Anonymous [Blu-Ray] Roland Emmerich

Anonymous [Blu-Ray] Roland Emmerich
For all of the wrong reasons, there's something fantastic about Roland Emmerich (the man behind 10,000 BC and 2012) directing a supposedly legitimate period piece suggesting that a) William Shakespeare was a drunken, illiterate dilettante and that b) Queen Elizabeth was a big old skank, crapping out illegitimate kids every few months, occasionally fornicating with them unknowingly. Certainly the Bard and the Virgin Queen would appreciate having a German man known for placating the ignorance of the American public with cornball disaster movies denigrate their image with a film that lacks a consistent vision or thematic trajectory, unless you count repeated use of votive candles as a light source as high art. That legitimate actors like Vanessa Redgrave, Rhys Ifans and David Thewlis are involved rather than folks like Carmen Electra and Ben Stiller is just icing on a cake decorated with the saying, "So bad it's good." To be fair, there are some that buy into the theory that the Earl of Oxford (Ifans) was shagging the Queen (Joely Richardson/Vanessa Redgrave) and anonymously writing polemical plays that he'd pawn off on Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) to get produced. But there are also people that believe in Mormonism. It's actually quite an offensive assertion, beyond tarnishing historical figures, seeing as it implies that someone from the lower class, without a formal education, wouldn't be capable of writing works in iambic pentameter. Had this material been handled by someone with a vision or political consciousness, it could have had an interesting slant on perspective and the nature of authorship versus identity, but Emmerich is more interested in shooting kick-ass costumes through candelabras and showing expansive CGI vistas of 16th Century England. Even the mid-movie montage – yes, folks, there's a musical montage, much like the one of Julia Roberts trying on hats in Sleeping with the Enemy – of Shakespeare plays is exploited for perverse aesthetics, with anachronistic pyrotechnics and rainstorm theatrics. What's worse is that hipster twit screenwriter John Orloff, who incidentally prattles on endlessly on the commentary track, with some of the clumsiest verbiage ever used, writes everything with the broadest of clichés and narrative lethargy, making this exercise in historical perversion an endless series of draining exposition and poorly executed conflict. Still, there's something hilarious about the sheer existence of a disaster of this magnitude. If only there was some artistic nudity to spruce things up. Also included with the Blu-Ray are further explanations about the authorship theory, in case the repetitive, straightforward explanations in the actual film didn't drive it home. (Sony)