After our review of the promo-tape of this movie we received the director/writer contacted us that he was disappointed by our review and the trailer himself. He thought it didn't cover the video very well, and that it was made before the actual movie was shot completely.
Disregarding our remark about being glad not to have to watch the whole thing, he still wanted to take the 'risk' and sent us the complete video for a full review. Open minded as we are, we decided to give it a chance.
Our comments on the content and impersonators in general we gave on the promo-video caused quite some input. Some of them agreeing with us (especially regarding the impersonators), some didn't. Some examples:
People agreeing with us:
"I just wanted to say thank you for your comments about the new Almost Elvis video. I think it is horrible! It only continues the terrible stereotype that has plagued us fans. Being an American female fan of 26, people are always telling me about these sorry human beings. I am totally not into them".
People not agreeing with us:
"I wanted to comment on your negativity regarding the "Almost Elvis" movie. I am a huge Elvis fan, and I don't think anyone could ever replace him. However; many of these impersonators are also true fans of Elvis, and they show great respect for his memory. I think maybe if you had watched the entire movie you may not have been quite so negative in your comments. Many of these entertainers have tremendous talent and what l they do for us is keep the memory of Elvis alive".
People with an open mind about the phenomena:
"OK, so you don't like impersonators and thought a preview of the Almost Elvis video laughable. I bought the full tape and reviewed it on the Elvis Fans in Australia site. Personally, I find the impersonator phenomenon fascinating and intriguing. Vernon Chadwick provided commentary and insight into why people want to become impersonators, and the lengths they will go to - even plastic surgery".
Probably it is true that this strange phenomena of impersonating Elvis deserves a documentary. As the video states somewhere "Some of Elvis' records may be broken, but he will always be the most impersonated artist". This is a valid point of course, and analyzing why happens unfortunately too little in this documentary. Why did Elvis had such a big attraction to his fans, even when his performances and looks got less? Following that, why are some of the fans willing to take poor surrogates for replacement? And why is there an opposition against those wannabees that is at least as large (if not much larger)?
This video handles the second question more or less, but not really in depth. The first question is touched, but only in connection with impersonating and the third question is ignored at all. Instead we get about 2 hours of those wannabees. Some are a real pain in the ass, others seem at least to be honest. Just imagine we would go to church. We wouldn't mind if a guy in a respectable suit sings "How Great Thou Art", even better when there's a (very) slight resemblance with Elvis. But what the heck does such a guy in a jumpsuit on an athletic track? No, he was not singing "Run On".
The main part of the video handles the annual competition in Memphis. Some of the contenders are followed during the pre-selections and their preparations for the grand finale. In between some others show up, and we have to admit one of them (Doug Church) came pretty close regarding voice to the real thing, at least for a part of one single song. A short impression of how the jumpsuits are produced is quite interesting, but in general we can say it is indeed too much for us. The winner of the Memphis finale is "Almost Elvis". Well maybe to himself, but to us he didn't come close. We are glad we didn't see those that didn't make it to the Top 3, because that level must have been real, real bad.
Our conclusion must be that there could have been much more in a documentary like this. The first twenty minutes of the documentary deals with the phenomena and is interesting. The second part, unfortunately about 100 minutes, is only interesting for freaks. We think watching those impersonators for almost two hours is a waste of time when you have videos like the "NBC-special", "TTWII", "On Tour", "Aloha" or even "In Concert" shelved.