Thursday, October 18, 2007

Elizabeth: The Golden Age review

Elizabeth: The Golden Age
**** out of five
Directed by Shekhar Kapur
Starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, and Clive Owen
Don’t you hate it when you see a preview that makes the movie look great, so you see it, only to be disappointed? Thus is the case with Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Don’t get me wrong. This is an excellent, four-star movie. But those artisans who made the trailer managed to make it look even better than it already is.
Mainly because they made the battle scenes look like they would be more prominent. I sat in the theater for two hours waiting to see some fights, only to get about five minutes’ worth at the very end of the movie. Unfortunately, Elizabeth: The Golden Age is a drama, not the action movie it could have been.
After all, this is a movie about the role of Queen Elizabeth I, played by Cate Blanchett, in the Anglo-Spanish War. Whoa, what? I’ll explain, since I’m that nice. This movie takes place in 1585. Elizabeth, a Protestant, was challenged by King Philip II of Spain, a Catholic. Spain, the most powerful country in Europe, had a powerful army and an armada that dominated the sea. Philip was determined to make England Catholic. Both sides got ready for war.
Man, wouldn’t this have been a great action movie? But that’s okay. Instead they made a decent drama. This isn’t low-budget fare. Take one look at the costumes, makeup, effects, and sets, and you’ll see how much money went into this thing. This is all for the better, though. The filmmakers did an excellent job re-creating 1585.
I wish I could heap as much praise on the screenwriting. The movie spends so much time building up a romance between Elizabeth and Sir Walter Raleigh, played by Clive Owen. You know, the guy who established the Roanoake colony and introduced tobacco to England and America. Not nearly as much time is given to the romance between Raleigh and Elizabeth Throckmorton, one of the queen’s maids of honor. So out of nowhere, somewhere in the second half of the movie, these two kiss, eventually getting married and having a kid. Eh? The film's strength is its spectacle, not its story. But it's still one of the better movies you'll watch in history class.

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