ELIZABETH THE GOLDEN AGE: DVD
Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett) is the target of Spanish King Philip's (Jordi Molla) crusade to unite all of Europe under the Catholic Papacy - and in the process crown his little daughter the new Queen of England. As if that weren't enough, another claimant to the throne, Mary Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton), plots Elizabeth's overthrow from her castle prison. When Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) returns from his adventure in the New World, the Virgin Queen is fascinated by him, as is her lady in waiting, Bess (Abbie Cornish). Elizabeth's trusted chief advisor, Sir Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush) continues to manipulate affairs of court, and intercepts Mary's secret plans. Mary's execution provides a trigger Philip of Spain has waited for to unleash his massive armada against Elizabeth's England.
Review by Louise Keller:
There's drama in the court and on the high seas in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, a potent historical costume saga with Cate Blanchett in sparkling form, reprising her defining role. 'I find the impossible far more interesting,' Blanchett's Queen states at the beginning of the film, in which conflict is not limited to the power struggle between Spain and England, but to the inner conflict that overwhelms the powerful monarch. Elizabeth is filled with self-doubt, yearnings and jealousy as she faces betrayal, deception and frustrations in love. Set under Gothic arches with Tudor collars, fitted bodices, elaborate wigs and costumes, the film is sumptuous to look at and Clive Owen spins his charismatic charm as the enigmatic Sir Walter Raleigh.
'Why be afraid of tomorrow when we have now to live,' Owen's Walter Raleigh tells Elizabeth. Theirs is a tantalising relationship beginning when Raleigh dramatically flings his cloak on the cobbled ground before Elizabeth to shield her feet from a puddle. With pale matt make up, Blanchett is a study of expressions as Raleigh dazzles her with his tales of adventure in the New World. There's an immediate attraction and the connection between Owen and Blanchett is tangible, yet suitably restrained. Abbie Cornish impresses in the plum role as Bess, Elizabeth's closest lady-in-waiting confidante, who is free to have what the Queen cannot. As she watches Bess and Raleigh making love through the crevices of a dividing screen, Elizabeth is a portrait of utter loneliness; she lets her clothes fall to the floor in a helpless show of vulnerability. Samantha Morton is formidable as the imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots, who poses a continuing threat to Elizabeth's throne and Geoffrey Rush is solid gold as the Queen's ever-vigilant, world weary advisor.
The story may be set in the 16th Century, but its themes of political unrest, struggle for power and personal satisfaction are timeless and universal. It may have been a gamble for director Shekhar Kapur to pick up the threads of his acclaimed film Elizabeth from nine years earlier but the result is overtly satisfying as the many subtleties of the mature Queen's emotional journey are realized. It's a rousing and engaging tale filled with drama and conflict and the image of Blanchett's Elizabeth is indelible.
DVD special features include a feature commentary with Shakhar Kapur, deleted scenes, a behind the scenes documentary and a documentary about creating the Armada.
Published March 13, 2008
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ELIZABETH THE GOLDEN AGE: DVD (M)
CAST: Cate Blanchett, Clive Owen, Geoffrey Rush, Abbie Cornish, Samantha Morton, Tom Hollander, Jordi Molla, Adam Godley, Rhys Ifans, Eddie Redmayne
PRODUCER: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Jonathan Cavendish
DIRECTOR: Shekhar Kapur
SCRIPT: Michael Hirst, William Nicholson
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Remi Adefarasin
EDITOR: Jill Bilcock
MUSIC: A. R. Rahman, Craig Armstrong
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Guy Dyas
RUNNING TIME: 114 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 15, 2007
SPECIAL FEATURES: • Feature Commentary with Director Shekhar Kapur[BREAK]• Deleted Scenes[BREAK]• The Reign Continues: Making Elizabeth: The Golden Age[BREAK]• Commanding the Winds: Creating the Armada
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
DVD RELEASE: March 12, 2008