Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (ENGLAND), there were a pair of film producers. One day, the producers wanted to tell a story, a story of the great Queen Elizabeth. Sadly, everyone in the land had already heard the story, so many times that it put everyone to sleep. This troubled the producers greatly as they needed the people of the land to pay for the story so they could afford to send their children to ski in Switzerland for the holidays.
One producer had a bright idea and said to the other, “What we need is a new way to tell the story! Then, no one will know they have heard the story before.”
“How will we ever do that?” said the second producer to the first.
“Well, we shall hire a new storyteller, of course. He will tell the story in a new manner as the people will enjoy today. Think of all the tall tales we heard o’er the summer! What was the most popular tale? How was it told?”
AAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!! SOMEONE SAVE ME FROM MICHæL BAY!!!!
You know, everybody wants to be Tony Scott, but they just don’t have the, uh, finesse. Director Shekhar Kapur (“Bandit Queen”), seems to have mastered the unnecessary jump-cut, if not the engaging protagonist. This film probably would have been released during the summer if they could have squeezed in an ærosmith or Kenny Loggins song.
The one thing to be said for this movie is it does go out of its way to make the French look bad, which alone is worth one of the stars above. The movie opens with fervent Catholic Queen Mary cracking down hard on her father’s Protestant Church. Childless, her advisers beg her to execute Protestant sister Elizabeth (Cate Blanchette) before she can ascend to the throne. Too late! Twenty minutes in, Mary’s dead. Elizabeth spends the rest of the movie learning how to be queen and consolidating her power, all to a thumpin’ soundtrack.
It’s strange Blanchette and Geoffrey Rush as Sir Francis Walsingham are the only ones to display subtlety in their performances as they are both Australian. All the British actors are chompin’ and stompin’ all the scenery they can. Joseph Fiennes plays Lord Robert Dudley, the Ben Affleck-style love interest as if he has a hard-on for the entire length of the film; Sir Richard Attenborough (Sir William Cecil) is his usual “Jurassic Park” self; and Christopher Eccleston (Duke of Norfolk) always looks so pissed I thought he was going to whack everybody with that board shoved up his a*s.
I think I could have used a little…less. All of the nutty editing and the loud score just grated on my nerves and failed the story. I swear, at one point, a hooded character was walking toward the camera in a dark castle and I heard Darth Vader’s theme. I’m tired of directors showing off. At least in a film like “Love is the Devil” all the style serves a purpose, but with the whole Scott Bros./Michæl Bay school I wish they would stop selling and start telling the story for a change.