ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE (**1/2)
Starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Clive Owen, Rhys Ifans, Jordi Molla, Abbie Cornish, Samantha Morton and Tom Hollander. Directed by Shekhar Kapur.
I really enjoyed the first Elizabeth. This sequel has poor timing though. It hasn't been a year since HBO aired Elizabeth I starring Helen Mirren, and the first half of that show covered similar ground that this is here, and that miniseries feels restrained compared to the bombastic approach Kapur has decided to take here.
At the center is Cate Blanchett, one of our best actresses working today, and it's a credit to her that she could get a Best Actress nomination twice for the same role a decade apart. Cate's one of those people where I will see anything she does, because she usually chooses well and is good in it. Heck, I even liked Bandits.
Clive Owen is a guy I enjoy watching, and he does his dashing thing as Sir Walter Raleigh, the pirate who nearly stole her heart after stealing her kingdom some precious Spaniard booty. The movie deals with the era when Spain was itching for war, and she felt pressure to have her cousin Mary Queen of Scots killed to squash any ideas of rebellion.
Too often the movie swings from engaging costume drama to camp. Rhys Ifans tends to do the same blank-stare psychopathic character whenever he's a bad guy (he had the same gaze in Hannibal Rising). Geoffrey Rush, a near Iago-like advisor in the first movie, is just another lackey here.