Elizabeth: the golden age on DVD

Elizabeth: the golden age on DVD. Rarely does a sequel live up to its previous film, but this is one of those rare instances. Cate Blanchett was nominated for an Oscar for her 1998 portrayal of the young Queen Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne, her relationship with Lord Dudley, and her battle with male advisors eager to marry her off for political reasons in the film Elizabeth. Nine years later, Blanchett was nominated again for her reprisal of the same role as she depicts Elizabeth as a confident, fearless leader when working with her English lords or against the attacks from Spain. It is her more personal relationships that continue to cause her anguish and doubt, whether it is her testy dealings with Mary, Queen of Scots or her fascination with the adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh.

There are certain periods of history that lend themselves to dramatic representation and the reign of Elizabeth is definitely one of those. Mary plots with King Phillip of Spain to assassinate the English queen. English Catholics, including close relatives of Elizabeth’s privy counselors and ladies, support these intrigues. Sir Francis Walsingham, the queen’s spymaster builds traps to snare these traitors. Meanwhile, Phillip on his own builds the armada to invade England and men like Raleigh introduce fantastic discoveries from the new world. Director Shekar Kapur blends the historical action with an intimate look at the monarch.

The special features on the DVD are also excellent whether it’s explaining how computer graphics are used to depict the sea battles between English ships and the Spanish armada or how production designers had to hide four hundred years of improvements to the churches and cathedrals used as locations for the film.

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