Elizabeth: The Golden Age movie poster
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Elizabeth: The Golden Age movie poster

Elizabeth: The Golden Age Movie Review

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Unless Godfather is in the title, one rarely sees sequels to Oscar-winning movies, but Elizabeth: The Golden Age is coming to DVD and returns Cate Blanchett to her Oscar-winning role as the title character. Furthermore, Blanchett has been nominated for the same character again, which in itself gives cause to see the movie.

I don't really remember too much about the original Elizabeth, but I remember liking it quite a lot. Unfortunately, the sequel isn't nearly as mesmerizing or powerful as one would expect, and the result is a pretty flat film that pales in comparison. Elizabeth: The Golden Age is a nice looking film, with some great rolling shots to compliment the strong score. Still, style over substance seems to reign supreme as the film shifts between uneasy romance and war film, with nothing substantial in either department.

Clive Owen plays the Spanish pirate who steals Queen Elizabeth's heart, but while Owen is a great actor who has a pretty big part, the character never goes anywhere. He's suave and defiant, but beyond that, there's not much too him. The film could have done so much with him, but never does. All around, the characters aren't particularly intriguing or as complex; Mary Tudor barely gets five minutes, even though her political maneuvering is a key part of the story (yet not developed nearly as much as I would have liked).

All around, the movie simply skims the surface. The characters are interesting but unfinished; the political backstabbing shows promise, but fails to materialize; the war scenes could have been big, but instead flounder. Queen Elizabeth falls in love, and director Shekhar Kapur spends half the movie tinkering with that story. Then, the Spanish invade, and he throws in a really quick, rather incoherent scenes of ships duking it out on the high seas. Mary Tudor has her moment, and that's about it. Another half hour would have really done this film wonders, especially had the writers dove into the intricacies that made the first Elizabeth so popular.

Nevertheless, the shining light of the movie is Blanchett. Regardless of how one dimensional the characters are in the movie, Blanchett once again transcends any limitations of her role. Even though the characters aren't fully developed, the dialogue is quite good, and Blanchett embraces every line with amazing power. With so many great performances by this actress, I wouldn't put The Golden Age into her top five, but she still delivers a strong and powerful, nomination-worthy entry.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age has its moments and Cate Blanchett dominates like usual, but the movie feels strangely empty.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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