Elizabeth – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director

Shekhar Kapur

Cast

Cate Blanchett ………. Elizabeth I
Geoffrey Rush ………. Sir Francis Walsingham
Christopher Eccleston ………. Duke of Norfolk
Joseph Fiennes ………. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester
Richard Attenborough ………. Sir William Cecil
Fanny Ardant ………. Mary of Guise
Eric Cantona ………. Monsieur de Foix
Vincent Cassel ………. Duc d’Anjou
Kathy Burke ………. Queen Mary Tudor
Edward Hardwicke ………. Earl of Arundel
Emily Mortimer ………. Kat Ashley
John Gielgud ………. The Pope

The Movie

On the heels of the release of Elizabeth: The Golden Age, it’s interesting to revisit the role in which Cate Blanchett originally went from being a great stage actor to being one of the top leading women in Hollywood. And while she might be on the verge of being the second person to be nominated twice for the same role, it’s interesting to see her in one of her first major roles as opposed to being one of the top leading women of the day.

Elizabeth follows the “Virgin Queen” of England (Blanchett) from her early days of questionable legitimacy as heir to the throne to being crowned Queen of England. Mainly a drama involving her royal court, as well as various foreigners, it’s an interesting costume drama to say the least. While chiefly being a vehicle for Blanchett to show off her acting talent, the film is so shockingly good-looking that it sometimes takes away from the film itself.

What’s most interesting is Blanchett as the titular character. It’s a commanding performance that would be the starting point of a legendary career only 10 years in, nominated for a handful of Oscars and winning one, and in this film she shows off some of the best acting chops of the decade. In retrospect it seems a bit odd that she didn’t win an Oscar for this, as Gwyneth Paltrow took it for Shakespeare in Love, as her performance is engrossing and magnificent. She carries film with a power rarely seen.

The film is also a gorgeous costume drama, as well. Shekhar Kapur pulls out all the stops in recreating the setting of the time period; it looks and feels so realistic it’s scary at times. It’s almost too good, as Kapur shows so much in terms of his setting that it sometimes takes away from the film itself. Elizabeth remains a powerful, if flawed, film.

A/V QUALITY CONTROL

Presented in a widescreen format with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, the film is an audio/visual smorgasbord. Already a delight to look at and listen to, the DVD release brings out the full capability of the medium/.

The Extras

Sneak Peek of Elizabeth: The Golden Age is an extended look at this film’s sequel. It’s more of an extended trailer than a true sneak peek, as it doesn’t do anything like go behind the scenes, but it presents a plethora of great material from the film.

The Making of Elizabeth is a making of featurette focusing on why everyone decided to take on the role. It’s interesting to hear so many established actors talking about the film and why they wanted to be a part of it, as well as the history involved. Interspersed with footage from the film, it makes an interesting piece that’s well above the typical EPK. It’s interesting to hear the actors and Kapur discuss the historical ramifications of early Elizabeth and what he did with the film to try and bring it out of the material.

Elizabeth Featurette is the EPK featurette that initially came out with the film in the late 90s.

The film’s Theatrical Trailer is included as well as a Photo Gallery. Kapur also contributes a Director’s Commentary.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Elizabeth
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

7.5
THE VIDEO

7.5
THE AUDIO

7.5
THE EXTRAS

7.5
REPLAY VALUE

7.5
OVERALL
7
(NOT AN AVERAGE)