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Elizabeth: The Golden Age
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(2007)

This movie is a Sequel to the First Elizabeth movie from 1998, and takes place in the 15th century, following the virgin queen of England, and her epic battle against the Spanish fleet

Runtime:
1:54
Released:
September 09, 2007

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Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Reviewed by J.K._Howell

Queen Elizabeth lives. Mary Stuart is executed. The Spanish armada is defeated.

In “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” Cate Blanchett reprises the title role that made her famous. While 1998’s “Elizabeth” showcased the secret life of the queen, much of “Golden Age” builds tension around what will happen between Elizabeth, Mary (Samantha Morton) and King Philip II of Spain (Jordi Mollà). Unfortunately, anyone with a passing familiarity of English history will already know the outcomes before the theater goes dark.

Queen Elizabeth lives. Mary Stuart is executed. The Spanish armada is defeated.

Some may reasonably be angry that the film’s major plot points have just been given away. In fairness, if you don't already know those three things, your high school history instructor has done you a great disservice.

While visually halting, the film feels disjointed and forced.

The first hour sets the stage for political intrigue and Machiavellian scheming in the unseen corners of London. Catholics who believe the protestant queen to be a heretic conspire with Scottish and Spanish agents to remove Elizabeth from power.

Halfway through, Mary Stuart’s involvement is unmasked, and the film instead becomes a study on the queen’s inner conflict between longing to be loved as a woman, and self-imposed need to be a detached monarch in love only with England.

The final moments of the film pit a small band of rag-tag pirates against a vast fleet, while Elizabeth watches on, sitting atop a white stallion and encased in gleaming armor of silver and gold. The defeat of the Spanish seemed so disparate from the rest of the film, it’s almost as if outtakes from “Lord of the Rings” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” were spliced together for lack of original footage.

Clive Owen is a dashing Sir Walter Raleigh. His self-assured manner and unadorned speech set him apart from the queen’s courtiers – a variety of submissive yes-men. It is easy to see why Elizabeth lets him into her confidence, but the film perhaps takes it too far, at times almost implying that Elizabeth holds the throne because Raleigh wants her to.

There are a number of subplots of intrigue and familial betrayal. Those who are held in trust fail to live up to the expectations of those who love them. Had the film focused more on those relationships and used history as a backdrop rather than a focus, “Golden Age” may have resonated with the power of the first film.

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