I wanted to see this film when it was in the theatres, but it seemed it was gone in the blink of an eye. Having watched this long-awaited DVD, I can see why it had a short run.
I loved the prequel, "Elizabeth", and had eagerly looked forward to this sequel. Upon viewing it, I was a tad disappointed. It totally omits a pivotal character, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, the man who was Elizabeth's confidante and played a vital role in the events of the day. Instead, the screenplay chooses to focus on a supposed romance between Sir Walter Raleigh and Elizabeth, which plays itself out against the backdrop of a serious threat of war with Spain. Unfortunately, this supposed romance simply does not ring true, striking a false note, and therein lies the rub. The screenplay was poorly written, and the film came across as choppy and poorly edited. Consequently, unless one is familiar with the historical events of the day, the viewer might find the plot confusing. On the plus side, the costumes, the sets, and, above all, the acting were magnificent.
Cate Blanchett, as always, is terrific as Elizabeth, although she looked like a woman in her thirties rather than one supposedly in her fifties, which has a somewhat jarring effect. Geoffrey Rush is once again excellent in the role of Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth's spymaster. Clyde Owen makes for a very virile and dashing Sir Walter Raleigh, while Abbie Cornish is delightful as Elizabeth "Bess" Throckmorton, the Queen's lady-in-waiting and Raleigh's true love.
While I love period films, I would recommend that one rent, rather than buy, this DVD. Although I enjoyed the film, somewhat, I was torn between awarding it three or four stars. In the end, however, the crappy script overwhelmed the efforts of its stellar cast. I only hope that if there is to be another sequel that the script rises to the level of the talented cast. Unfortunately, here it does not.