Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) Poster

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Good Fun but Flawed History
eastbergholt200216 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
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.
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Good costumer drama that takes a brilliant look at the turbulent life of famous Queen of England
ma-cortes23 March 2009
This is a sweeping chronicle of 16th-century English Queen from his splendor years . She's the Protestant Elizabeth , she was a brilliant stateswoman who managed to restore England to power and glory amidst public and private confusion . As are splendidly recreated wars , loves , turmoil and fight power of its time , including her troublesome days and machinations surrounding . It's magnificently captured by marvelous sets , splendid production design and glamorous gowns . This elaborate , colorful costumer drama packs outstanding performances from Cate Blanchet as an impulsive queen , Clive Owen as a dashing and arrogant commandant , besides a top-notch support cast giving strong acting , as the charismatic Geoffrey Rush as Sir Francis Walsingham , Samantha Morton , Jordi Molla , Rhys Ifans, Abbie Cornish , among them . The fine cast does quite well in historic setting . This interesting historical drama contains a wonderful cinematography that adds color to the atmosphere by Remi Adefarasin who photographed the previous part titled ¨Elizabeth¨ . Evocative and imaginative musical score fitting to the past time by Craig Armstrong . The motion picture was lavishly produced by Michael Hirst (The Tudor) and finely directed by Shakar Kapur, an Indian director , costumer expert (Elizabeth , Four feathers).

The picture talks about Mary Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton) , she and Elizabeth were rivals for power in Tudor England . The heathen Protestant Elizabeth dreads the prospect of the Catholic Mary about her ascending the English throne, leading to intrigue and divisiveness within the court. Then Mary was imprisoned by Elizabeth , who rightly feared Catholic plots to place Mary on the throne. Mary was guilty of plots complicity and was condemned death warrant . The film especially describes relations between Spain ruled by Philip II (Jordi Molla) and England at the breaking point . Spectacular battle scenes between the British Navy commanded by Duke of Effiham and Raleigh and the Spanish commanded by Duke of Medina Sidonia , it lasted ten days , during July 1588 . At the climax William Raleigh leads the attack on the Armada ships massed off the British coast .
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Flashy, disappointing sequel
Hancock_the_Superb22 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It is now 1588, and Queen Elizabeth I (Cate Blanchett) is no longer the fragile, naive young princess of England, but an accomplished monarch with a knack for public relations. England's empire is growing, and Elizabeth develops an attraction towards explorer Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen). But soon war looms as Spain's King Phillip II (Jordan Molla) threatens to invade England, and a cabal of Catholics led by the imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton) plots against the Queen's life. With the aid of Raleigh and aging spy-master Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush), Elizabeth confronts these foes and earns her place in history.

Shekhar Kapur's "Elizabeth" was a visually stunning, brilliantly acted, and extremely compelling film which depicted a young Princess forced by circumstances into one of the most delicate situations imaginable. The movie was gorgeous to behold in its art direction, cinematography and costumes, but also had an intriguing story and a very strong cast, headed by the brilliant Cate Blanchett. "Elizabeth: the Golden Age" has a lot to live up to, but surely the history behind the film would ensure an entertaining sequel about one of the history's most compelling individuals.

Unfortunately, 'twas not to be. "The Golden Age" is a very weak, disappointing sequel to a great film. The story plods, the characters become two-dimensional, and the impressive cinematography and visuals bog down rather than enhance the film. With all of the intriguing aspects of Elizabeth's reign, and the fact that director and star were back from the original, it's doubly disappointing.

Where shall we begin our criticism? The story, which is all over the place. The original film has a multi-faceted plot, but all of the characters and actions tie together with consummate skill. Here, the various intrigues and plots are introduced incrementally; we don't even know who the English Catholics are until well into the film, and their relation to the plot, despite a lengthy introductory scene. "Golden Age"'s various subplots cease to be layered and interesting and simply become a great big muddle.

Another huge criticism of the film is its characterization of historical personages, notably the Spanish. Elizabeth's portrayal is spot-on, but otherwise? King Phillip in particular is a hateful stereotype; most of his dialog is pronouncing Elizabeth as evil, even saying at one point "Elizabeth is the darkness, I am the light." He might as well twirl his mustache and laugh maniacally a la Snidley Whiplash. Mary Queen of Scots is the only villain who comes across as remotely human, and even she is hurt by very little screen time. The film makes very little of Mary herself, relegating her and the other supporting characters to the background, choosing to focus on a ridiculously overwrought, historically-improbable love triangle between Elizabeth, Raleigh, and Elizabeth's servant (Abbie Cornish).

All this might have been forgivable if the movie had delivered on its promise of a rip-roaring climax. Throughout the film's length we are impressed upon of the Spanish Armada's vast size and perceived invincibility. We see epic CGI shots of the fleet setting sail. We hear Elizabeth's ministers portentously pronouncing the Spanish as unstoppable. We get Elizabeth's rousing speech to the troops in full battle armor. And the payoff for all this build-up is... nothing. A few brief CGI shots of ships in battle, and an oh-so-fancy shot of a single horse swimming through the wreckage of a sinking Spanish ship. Pathetic, and unforgivable. I wasn't expecting a Rambo film but I was expecting a scene that made all of the dread mutterings of the past two and a half hours worthwhile.

The movie is as visually splendid as any you'd care to name. The use of imaginative lighting, costumes, and art direction is simply a site to behold. The film reaches its high point during an abortive attempt on the Queen's life, when her would-be assassin pronounces her a "whore" - followed by a shot of Elizabeth, dressed in white with immaculate sunlight streaming down around her. This scene is absolutely stunning, but it is also indicative of the film's basic problem. All of the interest is in the visuals and costumes, and there is no real substance to them.

The movie has one major redeeming factor, and that's Cate Blanchett. Blanchett is a brilliant Elizabeth, showing her to be a great leader, but also a desperately lonely woman whose best asset is her PR abilities. The supporting cast is woefully under-used, particularly Geoffrey Rush. In the original, Rush's Walsingham was an intriguing, slippery character. In this film, his contribution is to sit in the background and mumble a portentous line every once in awhile. The rest of the cast, except Samantha Morton, is unexceptional, through no fault of their own.

"Elizabeth: the Golden Age" should have been a great follow-up to a great film. With a talented director, an amazing lead performance, and one of the most compelling chapters in history, "Golden Age" should have been something special. Unfortunately, it is nothing more than a big, shiny, leaden disappointment.

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A Huge Opportunity for Greatness …is Missed
MistinParadise15 October 2007
With a dream cast, a fascinating subject, and a budget larger than a pirate's booty, this film could have been great. But the chance is missed.

(Pros:) The cast is definitely the film's biggest asset. Cate Blanchett is incredibly brilliant even at times that the script fails to provide her with a worthy line. Her powerful performance is utterly captivating. Clive Owen's Walter Raleigh is as dashing as a man can be. As the man who charmed the Queen out of her heart and wits and dared to tell her not to act like a fool, Owen's Raleigh is daring at times, vulnerable at others, but always compelling and spectacular. Geoffrey Rush makes the best out of the very little that he's given to work with and Abbie Cornish and Samantha Morton are each great in their parts.

It's also worth a mention that the costumes and the locations are spectacular, paired with a few moments of good story-telling (only if those moments would last all through the film) they make a few absolutely extraordinary scenes. Another great characteristic of this film is it's subtlety, the emotions that are there yet not talked about, the wishes, feelings, disappointments, desires, and fears that are only hinted are the best parts of an otherwise disappointing story-telling.

(Cons:) Sloppy editing, campy scenes, and poor writing are what mostly hurts the film. Unfortunately the film's precious time is spent on side-stories that could have easily been discarded, and consequentially, not enough time is spent on the development of the main story. Everything that happens after Sir Walter meets Elizabeth seems forced. Vague at times, the film seems to be in rush to hit certain notes at certain times. Elizabeth meets Walter and a few lines later she's mad about him, so is Bess and so on. The audience is not given the chance to feel or take in what's really happening, not even enough time to get to know the characters let alone feel what they are going through. At times, it seemed as though many of the scenes were cut short in the editing room and had lost their essence in the process. (If that's the case, lets hope the DVD includes the director's cut.)

The film could have benefited from more climax and action (the battle is barely touched), (other than a few great scenes) most of the story is told through conversations in closed areas. More than anything, the writers leaned on poetic lines to deliver their story. Also, for all it's subtlety, the film takes sides so obviously that it hurts any chances it had at reaching some level of realism or fairness. For instance, not only Phillip of Spain is utterly evil, he's one ridiculous, petty, dim character.

Overall, the cast certainly makes the experience worthwhile, and as long as one does not expect absolute greatness or historical accuracy, this film can be great entertainment for most.
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Cate Blanchett shines in biographical drama; some fiction added to the events
MartianOctocretr520 October 2007
Cate Blanchett reprises her role as the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I, and is the film's greatest highlight. She exudes power, strength and influence in portraying the 16th century monarch. Her commanding presence on the screen really gives the majestic qualities that the real queen certainly had. At the same time, she gives us a personal glance inside the woman's heart, where she has suppressed from public view an inner vulnerability and melancholy. Elizabeth certainly endured many sorrows, and this portrayal gives us a glance inside the woman's who carried all this upon her shoulders, and is credited with raising England to prominent status on the world stage.

In addition to Blanchett, the supporting cast all turn in superior work. The sets, costuming, and period speech are all mastered well, creating a true feel for the era being depicted. Although many of the people and events are real, a few liberties have been taken apparently to spice up the drama. Such fictionalizing probably wasn't necessary; enough happened during this queen's rule to make the story interesting without it. One example: the flashy Sir Walter Raleigh was indeed a favorite of the queen, but this movie puts them in a romantic triangle that just gets in the way of other things going on. Also, Raleigh, better known as an explorer, was not the hero in the battle with the Spanish Armada.

Blanchett shines when she delivers the famous speech to the troops on the eve of the Spanish invasion. But even she is burdened by the director's preoccupation with Elizabeth as a suffering angst-filled woman facing middle-age with less bravery than facing the world's most powerful fleet at that time. We get endless views of her taking her wig off in secret, and staring at a mirror. The first time this device is used is fine to get the point across of her hopeless situation of never taking a husband (and the slow advance of time having its way), but we see her looking like a shriveled ghost in too many such scenes, and it's way overdone in this context. Her "real" hair sans the wig looks like an inebriated Edward Scissorhands was her hairdresser, and her pale complexion looks like somebody pasted white-out all over her face.

Those few mistakes notwithstanding, this is a fine biopic with superior acting by Blanchett, and is recommended.
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The Virgin Queen Redux in an Odd Mix of Old-Fashioned Melodrama and Romance Novel
EUyeshima5 March 2008
There is something stubbornly old-fashioned about Shekhar Kapur's 2007 sequel to his 1998 art-house triumph, "Elizabeth". I don't mean the newer movie is a stodgy historical pageant. Far from it, all the production values are first-rate, including a relatively seamless use of CGI in the Spanish Armada sequence, but beyond all the pomp and circumstance, the mindset of the story is pure 1940's-era studio melodrama. Set in 1585, the film picks up the Queen's life a quarter century after the first film, and what follows in the strangely cautious screenplay by Michael Hirst and William Nicholson is a simplistic portrait of an aging, superstitious woman aware of her power but ironically at a loss to define her own fate. This period of her life is familiar from a number of previous films and miniseries, but this time, the psychological complexity behind such a fascinating historical figure has been downgraded in favor of romance novel plot turns and paper-thin character development.

The set-up is rich with possibilities only partially realized on screen. Protestant England is on its knees, as Roman Catholic Spain has become Europe's most powerful country. Now in her early fifties, Elizabeth is vulnerable since Phillip II of Spain is intent on conquering England and especially because she has not married and produced an heir. Next in line is her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, a devout Roman Catholic imprisoned in a castle in Northamptonshire. Elizabeth has proved to be a tolerant ruler as she allows her country's Roman Catholics to maintain their religious beliefs, even though they see Mary as the only rightful Queen. In the meantime, Sir Walter Raleigh has just returned from the New World and stimulated Elizabeth's passion for adventure and her long-dormant desire for romance. Complicating matters is Elizabeth's devoted lady-in-waiting, Bess, a comely beauty who attracts Raleigh's attention. Just as this standard triangle is established, there is a threat on Elizabeth's life known historically as the Babington Plot. Mary is beheaded for her connection to the plot, which gives Philip free rein to gain the Pope's approval to attack England. Elizabeth inspires her troops to face off with the much larger Spanish Armada, and the rest, as they say, is history.

It's no surprise that Cate Blanchett commands the screen in the title role and does her best to fill in the blanks left by the routine script. She manages to imbue the Queen with a hidden vulnerability at which comparatively imperious predecessors like Bette Davis and Glenda Jackson merely hint. The one drawback is that she is too young for the role, a point emphasized by the periodic and somewhat conceited use of flashbacks from the previous film in which her appearance has not changed significantly despite the make-up. Geoffrey Rush returns from the first film as Elizabeth's adviser, Sir Francis Walsingham, but he has less to do this time. As Raleigh, Clive Owen has no problem playing a dashing figure, but he seems more like a romantic's fabrication of what a bodice-ripping swashbuckler should be. Speaking with a strange burr, Samantha Morton has precious few scenes as the fanatical but forgiving Mary, and her pouty face and petulant manner seem at odds with previous characterizations. As Philip, Jordi Mollà is forced to play the king as a religious zealot, while Abbie Cornish's Bess strikes me as far too contemporary in manner to be credible as a lady-in-waiting, especially with the ongoing hints of lesbianism and a soft porn-like lovemaking scene with Raleigh.

Guy Dyas' production design, Alexandra Byrne's costumes and Remi Adefarasin's cinematography are all impressive in their splendor and meticulous detail, though I found the music by Craig Armstrong and A.R. Rahman far too intrusive. There are several extras with the 2008 DVD release starting with Kapur's commentary track, often insightful but excessively verbose. An eleven-minute making-of featurette is included, of course, but it is pretty standard with plenty of now-and-then comparisons with the 1998 film. Three other shorts are included – one on Dyas' intensive work on the production design, one on the recreation of the climactic battle with a mix of ship replicas and CGI, and one on the actual locations used for the filming. There are nine minutes of deleted and extended scenes including one that too-realistically shows Mary's decapitated head. None of these extras helps make the experience of watching this film any more involving.
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Ambitious period film.
Blueghost16 October 2007
I hadn't heard too much about this film, but had seen the posters for it, so I gave it a shot. And after leaving the theatre I really wasn't sure what to say about it.

There's a lot of good stuff in this film, but there're some pitfalls as well. On the plus side the sets and costumes are magnificent. A great deal of care and love when into the art direction to bring us an Elizabethan renaissance film, replete with court intrigue and foreign emissaries who threaten invasion because of high seas thievery courtesy Clive Owen's character. Visually this film is very lush and impressive, though somewhat confining at times. We're never really shown Elizabethan England, just the "important parts" that are salient to the story.

And, as Elizabeth's favorite playwright would say, "there's the rub". And by this I mean that the film is a bit all over the place. It's a costume drama, it's a romance, it's a period political thriller, it's a military epic, and so forth. It even skids the fantasy genre with some of the fancy camera work that was done. But, all in all, the film's primary thrust is to try and grab hold of all of these genres, and tie them together into some kind of cohesive and suscint manner.

The romance, the intrigue, the sisterly emotions, the rivalry between matriarchs, and the "battle scene" hearken back to a time when Hollywood used to crank out these kinds of movies with some regularity. But the context between those films and "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" are nearly day and night, even though both are striving for a high water mark in historical drama.

I thought "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" was technically a competent production. In fact, given the difficulties there must have been getting some of the shots I'll give it high marks as a pure production effort. But as a film I simply found it to be a touch too ambitious, and over-indulgent near the end.

That's not to say that I didn't enjoy a lot of the film, because I did. Blanchet's Elizabeth is a strong woman; full of zest, energy, and a bit of anger, which she levels at her adversaries. But she's also a chief of state, internationalist, and, of course, the queen of England. She doesn't wear several hats. She wears a crown. But even so, and this is where the film falls a bit short, she doesn't demonstrate a cohesive ability to command all. She shows she's in charge, but doesn't act like she's in charge until near the end.

The film was geared and aimed at a female audience (a thing which I had not expected), and so a lot of the energy is directed at that audience, with the appropriate emotional flourishes. Combined with some so-so CGI for the action sequences (and a horse with a perm which almost had me laughing), one wonders where the film was headed. Elizabeth didn't save England with her emotional power alone, and yet this is the gist of the film. It's a real let down in this regard.

The film is a mixed blessing. There's a lot of decent acting, and some exceptional performances by the leads. Married to a rather extravagant art director to bring to life palace, throne room, chambers, and galleons at sea, and one can easily see that this was meant to be a top notch production. But some of the logical loopholes where Blanchet's character is concerned conspire with some of the story loopholes to hold back a better film.

As a guy all I can say is that it's not something I'd watch again, and I'm not too sure I'd recommend it to any female audiences. But, if you don't mind your period dramas skirting the edge of high kamp, then splurge on a ticket, and see what "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" is all about.
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Cate Blanchett is the definitive Elizabeth, and she proved it in the first film
Nazi_Fighter_David15 March 2009
"Elizabeth," the first film, was about a young woman coming to the throne in a period of great turmoil, and how she dealt with that… It was love in the context of power, betrayal, and survival…

In "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," we're dealing with the most famous aspects of her regime, the Spanish Armada, the Babington Plot, which was a major plot against her, and Walter Raleigh bringing back the very early understanding of the New World, and the horizons beyond Britain… It is the exploration of unrestricted power…

Elizabeth, as cultured and as intelligent and eloquent as she was, had never left the shores of England… And into her court, strides an explorer who has literally been where the maps end… The gallant Raleigh (Clive Owen) was a free spirit who thrills the queen with his tales and discoveries at sea … The classic 16th-century adventurer who doesn't play by any official rules, and he does bring into the world of the court something very alluring, enigmatic and charismatic, which has a big impact on the queen…

The relationship between Raleigh and Elizabeth was very complicated… There were things holding Elizabeth back… "We mortals have many weaknesses; we feel too much, hurt too much or too soon we die, but we do have the chance of love." These words were spoken by Sir Walter Raleigh to the Virgin Quenn…It's very rare that the Queen takes interest in a man, and she does…

At this special point, England was very weak militarily… Elizabeth had discharged the navy… And once again it was the old problem of religious instability, which harasses the human race frequently…

Anybody that's interested in this period of history will find it fascinating just how capable Elizabeth was in regards to how she dealt with the captive Queen of Scots…

Mary Stuart (Samantha Morton) had great respect for the Protestant Elizabeth, and was remarkably intrigued by her, and desperate to meet her, and fascinated… For several years Elizabeth suffered about her execution because she really believed two things… She believed that any queen was divine… She accepted as true that her Catholic cousin was there by the will of God, and therefore, Mary was there by the will of God… And in executing Mary, she would disintegrate her one belief that she herself was divine…

Mary found it in death… Elizabeth had to find it in life… So if you look at the Armada, Elizabeth finally does become divine, and that's why we had to admire how the scene of the Armada is shot, by Shekhar Kapur, in that way… It's not actually a fiery sea battle between two countries… It's a 'Holy War' with Spain… Therefore, the defining moments of the Armada is when Elizabeth walks up across the verdant cliffs in flowing white nightgown… She's no longer the Avenging Queen… She's instead a supernatural being, a disembodied soul defeating the enemy, dominating the fearless of the waves, the force of the storm, and the strength of fire…

Dripping with intrigues, plots, battles, mysteries, and strong emotions, the film captured the ecclesiastical spaces of the cathedrals to look more like a palace environment… It also captured the feel of the16th century architecture, linking and matching it to the proper locations
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A fairy tale about the "Faerie Queene"? I love it!
janyeap10 October 2007
Another Elizabeth I film? Why not? The Elizabethan Era's, indeed, a fascinating periods in English history - an era when England was relatively well off compared to other nations – even if its wealth was unevenly distributed!

Director Kapur interestingly puts dramatic and chilling appeal and emphasis on Elizabeth's Golden Age to reveal her personality and struggles to keep her throne and save her country from falling into the hands of conspirators and invaders. Does he give his audience any insight into the Golden Age when English Literature, poetry, music, theater, architecture, scientific and technological advancement, and exploration expansion flourished? Nope. His film does offer some interesting hints that women did enjoy the freedom of movement (ah ha, even a queen's closest and dearest lady-in-waiting could play cuckold to her mistress' favorite man!) and that competing interests and ambitions of colonial powers made it easy for ambitious sailors to legalize acts of piracy! Serious crimes could well resort in severe tortures. Director Kapur does stress that she was the "peoples" queen!

The story continues from where Cate Blanchett's young, flighty, and reckless Elizabeth made her finale masculine-like entrance in the prequel, "Elizabeth", as the Virgin Queen with her face heavily laced with the 'white-as-milke' make-up - an image of a queen ready to lead her citizens.

At a deliberate slow pacing, the introduction with its scenes, characters and their dialog prepare the audience to receive Elizabeth as the Queen with a more focused, more rigid personality, in charge of hers and her country's destinies. Yep, a woman with ready suitors, but offering a sense that she is wedded to her Empire! She seems very philosophical in her ideals and yet we see her court filled with sorts of political characters. Elizabeth, then, is seen with roving eyes, easily distracted by the presence of attractive men. Indeed, it's a crafty way to introduce Elizabeth before Director Kapur plunges his audience into a compelling tale of treachery, assassination attempts and romance that affects the Virgin Queen during her reign.

The film carries a mix of intriguing historical facts, legends and myths in ways that one can only expect history teachers of English public schools to apply to make their lessons interesting, or hear from gossipy English peers, from history classes, wanting to impress their friends with stranger-than-fiction tidbits and hearsay of those times. This film does promise a refreshing tale to grasp! There are those tongue-in-cheek whims and antics that mischievously provoke thoughts of the political and religious changing tides of modern times. Director Kapur has certainly avoided the creation of a history epic, based on dull, dry substance!

Blanchett is magnificent in her strange, enigmatic and multi-dimensional character, constantly faced with the challenges of her foes plotting and counter-plotting to take her down at her Court, in her government, and, from foreign lands. She's seen as almost as a brutal ruler at times and on her consistent guard in her determination to hold on to her throne, alternating between her seemingly vicious whims, her heroism and tangled romantic emotions! Yet, she comes off gracefully as a person who has the heart to forgive. Oh yes, there's also that scene that prompts me to think of Joan of Arc! It's not hard to want to cheer for the Queen in her determination to fight against the religious intolerance, barbarism and fundamentalism of the Spanish Inquisition. Spain was a very powerful Catholic foe and the Church did try to destroy this Protestant Queen and to restore England back to Catholism!

The battle in the calm-to-storm scene is exhilarating to watch. We also witness her struggles in her attempt to balance her duties to her country and her vulnerability to infatuation and tempestuous relationship. Clive Owens superbly handles his role as the dashing Walter Raleigh – indeed, one of the most colorful and controversial character of the times and of whom English history has spun numerous tales about. This film also charts Raleigh's colonizing dreams, his involvement in a love triangle, his sweeping in and out of the Queen's favor and his immense dislike for Catholics - that did historically determine his fate beyond this film's exposure. Geoffrey Rush returns as the loyal and polished spy master, Sir Walsingham and historically seen as the man who attracted conspiracy theories. Hhhmh, was he responsible for the birth of modern espionage? He's truly fascinating to watch. This film has a great stellar cast of actors who don't disappoint. There's so much on-screen chemistry oozing out between characters in this film. Oh yes, the villains are so agitating and annoying to the core.

The background music soundtracks come across as dramatically bold and nail-biting, poignant at times, and emotionally mystifying at others- appropriately matching the many guises, moods and whims of the Virgin Queen – the cold and strong and always majestic personality vs .her sentimentally vulnerable images - and also effectively reinforce the moments of gripping horrors of the events witnessed or felt. The sounds do have an interesting mix. Some of the scenes really deliver visual cinematic effects that remind me of the paintings of the period. The somber settings work beautifully to support and give intensity to the horrifying scenes and moments. Just love the way the sets and backgrounds are crafted to avoid overshadowing the characters. Oh yes, I love the color schemes presented in this movie to bring credibility to the scenes! The naval battle and Sir Walters' underwater escapade are so fabulously and stunningly crafted - without going over-the-board with extreme flashy special effects and colors to highlight the events.

I was captivated from beginning to end. Oh yes, this film does entertain, sending me on a delightfully exciting spell-bound journey in my attempt to separate legend and myths from historical facts. Oh yes, this film will make English history fun to browse all over again. Yep, I was absolutely entertained!!!
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Elizabeth: Die Hard With a Vengeance
bbrown887013 October 2007
This rates as high as it does for me because of the cinematography. It is dazzling and Blanchett can't be denied, but "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" is like a chick-flick with explosions plus costumes, super hair, and loud, intrusive music. The result is faux epic.

My wife summed it up well as we left the theater: "I feel like I've just flipped through a coffee table picture book for two hours and somebody turned up the stereo." History wrote this plot but Nicholson and Hirst thought they could do better. They couldn't, or certainly didn't. Freshmen composition classes come up with better stuff. Trite, forced, predictable. Did they even run this by an expert in English history? You gotta wonder. The script is oozing with 21st century mores and clichés. It made me think (during the movie, mind you) of the way Dutch painters depicted Homer and Aristotle in the garb of 17th century Holland. Are we that dumb? Sir Walter Raleigh is a caricature and Sir Francis Drake, never properly introduced, was a throwaway. Geoffrey Rush is wasted as Walsingham. Come to think of it, nearly everybody is wasted. Every single character is underdeveloped, with the possible exception of the title character—possible exception.

"Golden Age" set the target high and then turned and fired in the opposite direction. Realizing the script had missed, Director tried to make up for it with window dressing. Substance would have served this queen better. With the colon in the title, I almost expected to see Bruce Willis saving the day.

You can see why "Golden Age" came out in October because it's not going to compete for Oscars in categories that anybody cares about. With all the budget they had for this movie, you'd Universal could have found better writers.
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wj200720 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The cast is wonderful, some of the scenes are well done, but alas, the movie takes significant liberties with history and leaves out some of the most dramatic pieces of the story.

I find it incomprehensible how anyone could make a movie dealing with Elizabeth and the defeat of the Armada and omit the core of her famous speech to the English army at Tilbury, namely the line "I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a King, and of a King of England too!" Everyone familiar with the story is sitting waiting for Elizabeth to deliver that line, one of the greatest inspirational speeches in British history. It ought be the dramatic highlight of the movie. However, alas, it is not there. How can a screen writer not use such material?

Perhaps as bad is the role that the movie assigns Raleigh in the defeat of the Spanish Armada. During the entire fight up the Channel, Raleigh was never at sea. His responsibilities were on the land, defending the coast of Devonshire. Placing him on a fire ship targeted at the anchored Spanish fleet is the purist fiction.

Other lesser omissions and errors could also be cited. The result is to leave this viewer disappointed.
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Grand cinematic style but overall a disappointment
Viert19 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
We had been looking forward to seeing this film - and made a point of re-watching the original 'Elizabeth' from 1998 a week before making the trip to the theater.

I will say that this film is technically beautiful in the grand cinematic style which was once associated with the epic films from the bygone era of the Hollywood studios with it's fantastic costuming and sets.

But - I am sad to say that this film was a disappointment. It suffers from numerous over-dramatic sequences which rely much too heavily on symbolism. After all, how many times & ways should one be forced to view Cate Blanchett posed in an angelic persona?

Unfortunately, as one sits through this film, one must wonder what the writers & director were thinking. It is obvious that someone was unsure of which direction(s) they wished to steer this film toward - romance, war epic, drama,etc.

The awkwardness of this film projected a feeling that various pages of the script must have been stuck together as it continues along - giving it a feel that can only be described as disjointed and forced.

The problems with this film seem to be caused by a combination of a weak script, bad direction, and bad editing which resulted in this short-changed follow-up to the well-done original 1998 epic of 'Elizabeth'.

Cate Blanchett and the entire cast are good actors & do not disappoint in their character portrayals. But sadly, this film was not up to the performances of these fine actors and we left the theater wondering why the director, the editors, and screenwriters all failed to do their jobs.
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Loved the costumes, hated the rest
dbogosian-123 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
For sheer sartorial splendor, this movie is unbeatable. But the raves end at the costume department: everything else about this movie is awful. I so loved the first "Elizabeth" that I was ready to love the sequel, but it was a complete disappointment.

Blanchett's acting is good enough, but none of her supporting cast do much more than deliver wooden lines with no sentiment. Rush, who was such a powerful figure in the earlier movie, is not much more than window dressing here. He has little to say, little to do, and adds no drama to the story. Owen is stiff and unconvincing. Perhaps the best is the Spanish king who at least is interesting. Or maybe Tom Hollander as Mary's jailer: he has only a few lines but he delivers them with intensity and makes them count. The rest seem to have had a really bad time of it.

And as with most lousy movies, this one dies because of its story, or lack thereof. The script has a mix of equal parts love, family, jealousy, religion, politics, intrigue, militaria, and does none of them justice. The battle scenes look phony and unconvincing; there is the hackneyed scene of the great speech before the big battle, but the battle never happens. The love stories are never convincing (neither one of them), and we never sympathize with either of the heroines. There is some smattering of religious thought thrown in, along with anachronistic sentiments of freedom triumphing over the inquisition, but the real issues (Catholicism vs. Protestantism) are never touched upon. One might think love of one's native land would be a theme in such a picture, but it's hardly even mentioned. There are so many minor subplots I can't even remember them all, and none of them amount to much of anything. Oh yes, Mary Queen of Scots, she makes a few cameo appearances as well, and we spend many minutes in lurid anticipation of her beheading, but then that too seems to have no connection with anything else.

Seems like the director/screenwriter couldn't choose which story they wanted to dramatize, so they tried to dramatize all five at once and ended up with a pointless hodge-podge.

I hate to admit it, but I was ready to walk out about halfway through but was too embarrassed. This from a guy who loves historical period films and who has the original "Elizabeth" near the top of the all-time list. Apparently the genius of the first film has completely eluded the makers of the second.

I give it 3/10.
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Cate Blanchett is wonderful
PWNYCNY12 October 2007
This movie approaches the brink of becoming another corny, hokey Hollywood travesty but recovers to become an incredibly powerful and unique portrayal of Elizabeth I and her closest advisers and the political situation in Western Europe in the late 16th century. Cate Blanchett offers a masterful, powerful and provocative portrayal of the Virgin Queen which unlike most Hollywood portrayals of historical personages does not devolve into a laughable caricature. Elizabeth has feelings too and cares about ALL of her people, not just those who are of her religious persuasion. Also, the movie offers a credible portrayal of Elizabeth's relationship with her cousin Mary as well as a credible and comprehensible explanation of King Philip's decision to go to war against England. Whether Spain in 1585 was the most powerful country in the world as the movie purports is a matter for debate but the fact that there was a time in history when Spain actually wanted to invade England is amazing and is a story in itself. This movie is worth watching.
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Could be better
Samwise772 January 2008
Well, the story is interesting and Cate Blanchett play her role very good, but the story is stretched and at the end when Spain attacks with its armada is quickly finishes end the attack scene is really short.

They could have made this a spectacular movie, nice story, great costumes. But after the first 45 minutes it get boring and you ask yourself why. Then towards the end i hoped to see a great battle at sea, but it didn't happen.

The movie is watchable but don't expect too much.

It might be wiser to rent this one on DVD instead of going to the movies.
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Fabricated claptrap!
micrologia15 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The producers of this film took one of the most dramatic moments in English history and turned it into a beautifully costumed and artistic piece of garbage. Having seen Helen Mirren's version, this one pales in all categories-drama, plot, dialog, history and actors. With the rich history of record and the countless rumors from the period, the producers decided to make up their own out of whole cloth! Sir Francis Drake gets maybe a dozen words, and the Armada facts are turned upside down. I don't recall the English losing a single ship, and the Spanish only a few-and though the fire ships will wreak havoc on the Armada, it will come about as they travel home-not as in the film in a giant conflagration. But then, the focus was to make a fairy tale. And, interestingly, not the fairy tale of English legend, "God blew and they were scattered." Instead, the fairy tale is of high school melodrama.
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An Adult Popcorn Movie
brenttraft12 October 2007
Don't believe the poor reviews "Elizebeth: The Golden Age" has received.

While it may be true the film is not historically correct, most of us do not go to the movies for a history lesson. We go to be entertained. On that basis, this film is a winner. It has romance, intrigue and betrayal. It is basically a melodrama.

The photography is great, although sometimes the director gets carried away with the camera movements. The orchestral score in fine, although it is overwhelming at times. The acting is absolutely first rate.

I thought that "Elizebeth: The Golden Age" was more entertaining than any of the "Pirates of the Carribian" movies. If you want an entertaining movie that is geared more towards adults than children, then you should check the movie out.
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a disappointment
Harker2072 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The film was definitely beautifully shot and Cate Blanchett is, as always, wonderful. Technically, the sets and costumes were great, but as a previous commenter said, the love triangle was tedious and I felt the film relied too heavily on grand sweeping shots flooded with choral music, that dragged things down immensely.

Thematically, the film suffered for a number of reasons. In this day and age of religious strife, to pit Elizabeth, the white English Protestant who supposedly (in the film) supports freedom of belief (nothing could be further from the historical truth) against the swarthier, Arabic looking religious fundamentalist Philip of Spain (note: his Arabic appearance is historically accurate, but still) creates an uncomfortably clear reductionist parallel to modern conflicts that detracts from the film. Philip giggles like a madman the whole time, clutching his Bible.

Moreover, in attempting to make Elizabeth an accessible woman, the film focuses so much on her 'feminine vulnerabilities' and need for love that it drains her of the power and political astuteness that marked one of the greatest leaders, male or female, that the world has ever known. Elizabeth I was a POWERFUL POLITICIAN, not a giggling girl simpering at the feet of a man.

When the film focuses on the political intrigues and the decisive destruction of the Spanish Armada, it shines. When it focuses on the love triangle and reductionist religious fundamentalism, it fails. Sadly, so much of the film focuses on the latter that it is a trial to make it through the two hours.
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Majestic Storytelling
aharmas1 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Most of the time it's the casting that makes a film and keeps us coming back for more. This is the case for "The Golden Age", the sequel to "Elizabeth", a film that turned Cate Blanchett into a star, introducing her considerable talents to the masses. In "The Golden Age", Blanchett is given more screen time and the opportunity to show the range she is capable of, giving us a portrayal that is complex, rich, exquisite, and ultimately glorious.

As a matter of fact, it's hard to imagine anyone else, having the power this actress is capable of showing on screen. She carries the film, and it's her ability to interact with such varied characters that gives the film its strength. It all depends on the chemistry between her and the talented actors that support her, particularly, Clive Owen's rogue pirate.

"The Golden Age" depicts another critical moment in the life of the Virgin Queen, as she must find the strength in herself to gather the support and strength she needs to save England from a brutal military attack by the Spanish Armada, the most powerful navy at the time. Elizabeth must deal with family issues, ethical issues, sentimental turmoil, another self-confidence crisis, and much more intrigue and attacks from both the Spaniards and their supporters on both sides of the ocean.

There are scenes in this film that will be remembered as perfect examples of what cinema can achieve, as the camera frames key characters during critical times in the story... Most impressive are all the scenes in which Cate participates, as she is able to show the amazing nature of a woman who endured much criticism and political turmoil and eventually transformed herself and her nation into one of the most powerful empires in the world.

There are interesting analogies in the film, particularly as Elizabeth adopts one life over another and allows her spirit to soar, vanquishing any negative impulses and nurture the surrogate child that her country becomes. According to the film, she finds herself incapable of finding an equal mate because of special circumstances, and then she rediscovers the strength that she has always possessed and turns into the leader everyone will respect, follow, and somehow adore.

"The Golden Age" is a very handsome film, with superb production, and some spectacular costumes, exquisitely worn by Ms. Blanchett. It's definitely on its way to becoming a classic, a proud example of what some might call an intimate epic.
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Walter Raleigh, or was it Errol Flynn
Moragandjim585 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Utter tripe. While I wasn't expecting a documentary, surely the film makers could have kept the storyline a little more plausible. Sir Walter Raleigh, played ineffectually by Clive Owen, is depicted as an Errol Flynn type swashbuckler who personally sailed a fireship into the heart of the Spanish armada before diving overboard and swimming under the flaming aftermath to safety. It couldn't have been any worse if they had put a cutlass between his teeth and had a parrot on his shoulder. I half expected Captain Jack Sparrow to put in an appearance as well. Sir Francis Drake was relegated to one sentence of dialogue, and then only to egg on Raleigh, who in reality wasn't even on a ship at the time of the main conflict.

Mary Queen of Scots had the worst Scottish accent since Mel Gibsons portrayal of William Wallace. Francis Walsingham is portrayed somewhat woodenly by Geoffrey Rush, who seemed to be going through the motions and portrayed a character who ended up as menacing as a rather sleepy sheep.

Sorry if I am a bit negative, but this was utter tosh.
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Needs More Clarity
alexkolokotronis27 February 2008
I understand what really happened during this time period but for someone who is not aware it is hard to follow. Overall though it was good but not too special except for Cate Blanchett. After her, the costumes and art direction it wasn't too great.

The acting of this movie overall was OK. Cate Blanchett was phenomenal showing her vulnerability and the complexities in her character having to deal with so many problems and yet having to stay in control. She fit her part perfectly as she did in the first movie. Like the first she really actually gave you the feeling of what a queen from back then might have been like. I like Clive Owen but I hated hated him in this movie. His style was too cliché and what really brought him down was not really realizing the point of his character. I understand Blanchett is supposed to be in love with him but he really just feels like he could have been cut from the entire movie and it wouldn't of made the slightest difference. I would have liked to have seen Geoffrey Rush much more in this movie but unfortunately his role was very limited.

The art direction and costume design was great. You could see some great photography and landscapes with great setup with the clothing. It was sort of able to fill the void with some of the mistakes made in this movie but it just was not enough.

Overall though the directing and editing was poor. The directing failed miserably at giving you an idea of what is happening. Even if you do get it, the movie fails at really showing how this event makes Elizabeth important great and why it is important. This has to do with the editing a lot as well.

I would recommend this movie strictly for Blanchett's performance. This is not really a movie too understand history through though.
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panache200526 February 2008
Normally, Cate Blanchett leaves me thoroughly stunned with her amazing acting talent. Every movie she's played in I've enjoyed to watch. However, this was the exception.

As Elizabeth, Blanchett tries unsuccessfully to portray a pensive, religious, and strong-willed woman. However, the I've-just-seen-something-I-strongly-disprove-of look she has throughout the film just didn't cut it for me. That, and the mysterious persona she conveys makes her look more like she's craving attention then trying to withstand from it. Also, all of the extra female characters looked the same, which got incredibly confusing. The men did, as well: each had brown eyes, brown hair, and brown stubble.

I'll admit the costume design, for which the film won the Oscar, was thorough and beautiful...on the women. However, men strutting around in pantaloons made me laugh each and every time.

Overall, I though Blanchett could've done way better. 3 out of 10.
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Elizabeth - rise from the grave and strike back
ksutton7811 December 2007
I don't know where to begin with how awful this movie is. Perhaps a list: 1. The Music: Loud orchestra music to every scene - this rises to a crescendo and choral singing is added for the triumphant scenes - remember Damien?

2. Reality: Elizabethan England obviously has contacts with 21st century orthodontists and speech and language therapists. Let's get real here - polished piano key teeth would not have been the norm and everyone would not have spoken in a terribly polite straight queen's English accent. There was no wind, no rain (except of course a full dramatic thunderstorm for the Armada scene), the castle's were all comfortably warm - hello this is England pre central heating and double glazing days.

3. The poor queen. This woman is one of the greatest in English history who faced 70 years of adversity in a male dominated world. This film is an insult to her.

4. We know who won the Armada. There is no point having white horses with flowing manes, Clive Owen swinging from the burning ship and Cate Blanchett stood on a headland looking like a figure who's lost its way from the titanic movie. WE DON'T NEED IT.

Stopping for a glass of wine.
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Fluff and gush
scotch-417 February 2008
"Elizabeth, The Golden Age" is an unbelievable disappointment. If you know anything about what actually happened you'd wonder what you were watching. If you have ever been to Fotheringhay, for example, you would know it is not by a lake in a setting that looks like Scotland.

Also Elizabeth's famous speech at Tilbury to her troops leaves out the best part, "I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain...." Why? The Armada battle is all-wrong with even the guns looking like they were from the Napoleonic Period.

Also Mary Queen of Scots probably had a French accent, as in the Helen Mirren version, as Mary was raised in France.

If you want a great scripted film just watch "The Lion in Winter." It always astounds me why filmmakers go to such effort with production values but can't get the nuts and bolts right.
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Sorry, but I really did not enjoy this film at all!
bobak8729 February 2008
I started watching this film in hope that it would be entertaining for a cold February night. The first film was a good watch, despite some of the historical question marks and overplaying of Dudley (not the first, and probably not the last time that this would be done!) As an historian, I have to say that I was very disappointed. Could they not afford Joseph Fiennes for a second movie? Was there any particular reason that one of the key members of court (not to mention Essex, another incredibly influential member of the Elizabethian court)was not included? The Raleigh/Elizabeth 'love story' was really a load of nonsense - is there ever going to be a film about Elizabeth where she is NOT fawning over all the men of her court? Yes, she was human and probably struggled with her feelings, but I suspect that there was more to her life than whether or not she was ever going to marry.

As for Mary Queen of Scots, my main upset with this is her accent. She is Queen of Scots, but she was raised in the FRENCH court, and was (briefly) Queen of France before the death of her sickly husband.

The film was rather complicated, as those with little or no knowledge of 16th Century British history could easily be lost - many of the characters aren't actually introduced properly, and it took my family some time to work out what exactly was going on. It would have been a much, MUCH better film if they had cut out all of the dramatic, uplifting music and spent more time on the script. As for clichés - my entire family gave up by the point of the horses leaping off the ship (Guinness, anyone?) If you are passionate about history, I would strongly recommend that you AVOID this film, as it will end up frustrating you (and those around you, if you are anything like me - I just have to comment when I'm watching a bad film...) It is great for Hollywood, but a bit oversimplified for me!
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