Director: Shekhar Kapur
Writers: William Nicholson and Michael Hirst
When even the DVD sleeve from Netflix makes a comment about a movie’s loose take on history, I go in with low expectations where history is concerned (there’s probably a whole separate post coming on historical accuracy and movies). But I loved the first Elizabeth film and Clive Owen is always a nice selling point. So I thought, what the heck, at least this will be fun.
A lot of the things I loved about the first film still held true here: Cate Blanchett is exquisite as Elizabeth and I also love Geoffrey Rush as Sir Francis “My what a big rack I have” Walsingham. On the other hand, it lacked a little of the energy of the first film.
The first shot of the monks had this kind of hand held feel. It was very disconcerting and I’m still undecided on whether I think that worked or not.
On the other hand, the first council scene with Elizabeth was surprisingly intimate for such a large room. I really like the inclusion of the celestial pageant before the queen. It’s something that was super popular at the time, but not necessarily something you see often in film. On that note: something else very distinctive of the Elizabethan era was emblems, and there were a lot of shot compositions throughout the film that had the look of emblems. Nice touch. Speaking of nice touches, I thought it was very sweet how protective Elizabeth was of the Archduke. As a nerd I enjoyed the inclusion of John Dee. I love what a BAMF Liz was facing down her would-be assassin. They ripped off the Beacons of Gondor scene, but I’ll allow it because it’s awesome. The whole armada fight scene is amazingly well done. A beautiful climax for the plot and for a Elizabeth and all done with no dialog. Way to use your visual medium.
I felt like the scene of Philip talking with his ambassador where they are shown as shadows on a sail was a little over the top. The portrayal of Mary Queen of Scots as a little pathetic to be honest. And again, the symbolism of her looking up at the throne right before having her head cut off was a little heavy handed. Princess Isabella’s role was a little strange, but I suppose it went with the children theme. But it didn’t quite work for me.
And, I realize this is purely personal preference, but I would have liked to see Sir Walter Raleigh as a little more of a player. If you’re going to let go of historical accuracy in the first place you should at least have fun with it. He was sexy, but I just didn’t find him quite seductive enough for everything that happened with him to be believable.
Rating: Four out of five jars of peanut butter with a little scoop taken out of the last jar