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Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD)
Elizabeth The Golden Age
Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD
Actors: Cate Blanchett, Clive Owen, Samantha Morton, Abbie Cornish
Director: Shekhar Kapur
Genres: Drama
PG-13     2008     1hr 54min

Academy Award® winners Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush join Academy Award® nominee Clive Owen in a gripping historical thriller full of suspense, intrigue and adventure! When Queen Elizabeth's reign is threatened by ruth...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Cate Blanchett, Clive Owen, Samantha Morton, Abbie Cornish
Director: Shekhar Kapur
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance
Studio: Universal Studios
Format: HD DVD - Color,Widescreen - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 02/05/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 54min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, French
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Movie Reviews

A Visual Feast, A Tedious Film
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/08/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE isn't golden. Expectations were high after Cate Blanchett's first foray in 1998 as Elizabeth I, but somehow this follow-up film, with the same director (Shekhar Kapur) and writer (Michael Hirst with assistance from William Nicholson), does not reach those heights. Visually stunning, with an endless array of knockout costumes for Blanchett, special effects and scenery as majestic as any that have been photographed by fine cinematographer Remie Adefarasin and a musical score by Craig Armstrong and AR Rahman - all of these fine attributes cannot cover the weak script and the general lack of character development that hampers the usually exceptional core of actors.

The portion of Elizabeth's history covered by the film is the battle with Spain, England being the only country not participating in the Holy War in Europe under the direction of King Philip II of Spain (Jordi Mollà), complete with the surprise decimation of the approaching Spanish Armada due to the heroism and commitment of Elizabeth with her people. The surrounding events include Elizabeth's dalliance with Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) and the traumatic (for Elizabeth) beheading of Mary Stuart (Samantha Morton), under the advisement of Elizabeth's trusted Sir Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush).

Blanchett is a consummate actress and manages to inhabit the persona of Elizabeth as much with her glances and body language and silences as with the meager material from the script. She IS a Queen reborn. The remainder of the cast is adequate though shallow, and while each has very little to say they maintain an atmosphere of Elizabethan England. This is a DVD that could well be watched without the soundtrack and still be entertaining for the visual splendors. It could have been so much more. Grady Harp, February 08"
One Queen to Rule Them All
Chris Pandolfi | Los Angeles, CA | 10/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"When we last left Elizabeth I (Cate Blanchett), she was young and inexperienced, struggling to come to terms with ruling a country. We now rejoin her in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," which begins well into her reign; beginning in the year 1585, the film chronicles the growing tension between England and Spain and culminates with a fierce sea battle. It also examines the relationship between Elizabeth and Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen), an adventurous seafarer. What we're presented with is less of an actual account and more of a dramatic love story, which basically means that it isn't even close to being historically accurate. But I guess that isn't a bad thing, considering the film's more creative aspects--"The Golden Age" is a triumph of set and costume design, and the performances are top notch.

If only the story were at the same level. It would be too much to say that the plot isn't interesting; rather, it isn't interesting enough. Much of the material plays like a run of the mill romance, regardless of the time period. I just know that so much more defined Queen Elizabeth I, and I wish the filmmakers had given her character a little more depth. Not that she's completely shallow--if anything, quite a lot weighs heavy on her mind, not the least of which is her conniving cousin, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton). Most of their rivalry stems from different religious faiths: Elizabeth is Protestant while Mary is Catholic. Hoping to take control of the throne, Mary conspires to have Elizabeth assassinated. Intercepting on Elizabeth's behalf is Sir Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush), the Queen's most trusted advisor.

On Mary's side is Philip II (Jordi Mollà), King of Spain, who believes that Elizabeth has turned England into a godless country. He intends to conquer the Queen by sending a mighty armada, and the Spanish Inquisition along with it. Elizabeth understands that England's resources are depleted, as is its money; a counterattack will be much harder to plan and execute. Despite being incredibly strong-willed, something is holding her back, something that's diminishing her confidence. She seems to rely on Raleigh to soothe her, despite not knowing who he is or where he came from. All we do know is that he's arrived home from the New World, where he named a colony in honor of the Virgin Queen (Virginia). We've seen many films that make the Mysterious Stranger engaging or downright sexy--indeed, Raleigh is dashing, flirtatious, and bold. Just watch the way he presents potatoes and tobacco to Elizabeth.

Hoping to win favor with the Queen, Raleigh gets close to her favorite Lady in Waiting, Bess (Abbie Cornish), and it becomes obvious that his affections are divided between these two women. This plot device could have been much more interesting had it not been so cliché; I've seen romantic conflict before, and it's usually reserved for escapist films. But "The Golden Age" is historical in context. I wanted more focus on the impending Spanish attack, especially since it was so intertwined with Elizabeth's assassination plot. The final major sequence does feature some battle, but not enough to be satisfying. It's as if the film fizzles out after spending so much time building itself up. It's not entirely a letdown, but it is a disappointment. This is especially true of Elizabeth's pre-battle speech: clad in armor, she rides a horse in front of her army while spewing encouraging sayings. I half expected her to say that the enemy may take their lives, but they'd never take their freedom.

Still, I have to give credit where credit is due. I greatly enjoyed Blanchett's performance; she gave Elizabeth a determined yet fragile quality that was compelling. I distinctly remember an emotional outburst aimed at the Spanish ambassador: "I too can command the wind, sir!" she screams. "I have a hurricane in me that will strip Spain bare if you dare to try me!" This moment was raw and overwhelming, which was appropriate given her emotional state. I also remember a scene in an astrologist's lair showing Elizabeth's desperation. She clearly couldn't stand not knowing how everything would turn out. It was prophesized that two kingdoms would battle and only one would fall--the Queen would like nothing more than to hear that England will be victorious. Unfortunately, that cannot be guaranteed.

Yes, there is a lot to recommend about "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," and thank goodness that the good outweighs the bad. This is not a perfect film, but it can still get an audience from point A to point B. And it certainly is wonderful to look at; every shot is so richly detailed that you can't help but admire the work that went into it. The costumes are vivid, colorful, and intricate. The sets are lavish and bold, with practically every location dripping with colorful tapestries. The armada attack features a number of convincing special effects. Basically, everything felt real in terms of the film's look. The film's story, on the other hand, wasn't all that it could have been. There's a wealth of material on Queen Elizabeth I, and I can't help but feel that most of it was disregarded to make room for romantic elements. Romance works, but only to a point."
I wanted to love this film
Alison Leigh | 12/21/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"As I am a die hard fan of Kapur's Elizabeth, I was overjoyed when I found out that they were releasing a sequel, with both Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush returning. I made sure that I saw it on the date it came out, but I left the theatre feeling disappointed.

Don't get me wrong, Elizabeth: The Golden Age is an entertaining and visually lush film. The costumes are beautiful, the music is nice, and Blanchett (though looking a little young for a queen who should have been in her 50s), Rush, Clive Owen (as Walter Raleigh), and Samantha Morton (as Mary Queen of Scots) all give wonderful performances. However, it still felt as if the movie had something missing.

I know that the first Elizabeth was riddled with historical inaccuracies, but the movie contained so much plot and intrigue it allowed one to overlook its inconsistencies. Elizabeth: The Golden Age, however, falls short in that it focuses almost exclusively on the pseudo-romance between Elizabeth and Walter Raleigh (while Elizabeth did indeed have feelings for many of her male court favorites, Raleigh included, it was far from the fairy tale we see here) at the expense of leaving out many important characters and events. For example, where is Elizabeth's former love and best friend Robert Dudley? He is not even mentioned in this film, and it is a well known fact that not only did he participate in the Armada in 1588, he died later that same year, causing Elizabeth to stay shut in her room for days. Also missing is his stepson Robert Devereaux, the Earl of Essex, who was well on his way to becoming Elizabeth's golden boy.

Inaccuracies aside, there was so much going on in the actual time of Elizabeth I's second half of her reign (The Golden Age) that it is quite sad that all we get to see in this film consists of Elizabeth and Raleigh flirting, dancing, and riding around on horseback together or Elizabeth whispering her fears and desires to the only lady-in-waiting who seems to have been of any degree of importance, Bess Throckmorton (later Bess Raleigh).

The sad thing is, that with such talented actors, all this needed was a more fleshed out script and this could have come close to equalling its predecessor."
Eye Candy
BookMan | Rancho Santa Margarita, CA | 02/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's not often that I review movies (there are some exceptions) but felt compelled to do so here as there seem to be so many that disliked Elizabeth - The Golden Age. I saw this when it first came out in the theaters and was thoroughly impressed. Yes, the costumes were spectacular, the photography superlative, and the scenery breathtaking; in other words, this film is filled with eye candy. Cate Blanchett played the awesomely beautiful queen and I was transfixed by her performance - something that normally doesn't happen to me when I go to a movie.

Granted, there may be many historical inaccuracies in this film but I didn't buy a ticket to receive an education - I use other sources (such a books) to accomplish that. (What a concept!) Elizabeth - The Golden Age, effectively transported me out of the here and now into another realm which only the arts can do. It also led to a desire to read more on the life of the "Virgin Queen." It is for those reasons that I would highly recommend this film."