October 12, 2007

Orgasmic moments in film/film reviewing.

Manohla Dargis describes a scene in the new movie "Elizabeth: The Golden Age":
Declaiming from atop her white horse, her legs now conspicuously parted as she straddles the jittery, stamping animal, she invokes God and country, blood and honor, life and death, bringing to mind at once Joan of Arc, Henry V, Winston Churchill and Tony Blair in one gaspingly unbelievable, cinematically climactic moment. The queenly body quakes as history and fantasy explode.
This movie is getting a lot of bad reviews, possibly from people who don't get or don't appreciate what it's trying to do. Let's check in with Steven D. Greydanus of Decent Films Guide:
A lurid sort of Christopher Hitchens vision of history pervades Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Shekhar Kapur’s sequel to his 1998 art-house hit Elizabeth.
Christopher Hitchens? He's everywhere. (Omnipresent.)
The earlier film, which made a star of Cate Blanchett as the eponymous Virgin Queen, celebrated the triumph of bright, happy Elizabethan Protestantism over the dark, unwholesome Catholic world of Bloody Mary. Even so, that film’s church-bashing was tame compared that of this sequel, in which everything bad, evil and corrupt in the world ultimately is ultimately the bitter fruit of Religion. And by Religion, I mean Catholicism....

In attacking England, Philip [II of Spain] is convinced that he’s on a mission from God: “England is enslaved to the devil,” he declares. “We must set her free.” Certain that God is on his side as he leads his nation into a holy war that becomes a debacle, Philip couldn’t be a blacker, nuttier Hollywood villain if his middle initial were W.
Wait. Isn't Spain al Qaeda?
Other flirtations with topicality in this pre-election year include assassins and conspirators praying secretly in a foreign language while plotting their murderous attacks, and the Machiavellian Sir Francis Walsingham (returning Geoffrey Rush) torturing a captured conspirator during an interrogation. (Tom Hollander, who costarred with Rush in the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, is running around somewhere in this picture, an odd juxtaposition in another film that ends with a sea battle with cannons.)

The film does go on to concede that the Spanish have other grievances against the English besides religion, such as the Queen’s tolerant stance on English pirates like Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) raiding Spanish ships.
Sex, religion, politics, pirates... Let's go to the movies!

23 comments:

Ron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron said...

Those English raiders would have looked over the cargo holds of the Spanish ships, as they claimed to just be bringing supplies...but nobody inspects the Spanish requisition!

rhhardin said...

It all seems like portentious film parody to me.

Everybody sounds like John Kerry, speaking entirely for posterity.

I must not be the target audience.

Donald Douglas said...

Well, certainly my fantasy's an explosion with Cate Blanchett!

Ron said...

John Kerry? He was opposed to the Spanish Armada before he was in favor of it!

MadisonMan said...

Movie theaters should play the two Cate Blanchett Elizabeth movies back to back.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Ron that was an unfair comment.

Do you know what it's like to squirt hot coffee through your nose when you laugh?

But it was worth it! LOL

Paul Zrimsek said...

John Kerry? He was opposed to the Spanish Armada before he was in favor of it!

Spoken like a true dup of lying Tudor shill Francis Drake and his Swift Bowlers.

paul a'barge said...

It's dupe, not dup.

LarsPorsena said...

Francis Drake can kiss my golden hind.

PatCA said...

I never could understand the critical hosannas for this director's first Liz film, which looked to me like it was shot by a DP swinging upside down on a circus trapeze above his actors.

Now I get it: he hates the right religion and civilization. As Decent Films ponders, could an enemy here of Arabic or Muslim origin be even imagined?

Brian D said...

Steve Greydanus is writing from a Catholic world view and writing primarily for a Catholic audience.

Note that he rates movies for both their artistic value and their moral values.

Once you acknowledge his bias, then his review is not surprising.

halojones-fan said...

Part of my idea of heaven involves an entire room full of TVs, running the scenes from "Fellowship of the Ring" where Cate Blanchett gives the speech about "all shall love me and despair!"

Oh, YES. Makes me shift a bit in my chair just thinkin' about it.

Ralph said...

The first movie was Elizabeth as mafia godmother.
Not a chance the real queen rode astride the horse. Her speech to her troops is well documented.

PatCA said...

Brian,
You sound as if you disapprove of someone openly acknowledging what issues he is concerned with in a review. That's what film theory does, in part--analyze film as it exists within a theoretical structure.

I think it's refreshingly welcome in a world where liberal, anti-Christian bias is so pervasive yet never acknowledged.

Beth said...

Her speech to the troops is a good one, but the battle was already won at sea, so the troops massed at Tilbury heard a great speech, but didn't have to save the day.

Ralph said...

They didn't get paid, either.

hrishi said...

Shekhar Kapoor was a popular filmaker in Bombay before he started making films in England. I saw the first Elizabeth as sort of patriotic duty but thought it was crap. Shekhar then made 4 feathers with Kate Hudson and my brother saw that one and he said that was even worse than Elizabeth. In case any one is interested, Shekhar Kapoor made a wonderful remake of Man, Woman, and Child called Masoom which means the Innocent.

Trooper York said...

That's right, Mr. Garrison. Christopher Columbus discovered America and was the Indians' best friend. He helped the Indians win their war against Frederick Douglass and freed the Hebrews from Napoleon and discovered France."
(South Par 1999)

halojones-fan said...

Ah yes, back when South Park was good...(i.e. the original 'video Christmas Card' short, and the first episode.)

Paddy O. said...

[after Capt. Thorpe tells the Queen his plan to ambush the Spanish in Panama]

Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe: Madam, our plunder would be the richest prize ever brought back to England.
Queen Elizabeth: Could such a plan possibly succeed?

Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe: It would have one chance of success: if the Spanish were taken by complete surprise. Have I your permission to try, Madam?

Queen Elizabeth: [she paces and considers his plan] Captain Thorpe, if you undertook such a venture you would do so without the approval of the Queen of England. But you would take with you the grateful affection of Elizabeth.

Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe: Then, Madam, I shall take with me that which I prize above all things.

(The Sea Hawk starring Errol Flynn, 1940)

M. Simon said...

"Let them come with the armies of hell. They will not pass."

I like that.

Hector Owen said...

Sounds like it's about halfway to Gloriana.I'd like to see that movie. I'll try to see this one.