Plot: What’s it about?
It seems as though Warner Bros. loves those Elvis fans, as they’ve released yet another performance flick of his, this time it’s Elvis: That’s The Way It Is. This release is very noteworthy, as the visuals were given some restoration and about thirty minutes of additional footage has been added, very cool indeed. Of course, the focus is on Mr. Rock ‘n’ Roll himself Elvis and his live performance, but this piece also shows some rehearsal clips and general behind the scenes type stuff also. I liked seeing the more relaxed rehearsal footage, as it showed a lot of humor and also gave us a glimpse of how good of friends Elvis and his band were, which is cool to me. This behind the scenes peek includes some music of course, as well as jokes and normal banter between the folks involved. As the real show begins however, Elvis seems less than enthused most of the time, pushes through his more famous songs in quick fashion, and seems less than a wonderful showman, but hey, below average Elvis is better than no Elvis at all, right?
I’ve seen most of the releases with Elvis on DVD, from his concert pictures to feature films, so I was looking forward to Elvis: That’s The Way It Is. I had never seen this piece before, but I was eager to spin the disc, just to see what it offered and to check out the restored video, which I had heard good things about. I was very impressed with the visuals here, the restored transfer really shines, but more on that later in the review. As for the show itself, I liked the mixture of live performance footage and backstage shots, but the performance itself left me a little disappointed. This shoot takes place not long before the downward spiral and at times, you can see how uninterested Elvis is, which was a let down. But he does spark in a few songs and those are worthwhile, although it sucks to him rush through some of his most famous numbers, as they’re among my favorites. But while most of the show is lackluster, Elvis still shines and provides some solid entertainment, so fans will not want to miss this release. I think Warner should have included enough extras to justify the special edition banner, but the disc is priced low and still worth a look, so don’t hesitate.
Video: How does it look?
Elvis: That’s The Way It Is is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This restored and remastered picture looks terrific, much better than I had expected. The colors are lush and vivid, but never too much so and flesh tones look natural, no errors in the least on this end. Just as impressive is the contrast, which offers deep black levels and a strong detail presence, just as it should be. The source materials used seem clean and show minimal age signs, aside from some small issues here and there. I also saw no evidence of compression flaws, this is a nice overall presentation, fans should be very pleased.
Audio: How does it sound?
As you would expect, the music is the focus of this audio mix and as such, the included Dolby Digital 5.1 remix needs to be impressive. Although I was a little worried, this track delivers on all counts and the music sounds excellent, no problems in the least I could detect. The music sounds rich and immersive, which is superb and effective for a live performance such as this one. The non musical portions also sound good however, with crisp dialogue and no serious problems I could pick up on. This disc also includes subtitles in English and French, in case you’ll need them.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes some talent files, a brief behind the scenes featurette, and the film’s theatrical trailer. How Warner saw fit to title this disc a special edition I will never know, as it has less extras than some of their standard releases.