October 23, 2007
Elizabeth....A Quick Weigh-In
I was going to wait to write anything about Elizabeth: The Golden Age, but then I figured we all know she winds up defeating the Spanish Armada...and besides, my comments shouldn't give too much away. Here's what I'm mulling over after seeing the movie:
1) Why didn't Mary Queen of Scots have a French accent? This vexed me for the whole film, because she was French, right? But then I thought, "Who am I to know how she might have actually spoken?" I got some answers in this excerpt from a press conference with the director Shekhar Kapur:
"So Samantha [Morton, who plays Mary] was like a dream to work through it. She was fantastic. She was just fantastic. And sometimes you’re so taken aback by an artist’s own interpretation. The only argument we had is did she have a French accent or did she have a Scottish accent? She was a Scottish queen, but accents are very funny. We assume that everybody at that time spoke Queen’s English. We have no idea, and I can bet everything that that’s not how they spoke. It’s just the genre of filmmaking. And in France, did everybody speak with that kind of French accent that we’ve now come to term as a French accent? I bet you they were from all over France. There must be a hundred accents going on in the Court. So ultimately she was more comfortable… ‘She’s the Queen of Scots, she believes she’s Queen. I want to go with a Scottish accent, go with it.’ That was it.”
See full transcript here.
2) Was it just me, or did the scene where Elizabeth teaches Raleigh how to dance with her lady-in-waiting, Bess, seem strangely too reminiscent of the scene in "Dirty Dancing" where Penny shows Baby how to dance with Johnny? I expected Eric Carmen's "Hungry Eyes" to start playing. (I was also distracted by, uh, Raleigh's hand placement in those lifts.) Of course, I should add that I did get a little verklempt when they flashed back to scenes from the first movie of young, fresh-faced Cate doing the same dance...that was indeed inspired.
3) I could have done without the scenes of swashbuckling Raleigh on his ship...it took me out of the film and seemed very Disney-esque.
Minor beefs, really, considering I was enthralled with the movie. I got chills in the opening sequence with the stained glass, and it just got better from there with Cate Blanchett's stunningly ridiculous headdresses and badass rants and Samantha Morton's histrionics upon having her secret missives discovered. The final lines mentioned something about there being peace and prosperity in Elizabeth's reign for the next 30 years. I don't care if it was boring and nothing else happens. Bring on another installment.