Elvis – 4K UHD Blu-ray Review
Film Title: Elvis (2022)
Release Date: 2022
Runtime: 159 minutes
Region Coding: Region Free
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos
High Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Version Reviewed: 4K UHD Blu-ray
Release Date: 9/13/22
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Cast: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Kelvin Harrison Jr., David Wenham, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Luke Bracey, Dacre Montgomery, Leon Ford, Gary Clark Jr., Yola, Alton Mason, David Gannon
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Full 4K Tech Specs found at the bottom
“Elvis” was a 2022 biopic about the life of legendary musical entertainer and “The King” of Rock ‘n’ Roll himself, Elvis Presley. The film was directed, produced, and co-written by Baz Luhrmann. Baz is best known for directing mostly extravagant musical-focused films such as “Strictly Ballroom” (1992), “Romeo + Juliet” (1996), “Moulin Rouge!” (2001), “Australia” (2008), and “The Great Gatsby” (2013).
As mentioned, Baz Luhrmann co-wrote the story itself here (with Jeremy Doner) and then collaborated with a few other writers on the screenplay. Doner is known for working as a writer on some episodes of TV shows such as “The Killing” (2001) and “Damages” (2007). Both of the other co-writers on the screenplay [Sam Bromell and Craig Pearce] have worked with Baz on past projects. Namely, Craig Pearce also co-wrote the screenplays for “Strictly Ballroom”, “Romeo + Juliet”, “Moulin Rouge!”, and “The Great Gatsby”. And Sam Bromwell had co-written numerous short films that Baz Luhrmann directed over the years.
The story here is told from a very unique perspective with narrative all throughout from the view of Elvis’s infamous manager “Colonel Tom Parker” (portrayed here by Tom Hanks). We see Elvis’s childhood upbringing, growing up in poverty in Tupelo, Mississippi, and then eventually moving to Memphis, Tennessee. Also, you’ll see Elvis really did have love at an early age for attending and sometimes even sneaking into gospel tents to hear the music, which influenced him dearly. As a teenager and throughout Elvis is portrayed by actor Austin Butler. During his later teenage years, you’ll get to see some of Elvis’s struggle to work a job as an electrician (appropriately enough for a company called “Crown”), and see that when he’s not working he is listening to music around the historic Beale Street in Memphis, where the Blues was born.
Elvis’s parents, Vernon Presley (Richard Roxburgh) and Gladys Presley (Helen Thomson), want their son to be happy and are very supportive of his pursuit to be a musical performer as we see here in the film. Things are a bit rough at first for him, as he gets a bit nervous before performances and in turn, gyrated his hips and shook his arms and legs to the music. This caught the attention of audiences early on and also caused some obvious controversy.
Along the way, Elvis would become a musical and pop sensation across the United States and the world. He started out recording covers of the songs “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky” at Sam Phillips‘s Sun Records in Memphis. There he would record quite a bit of his early stuff before finally moving on to RCA records. Eventually, he would meet the love of his life, Priscilla, played here by Olivia DeJonge. I think most of you know this stuff, but there’s a lot you perhaps don’t know that you’ll learn.
That all being said, I won’t tell you the whole story here in my review of Elvis Presley’s life, in fact, the film doesn’t entirely do so 100% accurately, but I will say that this film manages to do one fantastic job of telling the story [as best as possible] and is an absolute must-see film for any fan of Elvis or those curious about the man, his life, and the music he performed.
Movie Rating: 4.75 (out of 5)
“Elvis”  on 4K UHD Blu-ray is presented in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio with HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+ forms of high dynamic range. The movie was shot digitally in 4.5K and 6.5K resolutions using the Arri Alexa 65 and Arri Alexa LF cameras with special Panavision Primo, Sphero 65, T-Series “Elvis” and Petzval Lenses. Essentially, what Baz Luhrmann describes is that they used different lenses for the three different decades that are primarily focused on Elvis Presley’s life here. The director actually said the following (below) in one of the extras included with this release.
“We shot on 50s lenses, for the 50s, and then when we got into the 60s and 70s we went anamorphic because that was the go to lensing of the 70s.” — Baz Luhrmann
So, that means first with the 1950s, then with the 1960s and 1970s decades the lenses changed to give it a unique visual style. The movie then received a 4K DI (digital intermediate) master.
Next, let me get technical, for a good bit here, regarding the 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc itself. This release is using a BD-100 (100 gigabytes) disc, 80.47 gigabytes total, and 78.4 gigabytes for the film itself. Based on my observations via my 4K UHD Blu-ray player, this runs bitrates as high as 85 to 100Mbps roughly what I saw it peak at. It can also drop to bitrates as low as 39Mbps at times, however, it mostly cruises around 50 to 60Mbps for the majority of the movie. In fact, to further back that up, from the PC side of things I was able to tell that the file for the film is using 60.6 Mb/s as an average bitrate. That is really not at all bad, as it does enough to certainly get the job done and considering that this is after all a 2-hour 39-minute movie and is using a BD-100.
Keep in mind that digital source material like this doesn’t come with film grain and doesn’t really run or need to run in the higher bitrates to deliver a sharp image with downright impressive amounts of detail. This 4K HEVC encode knows how to balance the bitrate out nicely and helps to deliver one absolutely stunning 4K video presentation.
This comes with rich vibrant colors that “pop” all throughout the film, many thanks to its opening beautiful logo, the fantastic costume design, larger-than-life set pieces, a perfectly solid black level, accurate flesh tones, and all of which look downright stunning in 4K with HDR. Speaking of which, having that being aforementioned, this is also a perfect movie to get all three forms of high dynamic range where it can demonstrate all the very many capabilities that each format has. Regardless of how you view it, in whichever HDR form, it looks phenomenal in 4K with an extraordinary amount of detail, most especially in facial close-ups. The 6.5K and 4.5K sources digitally being higher resolution than the final master really look great here.
Let’s face it, this film offers up one absolutely captivating visual presentation many thanks to the cinematography by the DP (director of photography) Mandy Walker. It also is one downright gorgeous film thanks to the costume and production design done by Catherine Martin, who happens to be the wife of the film’s director. “Elvis”  is just as much fun to watch as it is to hear, and it looks incredible here in 4K physically on the 4K UHD Blu-ray format, enough to earn it a downright awesome 4.75 rating for video quality. The fact this comes from that higher 4.5K and 6.5K digital source material makes for one very nice 4K master and here on disc for one overall excellent 4K video presentation.
Video Quality Rating: 4.75 (out of 5)
“Elvis”  arrives on 4K UHD Blu-ray in Dolby Atmos, with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core — for those not able to decode the Atmos as well as even Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, although it’s pointless considering that is actually contained in the Dolby TrueHD core.
First off, I must state that the Dolby Atmos mix here on 4K UHD Blu-ray (via physical media) packs a much stronger punch here than what I heard (via streaming) on HBOMax. Bitrates matter! Dolby TrueHD in true form is vital. Truth. From just the opening 4 minutes, you can tell it’s reference material.
It’s a sound mix that is larger than life, perhaps like the unique sound that “The King” provided us with before he left the building for good. Hearing a movie is just as important to be on physical media as it is for the visual perspective, especially for a musical biopic.
Immediately you will undoubtedly notice that the height channels are used very tastefully for mostly the music and sound effects, to help build this large sound (as mentioned) which seems very fitting about this Atmos mix. The music here, all throughout, is driven primarily from the front left & right channel speakers, along with a very nice amount of rear channel presence, and (as mentioned) across the height channel speakers.
Dialogue, starting with narration, is delivered distinctly from the center channel and mixed perfectly balanced, with zero need for any volume adjustments to be made throughout. Sound effects get mixed into the front and rear channels, not just the height channels (again, as mentioned) and it creates one massive audio experience here. Again, fitting for the person the film is about.
All along the way, you’ll feel a very deep amount of bass in the speakers as well as strong LFE coming from the subwoofer. This sound mix is just massive and really pulls you right into the story as well as most obviously the unforgettable musical experience. This is one of the finer Dolby Atmos mixes that I’ve heard. Dare I say, this is a mix fit for a King.
All and all, “Elvis”  on 4K UHD Blu-ray earns itself a perfect 5 rating for audio quality with an Atmos mix that certainly performed absolutely exquisitely for this type of film. This movie is as loud and in your face with its audio presentation just as it is flashy and also as beautiful as its visual approach.
Audio Quality Rating: 5 (out of 5)
- A Digital Copy of the film is included via a paper insert with redeem code, which is compatible with either AppleTV (iTunes) or Vudu.
- A Blu-ray Disc of the film is included. This is in 1080p HD with Dolby Atmos sound. It also houses all of the bonus materials, listed a bit further below.
4K UHD Blu-ray & Blu-ray Menu Background:
Bonus materials included on the Blu-ray Disc are listed below. These are all in HD (high definition) with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound — unless otherwise noted below.
- “Bigger Than Life: The Story of ELVIS“ (22 minutes, 23 seconds – HD) focuses on the man himself, Elvis Presley, and how this unconventional biopic pays tribute to his legacy as well as tells the story of his crooked manager. Here you’ll get lots of behind-the-scenes footage, on-set footage, clips from the film, footage from Graceland (in Memphis) as well as Elvis’s birthplace (Tupelo), and interviews with the following people: Baz Luhrmann (director, producer, writer), Austin Butler (Elvis), Tom Hanks (“Colonel Tom Parker”), Catherine Martin (costume designer, production designer, producer), Schuyler Weiss (producer), Gail Berman (producer), Yola (“Sister Rosetta Tharpe”), Kevin Harrison, Jr. (B.B. King), Polly Bennett (movement coach, choreographer), Mark Coulier (prosthetics designer), Shane Thomas (hair and makeup designer), Jason Baird (prosthetics supervisor), Olivia DeJonge (Priscilla), Mandy Walker (director of photography), and Dacre Montgomery (Steve Binder).
- “Rock ‘n’ Roll Royalty: The Music and the Artists Behind ELVIS“ (7 minutes, 33 seconds – HD) features behind-the-scenes footage, on-set footage, and interviews with the following people: Baz Luhrman (director, producer, writer), Austin Butler (Elvis), Elliott Wheeler (executive music producer, associate producer), Patrick McCormick (producer), Shannon Sanders (“Pentecostal Pastor”), Yola (Sister Rosetta Tharpe), and Gary Clark, Jr. (Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup).
- “Fit for a King: The Style of ELVIS“ (8 minutes, 2 seconds – HD) features behind-the-scenes footage, on-set footage, and interviews with the following people: Catherine Martin (costume designer, production designer, producer), Austin Butler (Elvis), Olivia DeJonge (Priscilla), and Baz Luhrman (director, producer, writer).
- “Viva Australia: Recreating Iconic Locations for ELVIS“ (7 minutes, 26 seconds – HD) Catherine Martin (costume designer, production designer, producer), Baz Luhrman (director, producer, writer), Austin Butler (Elvis), Bev Dunn (set decorator), Mandy Walker (director of photography), and Olivia DeJonge (Priscilla).
- “Trouble” Lyric Video (2 minutes, 15 seconds – HD) is performed by Austin Butler, consists of clips from the film, and gives lyrics along the way. This is very cool.
Overall, the bonus materials here are all enjoyable and give us a great insight into the making of the film, however, we don’t get really more than an hour of content or any audio commentary track from the filmmaker or perhaps others. Sure, it is nice that we get the film physically on a Blu-ray as an addition (as well as where the extras are housed) and a digital copy but it feels like a film as large as this — even given the unusual time period that it was made during — feels like it should have had more. I go through a lot of extras in my job here and have over the past few decades and this really sounded good [was enjoyable] but felt like “it fell a bit flat,” to use a musical reference, for a film this good.
Still, these extras are enough for the average consumer to get satisfaction if they’re curious about the making of the movie after they’ve watched the flick. As a fan of Elvis Presley, I just didn’t feel there was enough on here representing the real-life subject of the biopic itself.
Bonus Materials Rating: 2.75 (out of 5)
“Elvis”  was one very unique biopic that managed to tell the story of Elvis Presley and his crooked manager in a different way than we had ever experienced in the past. Director, producer, and co-writer Baz Luhrmann has truthfully put together a great film here and star Austin Butler surely “gave it his all” playing Elvis as did even Tom Hanks, playing his less than likable manager [“Colonel Tom Parker”] in the film.
One thing that really sets this film apart from any other biographies about Elvis is the fact that the actor here (Austin Butler) actually performed the songs himself for the most part mixed in with some of the real-life Elvis. As much as I love the 1979 TV Movie “Elvis” directed by John Carpenter, I can’t say that Kurt Russell performed those songs himself like in this 2022 film with Butler. That really sets it apart more than anything, aside from telling things from the narrative perspective of “Colonel Tom Parker” which is genius. It plays out a bit like some sort of “Sympathy for the Devil” of sorts, and again Hanks delivers one unforgettable performance here as what most would consider an unlikeable person or conceivably even villain.
It’s certainly worth noting that the critics like the film, so much that it carries [at the time of writing] a “Certified Fresh” badge over at Rotten Tomatoes. Also, unlike any previous biographies about Elvis, this one ended up being approved (after release) by Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie Presley as discussed in this Entertainment Weekly article.
There are some obvious things in the film that are not factual but have been fictionalized or changed. That’s typical of any biography about someone, but it was done in what I feel to be a tasteful manner. One thing that I will point out, in no way a “spoiler” but factual inaccurate here, is that Bobby Kennedy was not assassinated during the “68 Comeback” TV special on NBC that Elvis did. It did however happen during the rehearsals and they even wanted to have Elvis make a statement about it as well as the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Elvis’s hometown of Memphis. So, it’s not far off when he discusses that all in the film and was just changed up for dramatic impact.
It also feels to slightly lack some of the relationships and dialogue exchange between Elvis’s lifelong friends like Red West, and also members of the infamous personal entourage called the “Memphis Mafia” which feels a bit off here and condensed for time. Sure, folks like Charlie Hodge are depicted and even highlighted by name for a short scene but it’s nothing like the 1979 TV Movie “Elvis” where Charlie Hodge played a larger role and actually played himself. Also, another friend of Elvis that feels a bit less focused on is Jerry Schilling. These all were important relationships, and in fairness, the people are depicted briefly off and on via the film but not for very long. Possibly this choice made by Baz Luhrmann (or by his co-writers and/or producers or such) was to not focus on the friends but entirely on the man himself, and I can surely respect that.
I know and respect that Baz Luhrmann here as a filmmaker (writer, director, and producer) was going for his vision and much of the story of Elvis and his manager but it can feel to lack a little bit of the friendships he [Presley] made along the way of his extraordinary but short life, as well as his famous TV performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” for some strange reason? All and all, I actually love the film and that’s coming from a lifelong fan of Elvis Presley’s music and someone who has visited Graceland for that very reason. I think the other fans will love this film as well.
In terms of video quality, this comes from a digital 4.5K and 6.5K source and then received a 4K master. The 4K presentation is downright stunning all throughout and really has a lot of “pop” to it. It also features all three of the current high dynamic range types: HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+. It’s on a BD-100 and that was a wise choice for a film with a runtime of 2 hours and 39 minutes, as it never misses a beat. This looks quite wonderful in 4K here on 4K UHD Blu-ray.
In terms of audio quality, this Dolby Atmos mix almost feels like you’re getting to be at an Elvis concert during the latter half of the film comprised of the 1970s Las Vegas performances. This has some excellent use of the height channels that really help drive the music all throughout this very unconventional music biopic. Some use of modern music might catch some’s attention and feel a bit off but I personally found it to work. It’s a sound mix that’s as much larger than life as Elvis was, in my own personal opinion.
Lastly, you get over almost an hour of extras here on the Blu-ray Disc. They’re all very informative and worthwhile and I totally suggest them. However, for a film this large about an artist this significant it feels like they should maybe have included more historical footage or performances by the real Elvis Presley. But you can find all of those on DVDs and Blu-rays such as the must-see 1970 music documentary/concert film that Elvis did for MGM called “That’s the Way It Is” — which this film features plenty of recreated material and even audience footage blended in.
In terms of 4K UHD Blu-ray release, this gets:
4.75 (out of 5) for video quality
5 (out of 5) for audio quality
2.75 (out of 5) for bonus materials
Very Highly Recommended
4K UHD Blu-ray Screenshots:
4K UHD Blu-ray Technical Specifications:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Exact Runtime(s): 2:39:15
Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core), Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Disc Size: BD-100
Disc Use: 80.47GB total / 78.4GB for the film
Video Bitrate: 60.6 Mb/s