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4K Ultra HD Review: Elvis

September 20, 2022

By John Corrado

Please note that this is a review of the 4K Ultra HD release of Elvis. For my full thoughts on the film itself, you can read my original theatrical review right here.

Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis became one of the biggest box office success stories of the summer when it was released earlier this year, and Warner Bros. has now put out the film on home media platforms, including 4K Ultra HD last week.

I was a big fan of this one when I saw it in theatres. Austin Butler delivers an incredible, transformative performance as Elvis Presley, as the film charts his rise to stardom and complicated relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).

It’s a big, bold vision from Luhrmann, with his usual kinetic editing and visual style turning Elvis into a true cinematic spectacle that delivers in terms of both the entertainment value and emotion that you can expect from a story about Presley’s life.

The film kept me engaged throughout the entire 159 minute running time, as it builds to an incredibly powerful final few moments. It’s a vibrant, beautifully crafted film in terms of its period costumes and production design, and the 4K Ultra HD presentation is able to really highlight this. This is a chance to get what is, at least for my money, one of the year’s best movies in the finest available format, backed up with a pretty decent selection of bonus material.

Film Rating: ★★★½ (out of 4)

Bonus Features (4K Ultra HD):

The 4K set comes with a regular Blu-ray that contains a number of featurettes, though some deleted scenes would have been nice considering reports of an initial four-hour cut of the film. A code for a digital copy is also included in the package, which ships with a shiny slipcover.

Bigger Than Life: The Making of Elvis (22 minutes, 23 seconds): This wide-ranging featurette opens with Luhrmann talking about portraying Elvis as a metaphor for America in the 20th century. It features Butler talking about taking on the iconic role; the hair and makeup work in the film, including the prosthetics that Hanks wore to portray the Colonel; and Mandy Walker’s cinematography. It’s a good overview of the production’s attention to detail, that doubles as a nice For Your Considering ad for multiple Oscar categories.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Royalty: The Music & Artists Behind Elvis (7 minutes, 33 seconds): Looks at recording the music for the film, including using real musicians to portray the gospel and blues singers, with Butler learning to copy Presley’s voice to recreate his early recordings.

Fit for a King: The Style of Elvis (8 minutes, 2 seconds): Catherine Martin (who happens to be Luhrmann’s wife) discusses designing the film’s impressive costumes and recreating various classic looks, with a distinct colour palate for each of the three decades (1950s, 1960s and 1970s) seen in the film. In addition to dressing Butler and Olivia DeJonge, who portrays style icon Priscilla Presley, Martin also oversaw providing period-authentic costumes for thousands of extras.

Viva Australia: Recreating Iconic Locations for Elvis (7 minutes, 26 seconds): Luhrmann, Martin (who also served as production designer), and set decorator Bev Dunn discuss shooting the film on stunning sets built in Australia, including incredible recreations of Beale Street, Graceland, and the International performance hall.

“Trouble” Lyric Video (2 minutes, 15 seconds): A lyric video of Butler performing “Trouble,” set to various clips from the film.

Musical Moments (46 minutes, 19 seconds): Isolated versions of nineteen musical moments from the film, viewable together or on their own. The one bonus that is available on the 4K disc as well.

Elvis is a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release. It’s 159 minutes and rated PG.

Street Date: September 13th, 2022

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