Too Much Costume, Not Enough Drama
Queen Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett) learns via her trusty servant Sir Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush) that Philip II of Spain (Jordi Molla) is readying to invade England via Armada. And he plans to exploit the Queen's cousin Mary Stuart (Samantha Morton) in his ploys as well as the Catholic faction in England. But the rumblings of Spain are not the only thing which Elizabeth has to contend with as Walsingham is pressing her to find a suitor and whilst many come and get turned down she immediately feels a fondness for the adventurous and roguishly charming Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) who also has a thing for her lady in waiting Bess Throckmorton (Abbie Cornish).
There are various things which make me shudder by their sheer mention and an unlikely one is the words "costume drama". Whilst my dislike of costume dramas is not as full on as it once was I still approach them with a huge level of wariness, more prepared to be bored than to be entertained. It works in my favour because once in a while I watch one of these costume dramas which catches me by surprise and grabs my attention. Sadly "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" isn't one of them and ended up the sort of costume drama which becomes a slog to watch.
Now in fairness I have not watched "Elizabeth" but was assured that you didn't need to in order to watch "Elizabeth: The Golden Age". And I have to agree as the storyline is self contained and even with the slimmest knowledge of Royal history, and trust me mine is wafer thin, it is easy to follow. Maybe that is a problem as whilst I didn't find it difficult to follow I did find it needing more depth and subplots to make it more than it is with a lot of focus on the relationship of Elizabeth to Raleigh.
But whilst "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" didn't do the best of jobs in engaging my mind it is still a fantastic looking production with stunning sets and even more amazing costumes with certain aspects of these played upon, such as a scene which takes place between Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth in what I guess was her wig room. It makes it a very visual movie and on that note it has to be said that whilst Cate Blanchett is good as Queen Elizabeth it is the casting of Clive Own as Raleigh which makes the movie. He brings to the movie that whole roguish charm which made me think immediately that "he will bring some colour to those cheeks".
What this all boils down to is that whilst an impressive production "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" was not for me and failed to really grab my attention with too much costume and not enough drama.