Monday, October 15, 2007

Review: Elizabeth: the Golden Age

A friend and regular reader of this blog recently commented to me that although they enjoy my reviews, I seem to like every single movie I see - they couldn't tell if I truly loved a movie or was merely luke-warm.

The reality is that I usually like EVERY movie I see. I guess it goes back to my awkward teen years - movies were my escape from my dull, everyday existence. In the confines of the movie theater, I could travel the world, meet interesting people, gaze upon beautiful men... And even now, that two hours in the theater is often the bright spot in my week, a chance to dream like I did when I was so much younger. I'd be hard pressed to tell you a movie I truly hated of late....let me work on that. In the meantime...

Today I saw Elizabeth: the Golden Age, a sequel to the 1998 film Elizabeth which first introduced the world to Cate Blanchette. She really has the character of England's first Queen Elizabeth down. She is exactly how I would envision her - and I've read a lot about Good Queen Bess (another hero of mine). Tough, strong, some feelings of doubt, a weakness for pretty men...

The plot is centered on Bess in her early 50s. Really beyond the "marriageable" age, but still being shopped around to various heads of state. There is the threat of Mary Queen of Scots - cousin to the Queen, next in line to the throne, and who has an enthusiastic following among the Catholics in England. Another fan: Phillip II of Spain, who still believes he can gain control of England. The various plot twists lead up to the disastrous attempt by Spain to invade with their Armada, which ended in a decisive English victory, and the beginnings of their Empire.

The soap opera-ish subplot deals with Elizabeth's infatuation with Sir Walter Raleigh, all of which is pretty much fictitious. Even as Bess becomes obsessed with him, he turns his eye to her ward and lady-in-waiting, Bess Throckmorton. It's a somewhat boring subplot, but it does allow one to enjoy this:

Yum. Clive Owen as Walter Raleigh. Lots of glamour shots of ol' Clive - as a matter of fact, there are a lot of "money" shots - Elizabeth standing on the cliffs of Dover, her gown wafting behind her in the wind, Clive hanging off of his ship's rigging, softly lit...

The costumes are fantastic! It's interesting how they match up the colors of the Queen and Bess until they start to drift apart - then the colors shift. In the beginning, Elizabeth wears bright, shiny colors - then as war clouds gather, her colors get darker and darker. The CGI effects are phenomenal, also. The shots of the Armada moving towards England are "way cool."

So, an enjoyable costume drama. Good performances. Compelling storyline. Do I recommend? Yes!



Blogger Redbeard76 said...

I can't wait to see this film (big surprise!), I'm glad you gave it a good review.

Go Sox! Do or die.

12:53 PM  

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