I understand that Elvis used to be some sort of big shot musician and singer a hundred years ago, and that he branched out into films like all pop stars inevitably do. Now I like my music heavy and hard, like a Wooly Mammoth having a boxing match with a T-Rex, and instead of gloves on their fists they have Blue Whales. Faster than a flock of sparrows down a toilet, tougher than a man made of cacti, like chewing diamonds with teeth made of dynamite. Of course I know who Elvis is and or was, and I understand that the progression of rock and metal music may as well have started with him. He stole it from the blues and made it popular, Chuck Berry, L’il Rick gave it a rougher sexy edge, The Beatles made it smarter and more experimental, then Zep, Prog, Punk, NWOBHM, and grunge all shaped later sounds. However, going back all those steps and Elvis music is about as rockin as a one legged mouse with no legs. Some of the songs are good, but they really should have included Stairway.
The plot follows Elvis to the village of Vargas. There he meets a witch whom he conquers with the power of his thighs and quivering upper lip. ‘Mmrrhm umma gonna bust yourhmm up good ma’am’m’ he quips. After this she grants him one wish. Being a good fella he sees that the village is impoverished beyond belief and wishes that the village become a great city and that he is its ‘King’. We then flash forward several hundred years to the new city of Las Vegas where Vargas once stood. His wish has come true- the city is huge, everyone who lives there is rich and successful, people come from all over the world to visit it, and he is The King. He isn’t happy however, being a thousand year old immortal perpetually stuck in the body of 1950s greaser. He has everything he could possibly want- money, love, fame, success- everything except love. He carries the soul of the old witch in his crotch and has the power to make one final wish- he wishes for the love of a good woman. There is one catch though- if he does this he will have to give up all his wealth. He does this, and along comes a woman (played by Olivia Newton Prestly). He has to win her love by winning a series of car races and by proving that money isn’t important. Throw into this a few songs about gambling, prostitution, and Joe Pesci, and we have one of the first classic musicals.
I hate musicals. Everyone’s sitting there talking or racing, and suddenly they burst into song!!? When does that ever happen in real life!? I want to see films where army men shoot down helicopters with machetes, where robots that shoot lasers out of their various holes try to kill us all, where ninjas have to stop hordes of zombies and people have their insides eaten and thrown about the room like shoes in an OLAP cube. On the good side, I did find myself tapping my feet at a few of the songs and cheering when Elvis won a race. Now that I think about it, it is a great film. Buy it now!
Best Scene: When Priestley is racing a man in a black helmet towards the finish line, but he shoots some staples out of his car (Maxi Power) which blow up the tyres of the bad guy and send him spinning off the track in a hellish ball of terror and flames into a crowd of innocent bystanders. I thought the fact that he was singing ‘Are Ye Lonesome Tonight’ was a tad inappropriate though.