NPR logo 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age'

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'Elizabeth: The Golden Age'

Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett) holds court in a historical thriller laced with treachery and romance. Laurie Sparham/Universal Pictures hide caption

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Laurie Sparham/Universal Pictures

Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett) holds court in a historical thriller laced with treachery and romance.

Laurie Sparham/Universal Pictures
  • Director: Shekhar Kapur
  • Genre: Drama
  • Running Time: 114 minutes

From the wealth of historical possibilities presented to him by the life of England's Virgin Queen, here's what director Shekhar Kapur selected for this sequel to his Oscar-nominated biopic, Elizabeth: Cate Blanchett's monarch batting goo-goo eyes at Clive Owen's Sir Walter Raleigh while she parades from cathedral to bedchamber to battlefield, followed everywhere by a white key light that makes her look like a goddess among trolls; Spain's King Philip making like a refugee from Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks as he assembles the Spanish Armada; conspirators who appear even more inbred than the monarchy they're opposing; a climactic sea battle that's filmed in ways that make it all but incoherent.

This ludicrous sequel has all that and much, much more — including an annoyingly bombastic score, anachronistic dialogue, preposterous plotting (of both the subversive and the narrative sort), and even that long-discredited fairy tale about Raleigh plunking his cloak over a puddle so his queen wouldn't get her feet wet. The Golden Age is drivel, prettily produced.

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