‘Golden Age’ regal, but disappoints

Jenna Gerling

Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Credit: Ron Soltys

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Clive Owen

Directed by Shekhar Kapur

Distributed by Universal Pictures

Rated PG-13 Runtime 114 min.

Stater rating (out of five): 3.0

Fire ships immersed in a holy war, like ticking bombs bowling over the Spanish Armada in the rolling water. The beheading of the Queen’s cousin, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. The bloody, tortured deaths of revolting Papists within the Roman Catholic Church.

This is the action we see in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, while the rest of the movie widely focuses on the Queen’s personal and intimate relationships — and that, surprisingly, is this movie’s secret weapon.

Cate Blanchett plays the Queen in this stunning sequel, as she struggles with her role as Queen of England — devoting her soul and her body to her country, her family’s betrayal and her need of love.

While Elizabeth humors her people by dismissing one suitor after the next, the Spanish King Philip II (Jordi Molla of Blow) begins to build his army and powerful sea armada, determined to restore England to Catholicism.

As Elizabeth prepares to defend her kingdom, she inevitably falls short in her fight for love with the dashing Sir Walter Raleigh (Owen). At the end of Elizabeth (the prequel to The Golden Age), she cuts off all of her long, red hair and paints her face white so she could ensure the absence of a master. But now, she struggles to remain without love and without children, “Childless, I am mother to my people.”

“I didn’t feel I completed the story of Elizabeth,” director Shekhar Kapur said in an interview with USA Today. “I didn’t complete the story of power really. That’s why, it seemed like the story was left incomplete, and I’m not even sure I can promise that this will be the last one either.”

Ten years ago, Kapur approached Elizabeth’s role in much the same way he did this time. However, she was by no means as strong as she is in the sequel. She is young and in love with Lord Robert Dudley. As a crowned young woman, Elizabeth faces difficult decisions about producing an heir as well as an England divided by faith: Protestant vs. Catholic.

Similar to Elizabeth, the film deals heavily with her love life and, with the aid of Sir Francis Walshingham (Geoffrey Rush), she captures and executes her enemies. Elizabeth’s ascendancy of the throne proves to be shaky as she refuses all of her suitors and claims the title as “The Virgin Queen.”

This movie unveils a new side to history: a pulse. The Golden Age brings alive the supposed feelings of one strong and powerful woman who maintains her roles both as a virgin and as the Queen of England. It’s a rush watching such a powerful woman perform, and Blanchett does this female figure justice.

If you’re expecting battle scenes (and some seriously amazing abs) like those from 300, then you’ll be disappointed — this story of Elizabeth focuses more on her ability to deal with her commitment to her kingdom and abstinence, and the down-right luck of England’s choppy waters.

Contact all correspondent Jenna Gerling at [email protected].