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Elizabeth: Sloppy But Beautiful

Cate Blanchett, in some of the most sumptuous costumes and outrageous hairpieces, can do her best to growl and roar through this follow-up to the 1998 soapy historical piece Elizabeth, but unfortunately she can't save the faulty script and sloppy pacing that is The Golden Age. This is a shame because the more Blanchett and her equally amazing costars (Clive Owen, Geoffry Rush, Abbie Cornish) plunge into this material with all they've got, trying to compensate for the film's many flaws, the more the movie veers into camp. Thus, the mediocrity of this Elizabeth sequel is not Elizabeth's fault. It's everything else, from the uneven direction to the eye-rollingly preposterous "history lite" storylines.

Taking place 27 years into Queen Elizabeth's reign, she is, technically speaking, 52 years old, though you certainly wouldn't know if from looking at the lovely, spry Blanchett. There is a lot going on in Elizabeth's life which starts to resemble a tangled web of melodrama, not unlike an episode of The Young and the Restless. The Queen is now dealing with both a jealous Mary Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton) and a righteous King Philip II of Spain (Jordi Mollà). Add to this mix the roguish explorer Walter Raleigh who needs the Queen's support to continue his expeditions and you've got yourself a slushy spittoon of fantasy/history. To see what I mean,

The smart, saucy Queen's getting it from all sides here, strategizing wars and wrestling with her conscience when it comes to approving death sentences. Then, of course, there's her crush on Raleigh who flatters the Queen to her face and seduces her favorite lady-in-waiting, Bess (Cornish) behind closed doors. For a while it looks like the Queen simply can't win, and then, of course, she does, and it's all very neat and tidy.

In conversations with other people after the screening, the puzzling question on everyone's lips was "Why?" Why make another Elizabeth movie? It's possible any one of the storylines explored in the film could have made for an intriguing tale. But smashing them all together in one movie simply doesn't work in this case. Thus, there are really just two reasons to see this movie that is so disappointing it hurts my feelings: 1) If your love for Cate Blanchett is so blinding you ignore all other aspects of a film, or 2) to gape at the absolutely marvelous costumes that will surely receive an Oscar nod in '08. Otherwise, rent Elizabeth again and let well enough alone.


Join The Conversation
judithkiwichick judithkiwichick 9 years
Ive read the reviews on the amazon website, overall they were pretty good, i remember seeing the first elizabeth movie, so im off to buy this version with cate and clive at the weekend, love these peroid dramas and the history of the english monarcy, and of course the delectable mr owen!!!!!!!!!!!1
Hollisterbabe01 Hollisterbabe01 9 years
I am still going to go see it!!! I love Cate and I love the history of Elizabeth!!!
queenofscots queenofscots 9 years
Cate Blanchett Fans! Came across this site with a truly adoring interview with Cate.
Estefania1987 Estefania1987 9 years
Despite the critics, I'll watch it. I'm just such a history freak lover, than I can handle any movie related to matter how bad it can be.
anniechacha anniechacha 9 years
Snickerdoodle you summed it up perfectly. There was no depth to this movie...a lot of camp and high drama that ended up distracting from what could be an amazing story. The depiction of Elizabeth as all good while Philip and Mary were evil and/or crazy just weakend the story. I certainly hope that the director doesn't try another Elizabeth film.
Fellora Fellora 9 years
I actually liked it a lot. I absolutely loved watching Cate Blanchett; she pulled me into every scene she was in. Definitely worth my $7
snickerdoodle snickerdoodle 9 years
Hm, I thought the costumes were definitely lovely to look at, but sometimes I felt like they proved to be more distracting than anything else - her armor in the climactic scene, for example, just made the battle feel silly. I agree with you that there were definitely moments that veered heavily into camp. The depiction of Phillip II was ridiculous, although the excellent Mary, Queen of Scots (who was played by that actress from Minority Report, I think?) made up for it. Anyway, I agree that it was a disappointment. It's interesting to hear everyone's different views as to why!
mrscaru mrscaru 9 years
I thought this movie was great. Yes, parts of it were campy but the acting was so phenomenal that I didn't even care.
Athena1 Athena1 9 years
It's sad to hear that the movie isn't all that except for it's design and acting. It's a great cast, and CB is amazing in almost everything she does. I like the first Elizabeth too, but yeah, that script wasn't the strongest either (history-lite storylines etc.), but I didn't know The Golden Age was going to be that bad. I'll probably see it for the cast when it comes out on DVD.
lanuchan lanuchan 9 years
i saw it today--it was enjoyable, not as good as i had hoped though...but agreed, the costumes and set were definitely amazing!
JessNess JessNess 9 years
Elizabeth I was ALL about her appearance and her image to the public (portraits of her are like propaganda) so she would have LOVED to look like Cate does :rotfl:
nancita nancita 9 years
Great review, Buzz. I might still see it, but I'm glad to know not to expect much. It's too bad that the filmmakers took a good idea -- bringing Cate back to reprise the role -- and made some bad decisions. Seriously, she's supposed to be in her 50s?!
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
this is indeed disappointing! I will watch it on video just for costumes and all that. I can't resist a period drama! :)
Entertainment Entertainment 9 years
figurine — You know, I didn't think the score was as intrusive as many people have said it is. I guess, basically the music in this movie is the least of my complaints! It's sad. I do so love watching the Blanchett and the Owen. It's just a shame that the rest of the movie isn't as great as they are.
RachB424 RachB424 9 years
I want to see this movie despite the reviews. I love English period pieces. Cate Blanchett is a phenominal actress and Clive Owen is AMAZING!
figurine figurine 9 years
You didn't mention the score -- is it as pompous (not in a positive sense) as other reviewers claim? I never realized the story line in this movie is so similar to the one in Helen Mirren's Elizabeth I (which is quite great, by the way). Anyway, I'm still looking forward to seeing Cate and Clive in this film. :)
pinkflats pinkflats 9 years
oh goodness, that's a shame but thankfully my love for cate and clive is more powerful so i'll be seeing this. and jessness the eye roll is much needed after what you mentioned about the director. a bit pretentious isn't he?
JessNess JessNess 9 years
I was reading an interview with the Elizabeth director in Santa Barbara's Independent. He said that Cate just out right refused to do the movie and that it took him forever to convince her. He also said that he follows the actual history but also does his own interpetation. He is even considering doing a third Elizabeth movie about her death. I guess he heard a story about her that she stared out a window for 18 hours (standing) because she knew her death was coming. :oy:
krampalicious krampalicious 9 years
noooooooooooo....! i have been looking forward to this movie for months now, because i loved the first one something fierce, i adore cate blanchett, and clive owen in breeches is my idea of man candy. the bf and i are seeing it tomorrow night. this is one i'll just have to decide for myself.
KBS KBS 9 years
I rented Elizabeth last weekend and loved it. I am an avid reader on anything to do with the Tudors! I am a little disappointed that I have read so many reviews that are not all that great. I will still see it though what a life she lived.
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
Ouch, harsh review. I'm still interested in seeing it.
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