Plot: What’s it about?
The story is based on the bastard daughter Elizabeth, the virgin queen. (like you didn’t know that) In the beginning Queen Mary is dying and she needs an offspring or Elizabeth ( Cate Blanchett) will take over the throne. The queen dies and Elizabeth takes over the crown and right away she, and you watching, realize who are the ones she can trust and the ones she will never trust. Her right hand man or advisor, Walsingham, (Geoffrey Rush) looks out for the well being of the Queen and her crown. Sir William Cecil (Richard Attenborough) is another one of her advisors who pretty much suggests on what the Queen should do and the action to do it in.
Elizabeth meets a man and falls in love with him before she is Queen and even continues to do so while she is queen. The man is Earl of Leicester. (Joseph Fiennes) They continue their affair behind close doors. (literally) The people who were there before the bastard took over the country want to kill and or dethrone her so they can take control of the kingdom again. The evil Duke of Norfolk (Christopher Eccleston) is the leader of this group along with the church that has lost their Queen to death and has watched as the new Queen has taken the country to a new low. He can’t bare to watch this happen anymore and wants her out at any cost. With Walsingham watching over his Queen and her appointed staff, it is a lot harder than the Duke thinks.
Blanchett and Rush were both nominated for Oscars for their roles in Elizabeth and the acting is first rate by all members of the cast. I normally don’t notice the cinematography unless it really stands out and in this movie it does. The castles are gloomy and cold and damp. You feel the eeriness of each dark hallway and staircase located throughout the castle. The movie has a dark tone throughout so don’t expect a Shakespeare in Love movie here. This is a very good movie that should not be overlooked.
Video: How does it look?
This is a 16:9 enhanced picture that is pretty good. In some of the darker scenes in the castles you do see a bit of graininess in the picture, but not enough to detract from the movie. At times you can almost see the humidity in the air in the English countryside. A good picture but not great.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is a good soundtrack that fits the movie well. Dialogue is clear and the surround speakers deliver the echoes of the castle and cathedrals well. The music comes to life in the movie, but don’t expect much work form your subwoofer in this one. This is mostly dialogue driven and the music matches it well.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This is not labeled a Special Edition and it very well should be. It has the director’s commentary by Shekkhar Kapur, a making of Elizabeth documentary type, a featurette, theatrical trailer and teaser, Cast and crew biographies and a photo gallery.