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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

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Released 12-Mar-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Main Menu Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Various featurettes
Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes
More…-Free offer for cosmetics
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 110:05
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:29) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Shekhar Kapur

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Jordi Mollà
Aimee King
Geoffrey Rush
Cate Blanchett
John Shrapnel
Susan Lynch
Elise McCave
Samantha Morton
Abbie Cornish
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI ? Music Craig Armstrong
A.R. Rahman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, if you count the extras...
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    After the 1999 Oscars Ceremony, I was the most livid I can ever remember being about the Oscars. For some reason which I still cannot explain, Cate Blanchett's stunning, powerful and multi-layered performance in Elizabeth was overlooked for Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love for the Best Actress Oscar. I have nothing against Ms Paltrow particularly but to my mind Blanchett's was one of the greatest performances by an actress I have seen. Elizabeth itself (a worthy Best Film nominee) was also a stunningly beautiful film with marvellous costumes, wonderful music, great acting throughout the cast and a tight and dramatic script. All of this was brought together by the direction of Shekhar Kapur who was then still relatively unknown. Since then Kapur has only directed one other film, The Four Feathers, before turning his hand to Elizabeth's sequel, Elizabeth - The Golden Age. Blanchett returns as Elizabeth and Geoffrey Rush returns to portray Sir Francis Walsingham, the Queen's adviser, enforcer and secret policeman.

   The action here begins in 1585, some 27 years into Elizabeth's reign, when she was already 52 years of age. Although Blanchett struggles to look 52, waiting 10 years since the first film certainly makes her much more believably the aging monarch depicted in this film. The film focuses on the threat of Philip II, King of Spain (wonderfully played by Jordi Molla) who wants to convert England to Catholicism by any means necessary. Previously, he had tried to woo Elizabeth, but in this film we see the plot, supported by Spain, to assassinate Elizabeth and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton). The Spanish Armada's attempt to invade England swiftly follows, only to be thwarted by the English naval response. The other main storyline included is Elizabeth's relationship with Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen), beginning with the famous laying down of his cloak to allow her to avoid stepping in a puddle. Raleigh's secret marriage to one of Elizabeth's ladies-in-waiting, Bess Throckmorton (Abby Cornish) also forms a key plot point here.

    Many of the excellent elements that made Elizabeth such a wonderful film are included here such as the costumes, sets, cinematography, music and high quality acting are all replicated here, however, the script is nowhere near the quality of the first film. This part of Elizabeth's life has recently been much better portrayed from a scripting perspective in Elizabeth I, the mini series which I have previously reviewed. The story shown in this film lacks the drama, complexity and excitement of Elizabeth. There is a bit too much talking early in the movie and the film generally lacks scenes of great drama like those included in the first film. One example which sticks in the memory from the first film is the confrontation with parliament. I also felt that the plot to replace Elizabeth with Mary was not well told in this adaptation.

    On the other hand, there is excellent use of light and colour and the cast mostly do a wonderful job with their characters. Blanchett is excellent (and Oscar nominaed) as usual, bringing a great combination of anger, regret, passion and power to the role. Clive Owen is a good romantic foil for both her and Abby Cornish, Rush is good , if underused, as the slimy Walsingham and Rhys Ifans is very effective as the Jesuit renegade, Robert Reston. Jordi Molla was delightfully mad and sinister as the fundamentalist Philip of Spain. I thought the use of Spanish rather than English for his dialogue heightened the impact of his character. The only casting choice I was not sure about was Samantha Morton as Mary. The Scottish accent didn't really fit for a character who lived most of her life in France.

    Overall, this is a visually impressive and well acted movie that does not come up to the standard of its predecessor especially in screenplay terms. Worth a rental for fans of the original film.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is excellent.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was wonderfully clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise or grain of any description.The shadow detail was excellent.

    The colour was fantastic with incredible richness and depth of colour. There were no colour blemishes of any kind.

    The only artefacts I noticed were that the burned-in onscreen captions at the beginning of the film shimmered which annoyed my eyes a little and there was also a couple of very minor spots of aliasing.

    There are subtitles in English, Czech, Polish, Bulgarian, Greek & Romanian. These are available in all languages for both the feature and the director's commentary. There are also two automatic subtitle streams for on-screen captions and Spanish language translation. These are in English and Czech.

    The layer change occurs at 65:29 and is not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains three audio options (not including the commentary), an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 384 Kb/s and the same in Czech & Polish. The cover mentions a 5.1 surround voiceover which seems to refer to the foreign language tracks.

    Dialogue was very clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Craig Armstrong & AH Rahmen is excellent adding greatly to the grandeur and beauty of the film and its cinematography.

    The surround speakers were very well used without sounding like a modern action film (which is a good thing considering the style of film). They especially stood out during the sea battle sequence towards the end of the film.

    The subwoofer was also well used for cannon fire, music and the sea battle.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    A good selection of on-disc and off-disc extras are included. All are 16x9 enhanced unless noted otherwise.


    The menu design is very good featuring music and motion and a functional user interface.

Cosmetics Offer

    This disc includes a voucher for a pack of cosmetics worth $19.95 (at least according to the voucher). I cannot say whether this is available from all retailers.

Deleted Scenes (8:50)

    Despite lacking 16x9 enhancement this includes some interesting and worthwhile extra scenes including more of Mary, Bess & Raleigh, Mary's dismembered head and more. Worth watching.

The Reign Continues : Making of Elizabeth - The Golden Age (11:25)

    This is pretty much the standard promo style making of featurette with many talking heads and scenes from the film and from behind-the-scenes. Blanchett's interview material is quite interesting and a longer form interview with her would have been quite worthwhile.

Inside Elizabeth's World (7:25)

    Strangely this extra is 'Brought to you by XXX (large car company)' and covers the locations, sets and production design all of which are impressive.

Commanding the Winds : Creating the Armada (12:05)

    An interesting featurette about the ships and how they were created for the film. They made a life size ship within a soundstage which was one half Spanish and one half Raleigh's ship. Also covers how the CGI was integrated.

Towers, Courts & Cathedrals (10:45)

    Covers the use of light, how they exploited the locations and use of camera perspective.

Director's Commentary

    This is the highlight of the extras and a high quality commentary by Shekhar Kapur. He is very interesting and erudite covering his reasons for doing another film, deleted scenes, trivia, meanings in the imagery, the nature of power and divinity, casting, historical facts, camera work and his style and approach to film making. Excellent.



R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis lets just call it a draw. This movie has been released on HD-DVD in the United States but not locally as it was withdrawn.


    A visually impressive and well acted sequel to the much superior original film.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The disc has a good selection of extras without being spectacular.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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