Elizabeth – The Golden Age

July 2nd, 2008

Not good. Really, really not good.

I liked the first film, quite a lot.

I did not like this. At all. It had the feel of one of those tele-movie cash in sequels that have none of the original cast. Except with the original cast. It looked cheap, though it obviously wasn’t. Locations that looked like sets, small and cramped, as if everything was done on a sound stage. The director seemed obsessed with tracking shots peeping around pillars, or focus pulls through filligree screens. Maybe they spent all the money on pillars and screens, and wanted to use them to best effect.

Plotting that was neither historically accurate nor telling a convincing story, darted around all over the place, never settling on one thing but at the same time constantly outstaying its welcome. Totally unconvincing behaviour from everyone concerned. During the thrilling battle with the Spanish Armada, I went away to check my email I was that irritated.

Dull, silly, pointless dialogue. An object lesson in how to make a great cast (and Clive Owen) look rubbish. I mean, you have to work real hard to make Geoffrey Rush look wooden. But they managed it.

The positives? Splendid costumes. Er…

It was not a golden age for me. No sir.


I feel nostalgic for I am Legend.

Posted in film and tv by Joe Abercrombie on July 2nd, 2008. Tags:

13 comments so far

  • etrangere says:

    Go watch In Brusges, it’s awesome.

  • Elena says:

    You obviously didn’t see the comments about it being a “costume drama.”

    oh, yeah, and in bruges certainly entertained me…

  • The boats were good, I liked the boats. As for Clive Owen, hey it couldn’t have been worse than his performance in Shoot Em Up, where he’s acting as a midwife whilst killing anything that moves…

  • Etrangere,

    Costumes it had. Drama it did not.

    I thought the boats were weak. I hate CGI. And all the exterior shots were so tinkered with and effect-i-fied that they felt part of a different film. None of it hung together.

    Clive Owen is an interesting one. He’s great at doing charming but untrustworthy, slightly cowardly small-time everymen. So excellent in Children of Men. But he basically does that in every role, whether Sir Walter Raleigh or King Arthur. Not good casting. Double plus not good. Keanu Reeves is another like that – lovable yet clueless outsider, fair enough (Bill and Ted or the Matrix). Anything else, not so much.

  • T.D. Newton says:

    Couldn’t agree more. This one lacked the punch that the original Elizabeth had and was, for lack of a better word, just plain boring. Half the time I didn’t know what was going on (but I blame that a little on being American and having absolutely zero concept of European history except what I’ve tried hard to learn on my own). Boo.

  • Tim Stretton says:

    Sad to say, it was utter shite–a real shame after the first one was so good.

    It’s rare to see a film with nothing whatsoever to commend it. At once boring and insulting…

  • My biggest issue was the way it put across the classic bull-shitty “she just needed a real man” message.

    They should have just renamed Walter Raleigh’s character to Indiana Jones and been done with it.

  • innokenti says:

    I rather enjoyed it really. Not as much as the first Elizabeth… but still.

    I suspect it may have had something to do with the Tilbury scene – which was simply awesome.

    Then again – that was pretty much my lasting impression of it, so clearly the rest wasn’t up to scratch.

    Incidentally, been to a book signing in Reading today. Debut fantasy author Adrian Tchaikovsky with “Empire in Black and Gold” – so far its an excellently brilliant book and I recommend picking it up if you ever have the chance to even consider it. Busy author man that you are.

  • Oh bum. I was hoping this one would be good — but if the dialogue makes Geoffrey Rush look stilted and wooden, then it must be bad! 🙁 He’s an awesome actor.

    Empire in Black and Gold is a book that I’ve gradually been hearing more and more good things about.

  • tim,
    I wish it was rare than it is…

    the relationship between elizabeth and sir clive ralegh was just utterly unconvincing in every way.

    impressive that you have the stones to defend it when everyone’s putting the boot in. Not easy to do. I admire your guts. But in this case not your taste, obviously. A ha ha.

    I have heard a few whispers about this black and gold business. Is it one of these epic fantasy thingies, though? Dragons and magic swords and all that? Dunno about that…

  • I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet — but from what I’ve heard, the generic cover art, and the bland title and cover blurb, is totally unsuited to the type of book it is 🙂

    Robert at Fantasy Book Critic says, “it’s really like no other epic fantasy novel that I’ve ever read before and I had a hard time coming up with an accurate description or ideal comparisons. Suffice to say that “Empire in Black and Gold” is a mix of many different concepts — intrigue, war, slavery, racism, technology versus magic, history, ‘insect totems’ — and is tailored to readers who want their epic fantasy to be familiar, yet refreshingly different, while remaining both epic and fantastic…”

    He even has the *audacity* to say that “Adrian Tchaikovsky is already on the same level talent-wise as such rising fantasy authors as Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, *Joe Abercrombie*…” :O


  • Beefeater says:

    Atrocious, and deeply upsetting after the first film. Fully deserving of any kicking anyone gives it. What went wrong?

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