“Elvis” is the one “huh?” entry on director John Carpenter’s filmography, not because it’s bad (it’s not) or because it was made for TV (he’s done plenty of those), but because it lacks any element that’d place it in the horror or sci-fi genres. Admit it: You wouldn’t expect the man behind “Halloween,” “Escape from New York” and “The Thing ” to be the ideal person to depict the life of Elvis Presley.
If not for being made too soon to include Presley’s death, this could be considered the definitive biopic of The King. Most of the credit should go to Kurt Russell “ an underrated actor no matter the role “ for really inhabiting the iconic singer. If the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences nominated Gary Busey for playing Buddy Holly, it’s easy to think it would’ve done the same for Russell … if only it hadn’t debuted on the small screen.
The 1979 telepic is more than a bit dated and about an hour too long, but better than most of Hollywood’s efforts at dramatizing the rise, fall and comeback of its musical superstars. Shout! Factory does what it can in the way of extras, but too bad it couldn’t get Carpenter and Russell to deliver one of their excellent tag-team commentaries. “Rod Lott