Like One of the Movies he Despised Making
Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars as Elvis Presley in this two part TV mini-series which takes us from Elvis's younger years before fame struck through the ups and downs of his career and personal life culminating in the 1968 Come back Special.
How can I put this without sounding cruel; "Elvis" this 2005 journey through the life of the "King of Rock and Roll" is not a good biopic and whilst I tend not to criticise other's opinions I would say anyone who would tell you it is a great biopic have not watched the earlier biopic starring Kurt Russell. Now before I go on I am trying to rationalise what could have caused anyone to consider making a new biopic on Elvis Presley and beyond 2005 would have been his 70th birthday I put it down to a generation thing. I reckon those behind this production were probably trying to make a biopic to appeal to a new audience by having a popular young actor play the part of Elvis, which is why we have Jonathan Rhys Meyers shaking his pelvis and flicking his hair.
So if this "Elvis" was made for a new generation it would then explain why it might have felt like a soulless jaunt through the life of Elvis Presley. Basically many of the well known moments in his life are included from recording a song with producer Sam Phillips at Sun Records to the death of his much loved mother, along the way there is the increasing reliance on drugs, his relationship with Priscilla as well as an affair with Ann-Margret. But there is absolutely no soul to any of this and no real character depth either. Okay so we see how much his mother's death effected Elvis whilst we get that he felt loyal to the Colonel despite being frustrated by his controlling manners but that is as far as this movie goes at trying to dig in to who Elvis was.
What that means is that for the most "Elvis" feels more like a musical than a biopic with Jonathan Rhys Meyers throwing himself into all the musical numbers to try and imitate Elvis in full gyrating flow. And I will give credit where it is due as Meyers certainly gets some of the movements pretty close whilst the lip-synching is pretty solid as well. But that is all it is and whilst Meyers at times had a touch of the Elvis about him when delivering a certain look for the most I couldn't buy into it.
What this all boils down to is that "Elvis" might entertain a young crowd who like some of Elvis Presley's songs and really like Jonathan Rhys Meyers. But for anyone who hoped for anything more than some musical scenes and a soulless trip through the well known aspects of Elvis Presley's life are likely to be seriously disappointed, as disappointed as Elvis was when it came to some of the movies he made.