Austin Butler attends the Elvis" UK Special Screening at BFI Southbank on May 31, 2022 in London, England
Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage

'Elvis': 5 Reasons You Need to See the New Movie About The King

Baz Luhrmann's new Elvis biopic has been highly anticipated since the project was first announced and it has finally been released in theaters. The colorful filmmaker is known for his unique movies like Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet, so what would it look like when he takes on the story of one of the most legendary musicians of all time? All I have to say is you've never seen another biopic like this. It's not as over the top as some of his previous films, but just enough to really serve the story and set it apart from your traditional musical biopic.

Hollywood auditioned nearly every young actor in Hollywood for the lead role, looking for the perfect person to bring The King to life. Harry Styles, Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort were a few contenders for the part, but no one came close to beating Austin Butler. The 30-year-old actor landed the role, with Tom Hanks signing on to play Presley's controversial manager, Colonel Tom Parker. The end result is a visually stunning film that truly honored the performer in a way no previous Elvis films have done before. It's easily one of the best movies I've seen all year, and it's almost hard to put into words why. You really have to see it to appreciate everything it has to offer.

Austin Butler

To say Austin Butler was perfect for his role is an understatement. I don't really have words to articulate how amazing he was in this movie but here are a few to describe his performance — captivating, emotional, impressive, raw and magical. In a way I've never seen done, Butler managed to show Presley as a human being and not the caricature we've grown to know over the years. Especially for folks who didn't grow up when Elvis was alive, it can be hard to separate the man from the image we see impersonated everywhere from SNL sketches to Vegas casinos. Everything from Presley's mannerisms to his incomparable stage presence was expertly captured by Butler as well as his incredible musical gift.

Butler did such a good job of telling the story of how Presley became the legend we still love today by showing his inspiration from various musical genres, clear vision for his performances, and unique stage moves that could make you feel the music flowing through him. Mark my words, you're about to start seeing Austin Butler everywhere. This movie will undoubtedly change the trajectory of his career and make him an instant star.

Apparently, he landed the role by sending Luhrmann a tape of himself singing "Unchained Melody" and playing the piano. He got himself in the mix through his talent and initiative which honestly makes me like him even more. After 5 months of auditioning, he proved to be the only choice for Elvis and now I really can't imagine anyone else playing him. In my opinion, this easily goes down in history as the best portrayal of Presley of all time. There's a reason it's the only project ever endorsed by Priscilla Presley herself. Like us, she was most likely touched by the way the film showed that behind the superstar there was a human being. A passionate family man who got led down an unfortunate path, but who loved performing with every ounce of his being.

Tom Hanks

Some might disagree with me, but I personally think Tom Hanks nailed Colonel Parker. The Colonel was incredibly controversial and took advantage of Presley, especially when it came to his finances. He dictated his career based on his own needs, prohibiting the star from fulfilling his dreams of touring overseas and seeing the world. It's a tragic tale, and an interesting choice to use the Colonel, essentially the villain of the film, as the narrator of the entire story.

Granted, the character can be a bit much at times, but I feel like that was just the case for the Colonel in general. Hanks was a great choice because he feels like such a trusting person and you don't expect him to be two-timing you behind your back. You needed to have someone play this character in a way that justified why Presley kept him around for so long. Despite the incredibly tragic final years that we see unfold in the film, he's a necessary evil in Presley's story and Hanks really delivered.

The Music

It only makes sense that at the very heart of the film is the music. It was the center of Elvis's world so it feels right that it plays such a big part in the story. And I'm not talking about just his musical performances. The film's soundtrack does a unique job of incorporating powerful music into the storytelling to really illustrate how it spoke to Elvis's very soul. From his early upbringing to his life in Memphis before and after stardom, the soundtrack supports the fact that Elvis was inspired by different types of music which is what helped him become such a trailblazer.

From modern songs to Elvis covers by Kacey Musgraves, the music plays the perfect supporting role to all of Butler's showstopping Presley numbers. At one point, they transition from Butler's performance to real footage of Presley and it took me half the song to realize they switched. Butler was that good.

The History

Elvis lived through various fascinating moments in history and the movie addresses all of them and how they affected Elvis as well as his career. The film shows how Elvis was influenced by Black artists, such as B.B. King, Fats Domino, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton. It even showcased how Presley reacted to certain pivotal moments in America such as the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and President Kennedy.

You get some interesting backstory behind Elvis getting drafted as well as the purchase of his beloved family estate, Graceland, which remains in the family to this day. He was a true family man, trying to get as many people involved as possible with his career so that no one had to go hungry.

The Clothes

Clothes were such an important part of Presley's self-expression so it was really fun to see all of his iconic outfits recreated. It was particularly fascinating to see the story behind his legendary Comeback TV Special which featured some of his best looks of all time, including that amazing head-to-toe black leather ensemble. Presley didn't shy away from color, bling, or flair, and it really was an important part of his image that has made him so memorable. His fashion choices helped pave the way for many other artists after him who were looking to get creative with their self-expression so it was very clear why he was a trendsetter when you see him compared to all of the other mainstream acts during his time.

READ MORE: Remembering Elvis Presley's Gospel Medley From His 1968 Comeback Special