Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Directed by Shekhar Kapur

It was the critically acclaimed 1998 historical drama Elizabeth that launched Cate Blanchetts brilliant career to infinity and beyond, and now its follow-up, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, look like doing the same for another talented Aussie actress, the gorgeous Abbie Cornish.

In Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the Queen (Cate Blanchett), now in her fifties, reigns supreme. Her throne is secure, or so she thinks. She is courted by the most eligible royal bachelors from around the globe but refuses to take a husband despite the fact the ticking from her biological clock must have been deafening. She needs to produce an heir, and soon, but is reluctant to give up her title of virgin queen.

Meanwhile there are plots a plenty to get rid of her, the biggest threat coming from King Philip II of Spain (Jordi Molla), her former brother-in-law who wants to start a holy war against England and its Protestant queen.

Unwittingly, she provides him with just the excuse he needs to unleash the mighty Spanish Armada against the English Navy, and the ensuing battle is the most exciting scene in the film.

But Elizabeth: the Golden Age isnt all battle and conspiracies. The dashing Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) entered the queens life during this period and was to have a major influence on her and her court, in particular the queens favourite lady-in-waiting, Bess Throckmorton (Abbie Cornish).

Elizabeth: The Golden Age is a lavish, superbly produced film but it lakes the punch of its predecessor. I preferred the grittiness of the original; it had a dark and bloody edge to it which left a lasting impression. However, if youre looking for a rollicking costume drama full of royal cat fights, a touch of torture, amazing outfits and wigs, and a bodice ripping or two, then you wont be disappointed. And the acting of course is superb.

Forget rule Britannia! Its Aussies who rule Hollywood with Geoffrey Rush reprising his role as the queens protector, and Francis Walsingham making up our trio of stars. And they do us proud.


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