Movie #39: Elizabeth: The Golden Age

After The Other Boleyn Girl, I figured that I’d treat myself to a Tudor double-bill by watching Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the 2007 quasi-sequel to 1998’s Elizabeth. Both films feature Cate Blanchett in amazing performances as England’s “virgin queen” (and daughter, of course, of Anne Boleyn). While the first one was mostly about Elizabeth becoming the queen, this sequel features a more mature Elizabeth, facing opposition from the empire of Spain and her Catholic cousin Mary, Queen of Scots. There is also a romantic element in the dashing character of the explorer, Sir Walter Raleigh, played by Clive Owen (with an ill-fitting moustache and goatee — looked like he was in disguise or something). As much as I enjoyed the lavish sets, locations, and cinematography, this movie was a bit uneven. There were some dramatic tent-poles, such as a plot against Elizabeth’s life and the battle against the Spanish armada, but between those high points was a muddy script, made messier by the lacklustre romantic sub-plot with Raleigh. Nevertheless, the acting wasn’t too bad, especially Samantha Morton as Mary, and of course Blanchett. She can give one of the most regal performances, and still capture Elizabeth’s fierce fire. There was one exchange between Elizabeth and the ambassador of Spain where he warned her that the wind is coming, to which she responded: “I, too, can command the wind, sir! I have a hurricane in me that will strip Spain bare when you dare to try me!” I got shivers. [Since I watched this film and The Other Boleyn Girl so close together, I found it humourously distracting that the same actor (Eddie Redmayne) played Elizabeth’s would-be assassin and the husband of Mary Boleyn (i.e. Elizabeth’s uncle).] (3.5 out of 5)

39 down, 11 to go!

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