Rock N Roll isn’t Dead: Elvis Movie 2022


Picture by Kennedy Starr

The summer blockbuster, Elvis, starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks, dominated the box office and continues to surge in popularity. Baz Luhrmann’s epic biopic details the complicated relationship between The King and his manager Colonel Tom Parker. The audience is taken on a journey through the whirlwind rise in fame and the untimely death of Elvis Presley.  

After months of waiting, the world finally saw Elvis. One of the most anticipated movies of 2022, receiving a 12-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival and held the spot as the number one movie in America for two weeks. 

It blends actual archived footage from Graceland and Butler’s performances. So at times, you can’t tell who is who! The eccentric costume head, Catherine Martin, created over 90 Elvis outfits for the production. 

The dazzling life of Elvis Presley is brought to life again through the voice of the original snowman, the Colonel. The film is brilliant, nothing short of a masterpiece. For two hours and thirty-nine minutes, your heart is racing; you’re laughing, and you will be crying by the end. 

Filmed in Australia for three years during the pandemic, the cast and the crew isolated themselves in a recreation of Memphis to give the world an honest view of Presley’s life. Butler told reporters he did nothing but obsess over Elvis for three years in preparation; he studied concert videos, mimicked signature moves, and even worked with a dialectic coach to get the deep southern drawl we know and love. 

Luhrmann said Butler was born to be The King. His audition was a little non-conventional- he read no lines or scenes; instead, he sat at his piano and sang “Unchained Melody.” This tape moved Luhrmann so much that he knew Butler was the perfect fit, and the world agreed. 

Elvis’ former wife Priscilla Presley and his daughter Lisa Marie Presley had a private film screening. They described it as “beautiful.” It brought back memories of the man they loved and who inspired the world. 

The film’s portrayal of the icon and his chameleon manager is remarkable. Butler set out to find the humanity of Elvis Presley because, at his core, he was a poor boy from Tupelo who just wanted to take care of his mother and father. 

Tom Hanks knocks the performance out of the park playing one of the most infamous managers in music history while still making the audience understand the two sides of the Colonel. Priscilla Presley will tell you there were two Colonels: the businessman (or the “snowman”) and the caring man who made everyone laugh.  

The film reminds the world of one vital thing. The life and legacy of Elvis Aaron Presley. Many believe he was the king of rock and roll, although he will tell you Fats Domino is the real king. 

One thing Luhrmann wanted to include in this film was Black culture. Many fans forget that without Black culture, music, and style, there would be no Elvis Presley. He grew up in a poor Black community, visited Black gospel churches, and spent hours on Beale Street. He loved B.B. King, Big Mama Thorton, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. And they each play a huge role in the film.  

His biggest fear was leaving this world without making any impact. He would be happy to know that the legend and music of Elvis Presley will never be forgotten. His music continues to live on through a new generation of fans because of this new movie. 

This summer, I saw the movie eight times. I know, I sound insane. But it’s a movie you MUST see in theaters. The magic and power of Elvis Presley ooze off the screen. It feels like I got to know The King in many ways, and it is the closest I’ll ever get to seeing him in concert. So that was special for me. And each time, I left the theater with a tear-stained face. 

The world recently celebrated 45 years without The King on August 16. Over 30,000 people flocked to Graceland to attend the annual candlelight vigil in his honor. Every year 500,000 people make the pilgrimage to Graceland for Presley. I hope this love never dies and his legacy continues to grow—long live The King!

Elvis Aaron Presley 

January 8, 1935- August 16, 1977