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I've just watched the first half of this on DVD and can't believe I've
waited so long to see it! I've never been too bothered about Elvis - he
died 6 years before I was born - but this fascinated me from the first
5 minutes. I'm a fan of Johnny Rhys-Meyers anyway and this is by far
the best thing I've seen him in.
I bought the DVD as a Christmas present for an Elvis fan but I think I might have to get another copy for myself now, and borrow some of her other movies about/starring Elvis too.
I understand comments about the lip-syncing, but if Johnny can't pin down the accent while singing (he's a great singer in his own right) then rather that have him do an injustice. I'd like to have heard Elvis try and sing in a Cork accent ;)
I think that Johnny, plus the actress playing Mrs Presley and the actor as Colonel Parker have all done anastounding job here. The awards they won for it are well deserved. I can't wait to get home tonight and watch the second half.
...why...??? well you know Elvis's magnificent song (my favorite of
his) which superbly closes the film.Instead of showing Elvis' years of
decrepitude,the film avoids the major pitfall of the biopics:dwelling
on the sordid side of life.
Not that this "Elvis" passes over in silence the warts 'n all side .Colonel Parker provides the movie with a true villain;he made Elvis but he destroyed him.Take Elvis's movies career :the singer did know what was good (Siegel's "Flaming Star" ) and bad (90% of the rest). He wanted the part of Tony in "West Side Story" and I'm sure he would have been quite good ,at least he could sing ,whilst Richard Beymer could not .
The first part is the rise to fame till Elvis's drafted :Camryn Mannheim,an actress I did not know reminds me of Kathy Bates ,as Gladys Presley -Like John Lennon,Elvis's mother's death was probably the worst thing that happened to him- shines ,and along with Jonathan Rhys Meyers ,who gives an exciting performance and Robert Patrick ,the father at the beck and call of Parker ,they form a credible Presley family. Sam Philips represents music for the art's sake whereas Parker is only in it for the money.
Rhys Meyers carries the second part almost singlehandedly.Priscilla,his femme-infant,Ann Margret ,the duds ,the British invasions (Beatles and Stones ,singers Elvis hated ,though he covered the former group's "Something" ),and the longing for something else (He was always reading strange books)which the finale" If I can dream" perfectly captures.
Parker's character is probably caricatured ,but it does not spoil the interest."Elvis" is a made-for-TV biopic to recommend.
ELVIS, in my opinion, is an excellent biopic of the king of rock and roll. The performances were smashing, the soundtrack was great, and the casting was just right. Ever since the first time I saw it, I've been wondering if Jonathan Rhys-Meyers actually sang the vocals or lip-synched them. Anyway, I thought that Jonathan Rhys-Meyers gave a smashing performance every time she was performing. If you ask me, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers totally deserved the Golden Globe for his work in this smash biopic. In conclusion, if you are a die-hard fan of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers or like Elvis' music, I highly recommend this excellent biopic of the king of rock and roll. You're in for a real treat and a good time, so don't miss this one.
I have read some of the comments regarding the Elvis CBS mini series
just aired and as someone who was close to Elvis for over 20 years it
is disheartening to see the praise for this mini series, it's story,
script and the midget who played Elvis. A midget in many aspects.
What we feared when we heard about the script has come to pass. These reviews point out to those of us who were close to him what we really were afraid of. That the general public would believe that pitiful story that was shown because the general public and many fans really don't know how it was.
Films like this do Elvis an injustice and along with the many discrepancies portrayed it once again portrayed Elvis as a wimpy, weak ass, whiny person when in fact he was a strong human being in many aspects of his life.
I was told by some Elvis fans who also disagree with you all on the brilliance of this movie about these reviews on this website and I was compelled to post here and respectfully inform you that the mini series was far from the reality of Elvis and all those years.
Thank you, Marty Lacker
Okay, I'll admit it. I never was much of an Elvis fan. The fact I was born just a year before he passed away, did not help things. See, I grew up with the phenomenon, the image of fat, bloated, hideously dressed man who sang and danced and apparently drove women crazy with lust. And with thanks to his many fans who'll sometimes do anything to maintain that image, I seriously started to doubt my own sanity when I could not find the one thing I'm always looking for when confronted with someone who's supposed to be a legend: a human being. So I had no idea why I felt I should be watching this particular bio-pic. But I'm glad I did. So what if Jonathan Rhys Meyers is not as tall as Elvis, so what if his lip-syncing is a little off every now and then? So what if his dancing is not as smooth or if his accent wavers sometimes? He brought vulnerability, sweetness, loyalty, generosity, insecurity and overall humanity to the man who was made into a King by his manager and fans. He showed me, finally, that Elvis was just an ordinary man with extraordinary musical talent, who put his faith in the wrong people. Like many had before him and like many will, even now. I was never much of an Elvis fan. Until I saw this. The King is dead, long live the King!
ELVIS is the DVD version of the much lauded television miniseries (it
won both Golden Globe and Emmy awards for actors Jonathan Rhys Meyers,
Camryn Manheim and Randy Quaid): the transfer of the extended three
hour long series to a single DVD format is successful and demonstrates
once again that made of television movies can often be superior to the
Hollywood format. The film is not without its flaws: the script by
Patrick Sheane Duncan is painfully pedestrian at times and the use of
lip-syncing using a variety of Presley recordings isn't always
convincing. But director James Steven Sadwith manages to overcome the
obstacles and gives us a rather personalized view of the life of the
The film covers Elvis Presley's life from his near poverty beginnings in Tupelo to his worldwide fame and fortune at his 'comeback' in 1968. The development of the committed guitar-playing singer from his first record through the development of his 'style' and the ultimate glory and insecurity that paired his magic time is well told. If the story seems to be repetitive and goes on too long, then it also is giving the audience time to see the man behind the shadow of fame.
Oddly enough Jonathan Rhys Meyers (now so superb in another biographical series as Henry VIII in 'The Tudors') was imported for the leading role, and while some may question the use of outsourcing here, Rhys Meyers is so convincing in every way that the reasons for casting him are clear. Camryn Manheim offers fine work as Presley's all-important mother and Robert Patrick plays his supportive father. Randy Quaid gives a bravura performance as the oddly successful Colonel Parker. Some of the other roles - Rose McGowan's misfired portrayal of Ann-Margaret and Antonia Bernath's of Priscilla - are less successful, but their contributions are balanced by the fine work of Tom Guinee as the pivotally important Sam Phillips.
In all this is a quality piece of work about one of America's icons whose presence is still palpable thirty years after Presley's untimely death at age 42. The awards given to this film are well earned and the DVD offers a fine (if long) evening of entertainment and nostalgia. Grady Harp
Elvis was a fascinating figure and remains so today. He basically invented Rock and Roll and was in my opinion the first true rock star. This movie does him a great credit. The actor who plays him looks and sounds very close to the way the real Elvis did. The use of actual songs sung by the real Elvis makes the movie all the better. This movie truly shows the pressures and troubles Elvis faced in his life. All in all it presents as a generous and good person, which he really was as sources say. Despite the drug dependency, Elvis was a great person who revolutionized music and set the stage for all performers to come. This movie is captivating and moving.
It was wonderful to hear Elvis' actual voice and music coming out of
the mouth of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. Frankly, I could have used even more
of Presley's magnificent voice throughout.
One of the previous posters mentioned that Marty Lacker commented on this film. I was in touch with Marty during my time on the Elvis message board and always enjoyed his comments. I regret that I couldn't find his comments on the film here. I don't imagine he liked it much. There was only one Elvis, and while you may be able to approximate him, you will never find anyone who will ultimately satisfy as Elvis. Kurt Russell probably came the closest, but I haven't seen everyone.
All that being said, I enjoyed Part I of this miniseries more than Part II, and I did like Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, especially in Part I. I read some of the posts which mentioned he did not have Elvis' stature. Elvis Presley was one of the most gorgeous men who ever lived. He had it ALL. And that includes height. If you're asking to see an Elvis clone portraying Elvis, if it were possible, Elvis wouldn't have been the unique individual he was. The role of Elvis in this bio did not call for an Elvis impersonator, it called for an actor, and Rhys-Meyers is definitely that.
The purpose of this film, and the purpose of the Elvis by the Presleys documentary, was to introduce Presley to a new audience. For this they chose a handsome, up-and-coming actor, in order to bring in the youth market. He's Irish. He played a man he didn't know personally and a man he didn't know very much about. He also had to play the script he was given. With those caveats, he was excellent, and, having seen Presley in some of the performances recreated in this film, he had obviously studied Elvis' movements.
Though the miniseries captured many of the details we know of Elvis' story, in the end, it didn't capture Elvis himself - and may I say AGAIN, if that were an easy or even POSSIBLE thing to do, well, Elvis wouldn't be the legend he is today. The script I do not believe demonstrated Elvis' tremendous charm and charisma, nor his sense of humor. That was a problem in the script. It's very possible that given the opportunity Rhys-Meyers would have been up to the task.
What the script did show is the conflict between Colonel Parker, well played by Randy Quaid, and Presley, giving us a hint of what was a very complicated relationship. Parker was about money; Elvis was about creativity. But it was more than that - Parker had absolutely no understanding of Elvis the artist, and in a sense, he dismissed that side of him. Parker did a great many good things for Elvis but in the end, he held him back tremendously. I knew that Elvis wanted to do the remake of A Star is Born, but I had not known (and I assume it's true) that Elvis wanted to do West Side Story. Since Tony is usually played by a very romantic type whom one cannot believe is affiliated with a gang, Presley would have been inspired casting. Not making better movies is one of the great tragedies of his career, along with never touring the world. I really have no use for Colonel Parker for a variety of reasons, which I won't go into here. And it wasn't all the Colonel - some of the problems had to do with Elvis' inability to let go.
The film ends in a strange place - the '68 Comeback Special, and it is there the failing of Rhys-Meyers' physical appearance as Elvis really shows up. Elvis was beyond gorgeous on that special, and Rhys-Meyers just did not demonstrate those shocking good looks. And why end it there? Elvis became a smash hit in Vegas, and he had several successful years on tour before his lifestyle caught up with him.
With the exception of Rhys-Meyers, Quaid, and Camryn Manheim as Gladys, there doesn't seem to have been much attention paid to the casting. Rose McGowan did not approximate the luscious Ann-Margret, and Antonia Bernath was not Priscilla.
However, I think the miniseries did its job. We got to hear that glorious voice and see something of one of the most fascinating rags to riches story ever told. If the man was missing, I can't blame anyone but the man himself. He was one of a kind.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Kudos to James Steven Sadwith director of the this two part four hour
CBS presentation. Albeit a partial look at the life of the legendary
Elvis Presley. This telling begins with Elvis the poor, but determined
teenage truck driver wanting to make a record... all the way to his
career resurrecting NBC-TV special in 1968. It is very hard to nit-pick
this dive into the Elvis saga, because it appears so accurate and true
to the smallest of details. I can't praise this mini-series enough.
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers does a damn good Elvis; even better than Michael St. Gerard's portrayal in the 1990 mini-series...but still short of the excellent Kurt Russell in 1979. All the mannerisms and movements were there. Rhys-Meyers turns his natural strong Irish accent into the soft spoken drawl of the South. And for the first time, Elvis's original recordings were allowed for this documentary.
Camryn Manheim is to be commended for her realism in portraying Elvis' beloved mother Gladys. Randy Quaid turns into a real good Col. Tom Parker. I can't say that Robert Patrick impressed much as Vernon Presley. Even worse was Antonia Bernath with a dismal portrayal of Priscilla Presley. On the other hand Rose McGowan IS Ann-Margret. Talk about hot and dead-on. Her scenes with Rhys-Meyers sizzle...much like the real life Elvis and Ann-Margret relationship. Tim Guinee plays a mild version of the flamboyant Sam Phillips.
All in all, everyone that worked on this project should know that they are part of an exceptional piece of TV history. Presley fan or not...it would be hard not to be impressed with this documentation of one of the world's greatest icons...ELVIS.
I didn't know how Jonathan Rhys-Meyers was going to pull off playing
Elvis after having just seen him in The Velvet Goldmine. After watching
for 5 minutes, I thought I was watching The King himself. Talk about
great acting! Randy Quaid was very good as 'Colonel' Tom Parker as
well. I couldn't really warm up to the actresses that played Priscilla
or Ann-Margret though.
What a cool behind the scenes glimpse of the life of Elvis. On the outside, he seemed as if he could do anything. Deep down, he was just human like the rest of us.
Very much worth watching. :)
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