Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Case for Queenly Sequels

Seeing a movie at the Embassy Theatre is always a wonder and a joy.

A pity then that the movie I chose to see there, Elizabeth: the Golden Age, wasn’t quite as engrossing.

To be fair, I find Cate Blanchett absolutely fascinating, so I enjoyed every scene where she ran around screaming (a lot of those) in some outrageous outfit or other. Clive Owen made a fine tall dark “scoundrel”; Abbie Cornish (who I swore was the wondrous Melanie Lynsky but, much to my embarrassment, was not) played the lust object well; Samantha Morton always freaks me out even when she isn’t playing a psychotic Scottish Queen; and everyone else was fairly good as well, though the Spanish King was played as insane rather than just as a religious nutter, which kind of made him a joke rather than a menacing force.

So it wasn’t the actors then, or the script (well, not really). It was the little things. The score was overly loud (that may have been the superior Embassy sound system, but I doubt it) and drowned almost every scene in an orchestral mire; the climactic high seas battle scenes were a CGI marvel, but were also confusing (I am sure they were in reality too; but it didn’t really make for easy viewing, which detracted from its climaxateness); and the whole final battle from the Queen’s perspective seemed to be directed by the person who had put together music videos for Enya in the 1980s, all billowing saffron and gazing into the distance.

The cinematography was quite interesting too. Obviously someone decided to take advantage of the (real?) sets and get a few cameras up in the rafters, as we occasionally had a birds eye view on the mousey humans scurrying about their palatial mazes. While “noice and different”, it also got to be a bit distancing (were we meant to be flying away from what was happening to the central characters?), especially after the first few uses.

And historical accuracy was (I am sure) sacrificed on the pyre of artistic license.

So: loved Cate, the rest was okay, so overall, a bit disappointing. Love the venue though. Ah, the Embassy!

Verdict: 2 cannons out of 5, with one extra cannon belonging solely to Cate


Anonymous said...

I'm going to watch it and thoroughly enjoy it nevertheless!

R said...

I hope you thoroughly enjoy it! And feel free to critique my critique once you have! *lol*

Andrew said...

I was kinda looking forward to it despite the way the first film achieved the sort of closure that says "no sequels, no matter what". But everyone I know who's seen it has been disappointed, and even if they weren't, the description of the plot makes it sound like, instead of developing the plot of the original, they've just tried to repeat it.

Try 'Gunpowder Treason & Plot' - miniseries (two films, really) about Mary Queen of Scots (first film) and James VI/I (second film).

Anonymous said...

We saw it and it was great. The score was at the right level not too loud and soft in the right parts. The cinematography was brilliant with close up shots being juxtaposed with long distance shots. The costumes were wonderfully designed and the story was coherent. There was even darkness in there R which I'm surprised didn't take you. 4 frocks out of 5 with a 5th one for Cate herself.