'Elvis' drowns Austin Butler's spot-on performance under a frenetic flood of style

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(CNN)"Elvis" has entered the theaters, but successful a bundle that often recalls the excesses associated with his Vegas-residency years: Looking bloated, gaudy and astatine times bordering connected self-parody. Those missteps, courtesy of manager Baz Luhrmann and an ill-used Tom Hanks, squander Austin Butler's superb moments successful the rubric role, which merit a overmuch amended movie.

Luhrmann's astir pertinent credits see the visually striking philharmonic "Moulin Rouge!," which offers evident stylistic parallels. Yet employing the rambunctious, surreal aspects of that 2001 romanticist phantasy clashes with the demands of a biographical film, drowning the substance with fast-paced and frenetic editing that blunts the emotion of Butler's spot-on performance, which has been embraced by Presley's family and would beryllium a showstopper if lone fixed country to breathe.

Although Elvis Presley's life has been documented successful a assortment of projects, the main precedent present seems to beryllium a 1993 TV movie, "Elvis and the Colonel," which focused connected the narration betwixt the prima and his manager/handler Col. Tom Parker, casting Beau Bridges arsenic the latter. A colorful and shadowy figure, Parker's power prompted allegations of superior fiscal shenanigans that were lone exposed aft Presley's decease successful 1977.

    Here, Luhrmann (who shares publication recognition with 3 others, astir a decennary aft his past movie "The Great Gatsby") makes the near-fatal mistake of chiefly telling the communicative from Parker's constituent of view. That places the accent connected a heavy made-up Hanks -- adopting an accent that tin astatine champion beryllium described arsenic punishing -- who serves arsenic the narrator and straight addresses the audience.

      "I americium the antheral who gave the satellite Elvis Presley," Parker boasts, adding, "Me and Elvis, we was partners."

      Austin Butler arsenic  Elvis Presley successful  manager  Baz Luhrman's 'Elvis.'

      "Elvis" frankincense kicks disconnected astatine the captious signifier erstwhile Parker comes into Presley's beingness arsenic he's regionally launching his singing career. But Parker's framework of notation has little to bash with euphony -- indeed, he's mostly indifferent to that -- than carnival attractions, astir salivating erstwhile helium identifies the almighty effect that Elvis' gyrations person connected females successful the crowd.

      While that inactive leaves country to illustration Presley's spectacular emergence contempt the originative and nonrecreational shackles that Parker placed upon him, Luhrmann's communicative attack doesn't truly make the characters, including, to a degree, Presley himself. Scenes contention by truthful rapidly that adjacent Elvis' woman Priscilla (Olivia DeJonge), parents (Helen Thomson and "Moulin Rouge!" alum Richard Roxburgh) and posse of Memphis pals are name-checked but hardly register, contempt a movie that runs much than 2 ½ hours.

        Where does the clip go? Much of it is devoted to meticulously replicating Presley's performances, including a elaborate presumption of his acclaimed 1968 NBC special, which gives Butler's unerring mimicry an accidental to shine. But efforts to contextualize Presley's travel with events specified arsenic the devastating assassinations of the '60s and contention relations are obscured by the communicative blur, which isn't helped by glib dialog similar Parker saying, "Is it my responsibility the satellite changed?"

          At a minimum, the movie helps rekindle an appreciation of Presley's endowment that volition person galore dusting disconnected greatest-hits collections and humming those classical tunes. Yet arsenic awesome arsenic it is to spot Butler approximate the King belting retired thing similar "Suspicious Minds," "Elvis," the movie, yet winds up caught successful a trap wholly of its ain making.

          "Elvis" premieres June 24 successful US theaters, and is being released by Warner Bros., similar CNN, a portion of Warner Bros. Discovery. It's rated PG-13.

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