Elizabeth: The Golden Age Shekhar Kapur

Elizabeth: The Golden Age Shekhar Kapur
Proving Spider-Man and Batman aren’t the only heroes who deserve sequels, Shekhar Kapur has given the ginger queen a rightful return nine years after Elizabeth introduced us to Cate Blanchett. Where that film left us with a ruler just coming to terms with her power, The Golden Age picks up years later (almost as if in real time), with a confident, protestant Queen looking to stand tall and proud against religious pressure: the Catholic powers in Rome, the deadly threats from Spain’s fanatical Phillip II (Jordi Molla) and her vengeful sister Mary Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton), whom Liz has imprisoned. Luckily, Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) comes to the rescue, swashbuckling and battling the Armada with his bare hands. Or so Kapur would like us to believe, as the "pirate” swings from ropes, dives into the sea and arrives home declaring victory and ready to take on his role as a proud papa (that’s a hint, not a giveaway). A lot has been said regarding the historical inaccuracies and romantic embellishments by writers William Nicholson and Michael Hirst, and anyone who’s studied British history will see they’ve had their way with the Queen to make this a more entertaining film than historical fact could support. And it certainly is entertaining, especially considering the magical chemistry between Blanchett and Owen, and the extravagant production design and wardrobe flaunted by Kapur, who moans about invisible challenges due to budget constraints in the commentary. His reason for revisiting the "Virgin Queen” is to capture her growth to absolute power and divinity, and detail the more famous points in her life (i.e., conquering the Armada, surviving an assassination attempt). In a "making of,” more explanations are given as to why everyone was so interested in the sequel, especially Blanchett, who describes Elizabeth as a "powerful, complex character with infinite ways to approach.” Plus: Volkswagen-sponsored featurettes. (Universal)