‘Elvis’ has not left the building quite yet  

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Elvis Presley, an American singer and actor, also dubbed the “King of Rock and Roll,” was born January 8, 1935. He is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century. The film “Elvis” stars Austin Butler as Elvis Presley and Tom Hands as his manager Colonel Tom Parker. Illustration by Kaitlyn Tran/The Daily Campus

The film “Elvis” came out this year in 2022 and is a biographical musical drama film directed by Baz Luhrmann. It follows the life of rock and roll icon, singer and actor Elvis Presley told from the perspective of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. “Elvis” stars Austin Butler as Elvis Presley alongside the great Tom Hanks, who plays Elvis’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

The film’s story deepens into the complicated relationship between Presley and Parker over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to dealing with the evolving culture of America. One of the most important and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley, is central to Presley’s journey and is played by Olvia DeJonge.  

From appearing in Disney and Nickelodeon shows like “iCarly”, “Hannah Montana” and “Zoey 101”, Austin Butler has come a long way before taking on the role of such an iconic figure; he did not disappoint with what I believe is the performance of the year. When watching Butler on screen, you almost forget it’s him and not Elvis himself. You can tell the time and dedication he put into preparing for the role. Butler captures the same twinkle and innocent look in his eyes that Elvis himself had when you look at old photos or videos. The director Baz Luhrmann praises the young star in an interview with IndieWire.  

“Honestly, I put him through the wringer, but he lived Elvis. What he’s managed to do is not do an impersonation, but to live Elvis, to the extent that he’s humanized him,” Luhrmann said.   

Butler’s commitment on-screen draws audiences in and I believe he has an Academy Award for the best actor coming his way.  

Butler mastered Elvis’s mannerisms and dance moves down to a science. One scene was especially powerful and beautifully shot; I realized Butler cemented himself as Elvis during the ’68 Comeback Special sequence when Elvis sang “If I Can Dream” on national TV. The song was written in response to the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, which had happened a few months prior. The song’s meaning consists of the wish for a better world where there is peace in harmony, and Butler demonstrates the same passion and pain Elvis showed in the replication of this performance. I am guilty of walking around the house belting out the lyrics, “While I can stand, while I can walk, while I can dream,” because that is how much I, along with millions of other fans, loved the music and scene. 

Baz Luhrmann is another person I want to praise because of his brilliant directing style. Every scene in this film is beautifully shot and so elaborate. I couldn’t think of any other director to better depict Elvis’s life than Luhrmann. His cinematic language has advanced through his films as technology evolves and audiences become more modern. Luhrmann’s storytelling techniques make the audience feel like they are a part of the film.  

One reason why the film “Elvis” is so good is how it sends the message to audiences and myself to be a maverick and embrace your own style. “Elvis” touches the hearts of lifelong fans and brings in a new age of fans to appreciate the music and style for the “King of Rock and Roll”.  

Rating: 5/5 

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