Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. Wow. This one snuck up on me. I’m interested. You’ve got my attention. Please tell me it’s good and worth the wait:
OKay - Plantylicious, Planty McPlant, Eggplant, Robert Plant... whew, got that outta the way. I attended the screening of The Golden Age in Sherman Oaks this eve...and what I saw is basically a really good movie with a few drawbacks - some fixable, some unfortunately not - so listen up filmmakers! This is the sequel to ELIZABETH -- probably 20 years on from that story?...and Queen Liz has gotten older and still has no man in her bed! This is now a major issue amongst the peeps of England (who call her still The Virgin Queen)....and boiling up as an issue for King Phillip of Spain who is conquering all of Europe in his Holy War but yet to get the one holdout - England. He's waiting for the Queen's prisoner - er, 'guest of the Palace', Mary Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton) , to be killed to use that as an excuse to attack - wherein he can 'remove' Liz: that "Godless, Childless Wench" or some such biz...but I digress. The major story is that Liz is feeling old, with all the young, hot chick handmaidens around her getting laid. So there's this big push for her to meet other Kings to mate (wasn't that the plot to the first one?)..anyway, she lays eyes on (as yet to be named 'Sir') Walter Raleigh who's just come from 'the New World' and needs more $$$ to start a colony - Virginia - there. So here's the deal: I dig these types of movies....I just spent all wkend watching 'Barbarian Weekend' on the history channel after seeing 300 on Fri....I loved the first Elizabeth and really, honestly - this one I would say is equally as good. God Bless Helen Mirren but I'd say that Cate Blanchett gives her a run for her money in the first Elizabeth - and now REALLY in The Golden Age. Elizabeth in this is older, more weary. Stern but fair - in short a tough bitch. Blanchett's at the top of her game these days and playing the Queen of England is what this chick was born to do -- she digs far in and is just so watchable - I mean, she's always watchable but at last she's a LEAD again (after a year of supporting crap) so we get enough of her. She actually lifts the movie when she's onscreen. There's an assasination attempt on her life which is played so against what is expected that it took me a minute to figure out what just transpired but I appreciated it being so different. She has such a cool. dramatic, different reaction...goosebumps. But......Alas......Ahhhh....time for my GRIPE. Clive Owen. Miscast.....misplaced...misinterpreted. I don't much like this guy anyway -- always playing thuggish in these artsy movies - but he's just not period. Let alone Walter Raleigh. I never believed that Liz would be so taken with such a charmless man....one thing I'll say is that he seems so shallow to me that you could never really trust the character's intentions - which lays out in the plot. Whether that was on purpose or not I don't know but luckily its the Queen's movie so while there's no way around his being the love interest, maybe they could cut him down. Samantha Morton is quite good as Mary Queen of Scots - actually coming off as a young upstart rival for Queen Liz. She's basically in only the first half but is memorably ferocious and I cannot say I've been able to say that about her before. But before I forget -- dare I say it!! - this movie is eerily reminiscent of a certain Prez and his hard on for the Middle East....Spain is painted as this hypocrite power that will only fight a 'just' war under God and manufactures all sorts of schemes (namely a treasonous one with Mary Queen of Scots that gets her beheaded)....to create a "proper" reason to go to war. So when Mary bites it - they cut to the Spaniards who are basically celebrating while writing letters of outrage - great stuff. Anyway - I think you get the picture...to be fair - this is probably Paramount's big awards season movie for next fall and they have the goods here. The Clive factor is a problem but I can certainly name a few past Best Picture winners with major flaws. There can never be too many historical pictures that are actually studio releases - so let's support them. If you use this call me Smartass.