Elizabeth: The Golden Age ( 2008 )
Nearly a decade after Cate Blanchett drew the attention of audiences and critics alike with ELIZABETH, the Oscar-winning actress returns to the role of the Virgin Queen. Though the protestant ruler has been on the throne for decades in 1585, Elizabeth I's reign is still under attack from both inside her country and from the continent. Her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton), carries the favor of the nation's Catholics as she schemes for the throne from prison, while Spain's King Philip II (Jordi Molla) plots an invasion with the power of his famous armada. But Elizabeth is also concerned with the arrival of Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen), a charming pirate and adventurer. Unable to reconcile her feelings with her crown, she encourages Bess (Abbie Cornish), her beloved lady-in-waiting, to pursue a relationship with Raleigh. Nine years haven't dulled Blanchett's ability to play this--or any other--character with an impressive range of fire and tenderness. Her chemistry with the infinitely watchable Owen is one of the film's highlights. As in ELIZABETH, director Shekhar Kapur doesn't restrict himself from using artfully constructed shots that aren't normally used in period dramas. It's a modern retelling of history, and Kapur and his director of photograpy, Remi Adefarasin, aren't content to let the film have the standard look of many films in the genre. Costume designer Alexandra Byrne follows the same logic, creating stunning dresses for Elizabeth that draw inspiration both from modernity and the time period. If Blanchett weren't such a gifted actress, the gorgeous costumes might threaten to overtake her as the star of the film.
Loved this movie Cate Blanchett has out done herself again. Nothing negative to say scenery great love it a must if you have the Elizabeth DVD...
Just a Bit Below the first Elizabeth!
Cate Blanchett received Oscar nominations for both Elizabeth movies, and her performance in this movie is just as good as in the first. Yet, somehow, this movie just did not move my heartstrings like the first one did.
Elizabeth in this movie is older and is still fighting possible assassination attempts by unhappy Catholics. But she is confident and refuses to persecute anyone. Eventually, she is forced to sign a death warrant for Mary Stuart (Samantha Morton), who seems more of a threat than in any previous movie that I have ever seen the Mary Stuart character.
Geoffrey Rush is back as Lord Wallingsley, Elizabeth's main adviser. His character this time is a supporting role to Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen), who in this movie becomes Elizabeth's main love interest--especially after he has returned from the New World with gifts and tells the Queen that the new colony has been named Virginia in honor of her virginity. (There is even the puddle scene where Raleigh throws his cloak in the mud so that Elizabeth does not have to get her feet and skirt muddy. However, he is not that devoted to her because he says that she tries to CONTROL everything. And he is far more attracted to Elizabeth's lady in waiting, Bess (Abbie Cornish).
And we see again that Elizabeth has an illusion that she is the Anglican version of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is married to her country. When there is an assassination attempt, we even see Elizabeth in a striking prayerful pose similar to the Virgin Mary's.
While the historical facts may not be exactly right, the story is good but leads to the finale that we all learned in high school world history.
There are several special features that merit your attention on this DVD. The cinematography is beautiful, the costumes are exquisite, the music is wonderful, and the sets are beautiful--all worthy of a Queen. The special features explain all of this, and they are well worth watching.
This is not a bad movie--just one that is paler to the original.
Golden Sequel a bit Tarnished
This movie is absolutely full of itself, but with a subject like this, who can blame the studio? As a sworn Anglophile, I bought this almost BEFORE it came out. I was a bit disappointed after my first viewing. It lacks the delicacy of the original ELIZABETH, but I'll bet old Liz herself wasn't that delicate in middle age.
The plot was heavy-handed, and the agony Elizabeth suffered over the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, was a bit over the top. Incidentally, Samantha Morton outdid herself with the portrayal of the latter monarch.
Clive Owen looks absolutely dashing as Sir Walter Raleigh, but his performance was a bit "wooden," with overtones of Errol Flynn. He seems to follow no court etiquette in a time when etiquette was all.
I must commend the production for the wonderful battle scenes with ships modeled on the period. The defeat of the Spanish Armada could be lifted from this movie and presented to European history classes, it's so authentic. These scenes alone (and the costumes) are worth the price of the dvd.
Overall, I would recommend this film. It isn't as well written as the first ELIZABETH, and some of the directing is absolutely baffling (why shoot the dying Wolsingham (even for a second) through the stone cutwork in the nearby wall?), but Cate Blanchett is dazzling and fills out the armor well.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
A MUST SEE MOVIE
Overall I enjoyed the movie. There have been too many recent films about the Tudors and Elizabeth in particular, but this film looks good and it keeps you entertained. It's set at the time of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Elizabeth is shown as tough, smart, and married to her country. She also suffers from bouts of insecurity and irrational jealousies. This film is more hagiographic and melodramatic than its predecessor.
The film tends to ignore the facts when they get in the way of the story. Elizabeth was 55 at the time of the Spanish Armada and she was never a looker. Blanchett's Queen is youngish and attractive. Blanchett's acting performance is powerful and impressive but also a bit stagy. The way the politics of the time are depicted is a bit too black and white. The Spanish look grim and are dressed in dark colors. They are portrayed as crazy, religious zealots. Spain had a right to be upset at English privateers / pirates who attacked their ships and stole their gold. Mary, Queen of Scots is shown as a dowdy, schemer who disliked Elizabeth. The reality was that Mary was a pretty bimbo who made bad choices when it came to men.
Parts of the film veer too much towards soap-opera. Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen)becomes a favorite, but when Bess Throckmorton, one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting and Raleigh get secretly married, Elizabeth becomes jealous and behaves badly. Later, Raleigh and Francis Drake are shown defeating the Spanish at sea. In reality Raleigh was looking after the coastal defenses in the South West of England and didn't marry Throckmorton until 1591. The real Raleigh was a brilliant man: soldier, explorer, writer, poet and courtier and probably deserves his own film. The film is good fun but it's simplistic, cartoon history.
A MUST SEE MOVIE
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2008, DVD)
Cinema's fascination with The Virgin Queen continues unabated, with the key principals from 1998's surprise hit Elizabeth - writer Michael Hirst, director Shekhar Kapur and Aussie stars Geoffrey Rush and Cate Blanchett - all back for this follow up. However it's hard to envisage the same royal approval this time out. Pitched as the equivalent to a bodice-ripping, overripe soap opera rather than anything more exacting, Elizabeth: The Golden Age (aka Elizabeth II) will need more than God to save her from a lacklustre reception.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.