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October 24, 2007 > Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

By Mekala Raman

Many movies and literary works have been crafted to celebrate the famous 16th century monarch Elizabeth I. The queen, known for her independence and uncommon power, was well represented by Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett in this rendition of the queen's life. Blanchett masterfully portrays the vast emotional range and multi-faceted personality of Queen Elizabeth by mixing lighthearted cheekiness and regal benevolence with wild passion and harsh fury. She easily depicts the queen's pride and grasp of power, but also shows an aging virgin that has missed out in love and laments at the glorious youth, which slips further away with each new wrinkle.

Having said this, the movie itself was quite a letdown. Granted the movie is about Elizabeth I, but the movie is also about the story of the people she interacted with. Though Elizabeth: The Golden Age employs the talents of a whole gang of award-winners, most of them seem to, at moments, be floundering next to Blanchett's dominating presence. Clive Owen, who plays the queen's love interest Sir Walter Raleigh, is usually capable of stealing hearts with his rugged handsomeness but doesn't seem to have quite enough charm this time. On the other hand, Samantha Morton gives a chilling performance as the queen's Scottish rival Mary Stuart. Morton effectively portrays Stuart's pride of being a queen, the rival with her cousin Elizabeth, and her anger at being arrested and finally sentenced to execution.

Though, the movie does do a good job of starting out rather lightheartedly and becoming gradually more sinister with the approach of the final confrontation between England and Spain. However, the climax, which is England's triumph over the Spanish Armada, lasts mere minutes. This is far shorter than many of the scenes dedicated to reflection or introspection into the queen's feelings.

Those who expect a terrific battle for the final showdown between the two kingdoms will be greatly disappointed. The entire victory seems to be the result of an English ship that has been set fire to and is navigated by Sir Walter Raleigh straight into the Armada. The ship exterminates the entire Spanish fleet while Raleigh simply jumps off and swims to safety. A few minutes later, Queen Elizabeth is smiles down on a field of victory.

Despite the film's disappointment, Cate Blanchett thrives under her spotlight and wears her queenly robes well. Elizabeth: the Golden Age is now playing in theaters.

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