Who's in It:
Cate Blanchett, Clive Owen, Geoffrey Rush, Samantha Morton, Abbie Cornish, Rhys Ifans, Tom Hollander
The Basics: It's 1585, and she's all grown up now. Still hasn't shaken that whole virginity thing though. Owen wants to help fix that, but then war comes along, and Elizabeth I's duty is to open up a can of whup-ass on the Spanish Armada, who are bound to save England from the Satanic influence of the Protestant Church. But you know she'd rather be getting it on with lusty Clive instead.
What's the Deal? How do you make simmering sexuality, fancy costumes, royal weirdness and maniacal war boring? I don't have the recipe myself, but the people who made this movie got all the ingredients right and then poached it when they should have seared. Or something. It ends up being all over the place, neither epic enough nor intimate enough and, most importantly, worst of all, totally indecisive about what sort of woman Blanchett's queen is supposed to be. Vulnerable? Irrational? Vindictive? Frivolous? Wishy-washy? Swooning? Armor-clad and ready to smite some evildoers? I miss the wit and cunning and steel-trap personality that earlier incarnation displayed.
Who's Good and Who's Great: Blanchett is always interesting to watch. Her inherently self-deprecating coolness comes through all the time. If she hadn't participated, then it wouldn't be worth watching at all. But it's Morton as Mary, Queen of Scots, imprisoned and super-pissed off about it, that gives the movie momentary jolts of energy.
What's INCREDIBLE: Blanchett's battle armor and insane wig are great, but they can't hold a candle to the wig they've put ON HER HORSE.
What's Even More Incredible, and by Incredible, I Mean, "Wow. Really?": We are to believe, based on the Queen's prayers, that God shifted the actual wind that caused the Spanish Armada to be defeated. Theological lesson: The Almighty Creator likes England better than Spain.