The King Still Reigns


Aiden Nance

The new biopic about The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is a massive hit in box offices, bringing in $263.4 million dollars.  With a budget of $85 million this movie had no problem tripling its money and becoming one of the biggest hits of the summer.

This movie starts out with Colonel Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks, in the hospital, using his dying moments to tell the story of his greatest star:  Elvis Presley who is played by Austin Butler.  The Colonel states that some say he was the reason Elvis died, but he makes it clear to the audience it wasn’t his fault.  At least, it wasn’t entirely his fault. The movie recounts Elvis’ life through the early days of his career when the young musician was playing on a local radio station until he became a household name. As many audience members already know,  Elvis was simultaneously a mega star in the public eye and an isolated man. In some ways he was a broken individual who succumbed to his addictions. These extreme highs and lows create a captivating story that make the two and a half hour movie seem to go by quickly.


A major highlight of the film is that the director Baz Luhrmann couldn’t have picked a better soundtrack for this movie.  He perfectly unites old school and new school, using Doja Cat’s “Vegas” and Eminem’s “The King and I” along with Elvis’s version of “Hound Dog” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love”.  He selected these classic songs because they are Elvis’ biggest hits,  but he made sure to update them and make them fresh for younger audiences. While we never hear Elvis’ voice on his tracks, Austin Butler was well trained  to sing like Elvis, giving the film a more organic feeling.


One downside to the film, however, is that it had many scenes that I felt to be unnecessary and drawn out.  It would, in my opinion, have been better to cut out more of his early days and focus on the end of his life, which was something few of us in the public got to see.


But the absolute best part of the entire movie was watching the actors sing and act their hearts out, especially Austin Butler and Tom Hanks.  Tom Hanks was so phenomenal in his role;  I hardly recognized him due to  the fat suit he wore and the extreme accent he created to fit the role of the Colonel. He  sounded and looked nothing like himself, which is a feat for an actor we have seen in so many ultra successful movies.

Austin Butler became a convincing Elvis Presley, and created a future star in the process. Many bright things are in Austin’s future, but Elvis is a film that will be hard to top.