I went into watching Elizabeth: The Golden Age without having seen the first Elizabeth movie from 1998, so I was a little concerned about how lost I could be if this movie was a strict continuation of the first. If anyone else shares my concern, let me reassure you that not only is this a chapter out of the life of Queen Elizabeth I that stands on it’s own very well, but it’s also very accessible to those who aren’t into Old English history.
This chapter out of the life of “The Virgin Queen” portrays Queen Elizabeth I, played once again by Cate Blanchett (The Lord of the Rings, The Good German), as she is in jeopardy of having her kingdom overthrown by a crazed king of Spain who believes that this Protestant Queen is corrupting her people by straying from the Catholic faith. He employs spies and traitors to put into place a plan aimed at dethroning Elizabeth and placing England under Spanish rule.
I have to admit that this movie started at a pace that made me feel like it was building to something big. Everything that was said and done came across with an air of importance. And while the actual battle for England didn’t occur until the very end, there was plenty of treachery, intrigue and genuine surprises to keep me interested.
Just a word to all of the “chick-flick” haters out there: Yes, this is a costume drama and yes people do speak with accents and different languages (with subtitles), and yes there is romance in this movie with a love triangle between Elizabeth, one of her ladies in waiting and Sir Walter Raleigh, played by Clive Owen (King Arthur, Children of Men), but these aspects never detract from the fact that the themes, mysteries and reversals portrayed here are just as interesting and poignant as when told in a modern setting.
Since I did notice as the movie was starting that there were about 20 women in the theater and only 3 men, including me, I feel that I need to emphasize a recommendation for this movie. Since I haven’t seen the first I can’t say whether or not it’s more or less of a “girly” film than the first, but it was definitely an entertaining film for me, a guy, that was well worth the price of admission.