Agent Elvis, the Netflix animated series, is better than Elvis, the Oscar-nominated biopic directed by Baz Lurham.
Better sidekicks/hangers-on to suck up to the king
Undecided? Click on the links and compare the trailers:
Still on the fence? Remember, one of these shows features a coke-snorting, booze-guzzling, whore-mongering, ultraviolent chimpanzee named Scatter, voiced by Tom Kenney (Spongebob Squarepants). The other has Tom Hanks in a fat suit with a terrible accent.
The choice is obvious.
Full confession: I didn’t finish the Baz Lurhman film. I probably won’t. No matter how flashily edited the performance, there’s only so much of an Elvis imitator I can stand in one sitting. However, I had no trouble bingeing the ten half-hour episodes of Agent Elvis, and 300 minutes later, the end just left me wanting more. And I hope it will be on the big screen the next time I watch Agent Elvis.
You may argue that comparing the two celebrations of Elvis – a “serious” multi-million dollar movie to a hilarious Netflix cartoon – is unfair. That it’s comparing apples to oranges. So let’s compare apples to apples or, in this case, Elvis to Elvis. There’s no denying that young Austin Butler spent a lot of time studying the King, his mannerisms, his moves, the way he walks and talks, the way he combs his hair, and the way he curls his lips. It’s a fine imitation, but something cold and calculating about the performance makes it DOA (Dead on Arrival). It’s not cool; it just leaves you cold.
The way Matthew McConaughey plays the title character in Agent Elvis, though, is a lesson in cool. He doesn’t merely imitate Elvis; he embodies everything that made The King The King. And he does it all with just his voice and his vocal attitude. Of course, he doesn’t sound like Elvis because he’s not trying to make you believe he’s the guy. He sounds like McConaughey circa 1993, the Dazed and Confused McConaughey doing a bad Elvis voice for his buddies. It’s not an imitation of Elvis; it’s the essence.
And that’s what makes it better. That and the chimp.