Elizabeth: The Golden Age (12A)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner01/11/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 114 mins

Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth sequel is a beautifully shot, impeccably designed and largely entertaining drama, providing you're not a stickler for historical accuracy.

What's it all about?
Elizabeth: The Golden Age is director Shekhar Kapur's long-awaited sequel to 1998's Elizabeth. The story kicks off in 1585, with Queen Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett) facing a threat from Spain's King Philip (Jordi Molla) and the Catholic church, who are anxious to replace her with the imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton).

While Philip sets about building an armada, he sends a fiendish spy (Rhys Ifans) to orchestrate a plot against Elizabeth. However, the crafty Spaniards haven’t counted on free-spirited explorer Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen), who proves extremely handy in a boat-based scrap whilst still finding time to flirt with both the Queen and her comely handmaid (Abbie Cornish).

The Good
The film looks gorgeous throughout, courtesy of lush cinematography by Remi Adefarasin and some impeccable production design work – the costumes alone are certain to pick up Oscar nominations come February. The armada sequences are fun too, even if Raleigh's Die Hard-style heroics seem more suited to the 20th century than the 16th.

Blanchett is terrific (again) as Elizabeth, particularly when she unleashes her fiery temper. She also has real chemistry with Owen, who's clearly having a whale of a time channelling the spirit of Errol Flynn – just check out the heroic pose Kapur gives him in the trailer.

The Bad
Unfortunately, there are enough historical inaccuracies here to give a history teacher a heart attack (poor old Sir Francis Drake, for example, barely gets a look-in) and the film often seems more concerned with fancy hair-dos and costumes than it does with character development or a cohesive plot. It also sidelines the most interesting sub-plots and characters (e.g. Morton's Mary, Geoffrey Rush's Walsingham) in favour of its none too convincing love triangle.

Worth seeing?
In short, Elizabeth: The Golden Age is frequently enjoyable on its own terms but it's a much less serious film than its predecessor. Worth seeing, then, but also slightly disappointing and not as good as it should have been.

Film Trailer

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (12A)
Elizabeth: The Golden Age has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 17/07/2018 16:18

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