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Elvis (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

One of the summer’s bigger success stories with no tie to some IP franchise was that of Baz Luhrmann’s return with ELVIS. The film finished the big money season just outside the top 5 at #6, which looks pretty impressive as it clocked ahead of stuff like Lightyear. It may have some Oscar aspirations with the successful run when next year rolls around. But for now, you can pick it up on home video on the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format. Elvis was released on September 13th and comes with an Atmos track as well as a slew of extras to dig into after the film finishes. You may order yourself a copy by using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows this review at the bottom of the page.

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Film

The film explores the life and music of Elvis Presley (Butler), seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Hanks). The story delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the most significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge).

There’s the age old and true observation about biopics and the music one in general about allow following a similar blueprint and hitting the same beats. I agree with that notion, but when something is done very well and has itself a idea and voice within that mold, special things and great films can still happen. Case in point is the new film about the life of Elvis Presley.

Baz Luhrmann soars through his life and hits on many of the signature destinations and events in the feature’s length starting with his discovery of music through to his tragic demise…or should I say his manager’s demise. There’s a curiosity, a style, tone and observation on the pop culture and society during his few decades reign that really help heave this thing up about the lot to call itself “king”.

As expected to with a Luhrmann move, there’s a lot of style and color on display to go with sweeping camera movements and beautiful cuts and transitions. Its “cinema” to high degrees. But, this isn’t some “okay, this is where we do X. Okay, we did X, moving on to Y.” kind of pedestrian pilgrimage through the king’s life. No, its not an impression or mimicry, there’s a desire to give this thing a soul and it just emanates a vibe throughout the film that sucks you and impresses you from time to time with some nontraditional choices.

Tom Hanks in a fat suit doing a voice is what it is and he’s committed to it and somehow it actually works in all this. Austin Butler shines as every has already noted at this time. But, this kid’s dead ringer-ness was so wild at times that later in the movie you have to wonder if they didn’t just toss in a frame of Elvis or deep fake a couple seconds here and there cuz he’ll actually look and feel like the genuine article. Its a really nice breakout performance from him, acting, dancing singing chops and all.

Elvis is a whirlwind trip through one of music’s god tier icons that dives deeply into his life, his moments, the highs and the lows as any biopic would do, but this one with such a nice gusto and love for music and style to set it apart. The film was one of summer’s better big films and nicely raked in some dollars in good continuous fashion. Nice to see that The King still is relevant and garners general interest.

Video

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are publicity stills from Warner Bros, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-100

Clarity/Detail Elvis arrives as a native 4K title on its debut for the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format. And it looks absolutely gorgeous. It has an almost lovely painting quality about it. Its a crisp image with great contrast to put forth a fantastic color scheme that really radiates off the screen nicely. It definitely captures the feel of a big movie and has a nice big presentation.

Depth: Depth of field is very strong here with the movie showcasing a lot of 3 dimensional appeal and spacing. Scale is terrific, showcasing the grand nature of some of the rooms and lays of land. Motion is smooth and natural with no issues of distortion resulting from any rapid actor or camera movement on screen.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and at natural levels. Shadows, darkness and darker surfaces hold wonderfully, catering to lots of detail, texture and pattern visibility even under the most challenging circumstances.  No crushing witnessed during this review.

Color Reproduction: Colors are what this is all about. With great contrast many things pop all over here as the city lights of Vegas, stage lighting, many an outfit, fire and so much more burst with a terrific HDR glow.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. Facial features and textures come through quite clear and to the touch as you make out make-up strokes, lip texture, wrinkles, freckles, moles, sweat beads and more. Hanks make-up looks quite flawless under 4K scrutiny.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: Elvis rocks a really groovy Dolby Atmos tracks that brings a concert experience to your room. Whether it be a live performance or music carrying the film into a montage, it is perfectly engulfing of your viewing space. This mix is well balanced and features terrific layering and depth.

Height: From above you get some nice additions to the music as well as other little screen accurate touches and some occasions with a playful moment or two.

Low Frequency Extension: Bass, drum, horn, string and vocal moments get a good hum and bump from the subwoofer throughout to really add to the music. Other effects like car engines, doors slamming, glass shattering and other sounds have good, accurate pressure added by the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: Its a room spinning with great speaker contributions right and left. Nice ambiance set by side and rear channels which also note off screen actions and help to travel with good rolling force.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

Elvis comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a redeemable digital code.

4K UHD

Musical Moments – All of the musical numbers in their own separate play as you want feature.

BLU-RAY

Bigger Than Life: The Story of ELVIS (HD, 22:23) – Luhrmann opens saying he didn’t want do a biopic, he used Elvis as his guide to his telling of the pop culture of Elvis’ era. “We’re not in the impersonation business, we’re in the interpretation business” he says regarding approaching he and Austin Butler’s take on him. This acts as a bit of a making of with a heavier focus on Austin Butler and Tom Hanks as well as recreating some of the bigger moments in history to include in the film.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Royalty: The Music and Artists Behind ELVIS (HD, 7:33) – This goes over the other musicians featured in the film and the way they approached recreating and presenting the music in the movie. They wanted the music to be authentic without sound like karaoke.

Fit for a King: The Style of ELVIS (HD, 8:02) – “So much of my work became influenced by what I was wear” Austin Butler says as we enter this featurette about the costuming and set design on the film. Its very detailed an introspective on how to reference the past but fit with what works best for the actors and give it a fresh, authentic feel.

Viva Australia: Recreating Iconic Locations for ELVIS (HD, 7:26) – A featurette that showcases the impressive nature of the sets and transformed locations to make a film shot in Australia give off 1950s-70s Americana. They actually had blueprints from the Graceland estate to help build its accuracy to feel like the real thing.

“Trouble” Lyric Video (HD, 2:15)

Musical Moments

Summary

Biopic standards be damned, Elvis manages to rocket through that with a style, attitude and freshness that hopefully has future creators taking notes. The 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release comes with pretty much top notch picture and audio quality and a nice host of extras to make for a solid package for a modern film. Definitely pick this one up when you get a chance to add to your collection.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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