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"Elizabeth: The Golden Age"

Directed by Shekhar Kapur.
Written by William Nicholson and Michael Hirst.
Starring Cate Blanchett, Clive Owen, Geoffrey Rush and Samantha Morton.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  10/9/07


Although I never saw a trailer for the new Cate Blanchett sequel "Elizabeth: The Golden Age", I trusted that since I loved "Elizabeth" and that Blanchett and the original film's director were back for this go-round, it couldn't go wrong.

Man, sequels have REALLY sucked this year.

A bad idea from the jump, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" takes place in 1585, with Queen Elizabeth (Blanchett) running the English ship full-bore as she receives threats of war not only from outside the nation--in the form of Philip II of Spain (played by "Bad Boys II" bad guy Jordi Mollà)--but also within, thanks to her imprisoned sister Mary, Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton, completely wasted here), who is trying to have Elizabeth killed so that she can take over.  I think Mary was her sister; my memory and the film's depiction of Mary is very foggy, so since I don't give a fuck I won't bother to check if this is valid.  While enjoying running England and debating the problems of Catholics, Jesuits, beliefs, and plunging necklines, Elizabeth falls for a English pirate (Clive Owen), has problems with her hot assistant/court member/niece or maybe cousin Elizabeth Throckmorton (Abbie Cornish), clashes with her chief of staff (Geoffrey Rush, back from the original), and then has to go to war with Spain and lay waste to a Spanish Armada!

Too much for one movie?  I don't think so, if any of it was truly worth watching.  Do you remember the first "Elizabeth" being a comedy?  I didn't either, but I'll be damned if the first 30 minutes of this sequel were essentially played for laughs, in between a random act of violence or two.  Not only has the Elizabeth character been turned into a ham, but Owen's presence in this film is one of the few times I thought he was horribly miscast.  He just comes off BAD in this sequel; whoa.  I half-expected him to break out into song after his first couple of scenes; his lines are bad (although that is mostly the writing); he just doesn't seem heroic, especially later in the film when he is off helping to fight the Spaniards (although, again, this may not be his fault; the execution of the wartime sequences is atrocious).  The romance/not-romance between Elizabeth and the pirate are missing something vital...uh, anything that creates some sexual tension between the two.  And, the awkwardness of this comes to a head later in the movie when the pirate is forced to dance with Throckmorton for the amusement of Elizabeth...what a fucking mess!

This whole movie was a mess!  I was shocked more people didn't walk out, but maybe because this was a free film and they shared my belief that it would pick up eventually, they stuck around.  But, save for an easy fill in the box score for solid costumes (don't all period pieces score here?), "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" won't make me blink when it comes on Encore for each of the next 15 years every month...ugh.  Who allowed this shit to happen?

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09