do and usually offered general ambience. That left us without much in terms of auditory fireworks, but given the story’s focus on music and characters, this made sense. A few of the movie’s exaggerated elements also brought out appealing use of the various channels.

Overall audio quality seemed good, and speech was natural and concise. Music sounded peppy and full, while effects seemed fine.

Those elements appeared accurate and showed good range. This all added up to a “B+“ soundtrack.

A few extras fill out the disc, and Bigger Than Life runs 22 minutes, 23 seconds. It offers notes from co-writer/director Baz Luhrmann, costume designer/production designer Catherine Martin, producers Gail Berman and Schuyler Weiss, movement coach/choreographer Polly Bennett, prosthetics designer Mark Coulier, hair and makeup designer Shane Thomas, prosthetics supervisor Jason Baird, director of photography Mandy Walker, and actors Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Yola, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Dacre Montgomery, and Olivia DeJonge.

“Life” examines aspects of Elvis’s life, cast/performances and physical transformations, photography and Luhrmann’s approach to the material. Some good insights emerge – mainly related to turning the actors into their characters – but much of “Life” feels fairly superficial.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Royalty spans seven minutes, 33 seconds and features Luhrmann, Butler, Yola, executive music producer Elliott Wheeler, producer Patrick McCormick, and actors Gary Clark Jr. and Shannon Sanders. We hear about the movie’s approach to music in this erratic piece.

Next comes Fit For a King, an eight-minute, two-second reel that includes comments from Luhrmann, Martin, Butler, and DeJonge. Here we get info about the film’s costume design and find some decent notes about that domain.

Viva Australia goes for seven minutes, 26 seconds and involves Luhrmann. Martin, Butler, Walker, DeJonge, and set decorator Bev Dunn.

The show investigates the movie’s sets and attempts to recreate vintage locations. It becomes another moderately engaging reel.

A Lyric Video for “Trouble” lasts two minutes, 15 seconds. It offers a montage of movie clips with the song and lyrics played on top. It’s an ad and nothing more.

Finally, Musical Moments allows viewer access to any of the movie’s 19 song segments. Have fun!

As a biopic, Elvis attempts to provide a fresh telling of a familiar tale. Baz Luhrmann gives the project a vivid sense of style but the end result seems superficial. The Blu-ray comes with solid picture and audio along with a smattering of bonus materials. Elvis entertains to a moderate degree but it lacks depth or insight.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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