Review by Sean Boelman
The best bad movies are those in which it seems like the filmmaker put an earnest effort into making something legitimate but things did not turn out as planned. Unfortunately for MZ Silverman and Tracy Wuischpard, their new sci-fi comedy Elvis from Outer Space feels like it was made with the intent of being “so bad it’s good”, and as a result, it’s nearly unbearable.
The film’s (almost incomprehensible) plot follows the King, who according to this movie’s logic, did not die in 1977, but rather fled to outer space with aliens in an attempt to preserve his youth and vitality, as he returns home in the present day feeling homesick, hoping to reconnect with his daughter, entering an Elvis impersonator contest, and getting wrapped up in trouble with the CIA.
It’s clear that Silverman and Wuischpard have a deep love for Presley and his music, but this ridiculous story more often comes off as disrespectful to his image. Conspiracy theorists have argued for years that he was still alive, and while this may seem like a jokingly innocent riff on those claims, the filmmakers are woefully inept at turning this into any sort of legitimate homage.
When a film about one of the greatest rock and roll musicians of all time barely features any of his music, there is an issue. Maybe the filmmakers couldn’t afford the rights to use Elvis’s songs, or maybe the owners refused to grant usage to a project so effectively blasphemous, but regardless, it’s a glaring omission that eliminates even more authenticity.
Of course, authenticity isn’t of the utmost importance in a movie with CGI as lacking in quality as this. It’s doubtful that the Presley estate would look too favorably upon a film showing Elvis with cosmic superpowers akin to a poor rip-off of Doctor Strange and alien allies that look like they were animated on a Windows XP computer.
And if the movie wasn’t already confusing enough, it is framed through narration by an omniscient narrator who isn’t necessary to the story, but is very necessary for the audience to be able to follow what is happening. In a film defined by randomness, not much makes a whole lot of sense, but this is probably the least logical aspect.
The acting is also very lackluster. George Thomas plays the eponymous musician and while he should be among the most qualified actors for the role as a professional Elvis impersonator, he’s not a good fit here. Perhaps he’s better with his rehearsed set, but he is not believable at all in this.
Elvis from Outer Space is a B-movie that wants to be absurd but instead ends up being outright stupid. The low craftsmanship and nearly incoherent script make this one of the most aggravating movies of the year.
Elvis from Outer Space hits VOD on July 7.
Dedicated to unique and diverse perspectives on cinema!