`Elizabeth' is hardly fit for a queen

Review C-

October 12, 2007|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Elizabeth: The Golden Age is one tinny movie. It renders the bloody climax of Queen Elizabeth I's rivalry with her Catholic cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Britain's defeat of the Spanish Armada as an upbeat Protestant passion play. The Virgin Queen of England, Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett), unsullied except for a single kiss from Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen), rallies her country against the rabidly Catholic Philip II of Spain with the help of handsome, glittering armor she might have filched from that Catholic and bitterly anti-British saint, Joan of Arc.

Director Shekhar Kapur, who made the leap from Bombay to bombast nine years ago with Elizabeth, continues her crowd-pleasing saga. Unfortunately, this movie turns the warrior monarch into a pictorial object, twirling in a purple gown over the floor-length map in her war room or escaping her tent in her royal nightie to roam over the hills and cliffs as if trying to push her fleet forward with her profile. Raleigh flatters his queen with goods from the New World, including a potato and a tobacco pouch. Kapur simply lays an egg.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Universal) Starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Clive Owen, Abbie Cornish, Samantha Morton. Directed by Shekhar Kapur. Rated PG-13. Time 115 minutes.

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