starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Clive Owen, Samantha Morton
screenplay by William Nicholson and Michael Hirst
directed by Shekhar Kapur
by Walter Chaw I don't mind historical pictures that aren't historically accurate until that historical inaccuracy--like in U-571, for instance--becomes so fucking retarded that it lowers the temperature of the room. Elizabeth: The Golden Age is just that fucking stupid. Should being dumb not be reason enough to avoid this movie, know that it's also unintentionally hilarious, appears to have had its screenplay ghost-written by Bob Dylan, and casts Catholics and Spaniards as Skeksis in some perverse re-imagining of The Dark Crystal as a psychodrama about the cherry-busting beheading of Mary, Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton, dreadfully wasted) and penile conjugation-by-double-proxy of rapscallion Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) into the hallowed womb (and womb-like cathedral interiors of this England). Cate Blanchett reprises her role from director Shekhar Kapur's first Bollywoodization of British history (he made one other, The Four Feathers, in between) as the Virgin Queen born fully-formed from the school of Arch and Tic. (I wonder if soon there'll be any actresses left who haven't played one Elizabeth or another--seems the distaff "Hamlet" proving ground of our time.) There's a Nostradamus character for whatever goddamned reason, a candlelit bath scene only because it's mandated in sub-BBC pieces of shit like this, and a thinly-veiled CIA spook, Sir Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush), who acts as Elizabeth's chief intelligence officer.