(By Gerry Wang)

(Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Joseph Fiennes)
Gerry Wang

_____Me being a history major, and more than average knowledge regarding the Elizabethan Tudor era, I knew watching ELIZABETH would be a mistake. This is exactly the kind of movie where I'd nitpick the little insignificant details.

_____Which is what I did during this movie. Boy, did I tear it apart. There were people alive who shoulda been dead, people who looked younger than they were supposed to be, things that occurred that didn't match the chronology of history........... but I realize that I must look past the minute details, because this is a movie. Not a friggin' documentary.

_____The movie started off on the wrong foot by portraying the burning of Protestants by the dying Bloody Mary Tudor, the Queen of England. I knew they burned Protestants, so it wasn't too difficult to watch, but damn the caterwauling of the victims just totally grated on my ears. I wanted them to shut up.

_____Another thing I didn't like about the movie was the director's style of film making. The director's some Indian dude that I don't remember the name of. But the point is that his style was wrong to fit the mood of the Elizabethan times. Granted, it was a glorious era in English history, and the wonderful costumes and period sets reflected this brilliantly. But the way the movie was shot was a little too weird. A little too exotic. It didn't seem like the usual England we all know.

_____ELIZABETH details Elizabeth I's ascension to the throne, and how her tenuous grasp on it really were. There were constantly attempts to overthrow her, and she faced a lot of opposition from the Catholic side. I hope you all know about the Protestant vs. Catholic struggle that has marred the history of Earth.

_____There were many fine performances in ELIZABETH, with the obvious one being Cate Blanchett's portrayal of the monarch. She has a fiery look in her eyes that shows Elizabeth's inner strength perfectly. Another excellend performance was from Geoffrey Rush, who won an Oscar for SHINE. He played the spymaster Sir Robert Walsingham, who was Elizabeth I's trusted advisor. He's the one behind the scenes squelching assassination plots. He's a badass. They shoulda made a whole movie on Walsingham. I love this spy intrigue stuff.

_____Overall, ELIZABETH lacked the epic grandeur one would expect from a movie about one of the most influential rulers in history. There was no mention of Elizabeth's achievements, just the story of how she came to the throne. Where's the Spanish Armada? That would've been a welcome sight to see. The movie was also too dark. We could sense the richness and color of the Elizabethan age, but it was covered by shadows and darkness. We should have been able to see the majesty of England, not the pits of England. Very disappointing.

Chick-o-meter: 3 (Strong-willed woman overcoming the odds to become one of the most respected realpolitiks in history. Girls should like it, and will with Elizabeth's struggle in never finding true love.)

*See 9/29/'98 video pick of the week #1 for scale info