One good thing about movies based on historical events is that you don't have to worry too much about spoilers. This movie is a tad fuzzy on accuracy, with artistic license taking preference over history, but you can't hide the fact that it's really great on the period costumes and the talent pool assembled for the lead roles.
Cate Blanchett can ace any role she decides to take, and when you add hunky Clive Owen and charismatic Geoffrey Rush, you have a dream cast to work with. Unfortunately, the movie centers on Elizabeth's attraction to Raleigh, and what happens when the monarch doesn't get her man, and takes much too long to get around to anything else.
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS)
1. Spain rocks under Philip II
2. Phil sets his sights on taking over England, because for one, their religion is all wrong, and secondly, they've got too many pesky pirates (arrrrh)
3. Elizabeth I's biological clock won't be ticking much longer, and she has yet to bear an heir, much less a spare.
4. Raleigh appears, bearing gifts from the New World. Taters and baccy are considered the IN-gifts of the season.
5. Raleigh dallies and dazzles. (Mainly because he's Clive Owen, who can dazzle with the best of them) Liz is smitten
6. Phil gets busy building boats and hatching schemes
7. Politics and religion get together and heads start rolling
8. Mary turns out to be quite contrary
9. War breaks, and so does Liz's heart
10. Liz dons shiny armor and gives pep talk
11. Spanish Armada meets an ill wind. Walter rallies, but battle scenes suck
12. Spanish fleet gets huevo en sus caras
All in all, this movie focuses on sets and costumes, dramatic scenes and romance, and doesn't really get fired up about details like historical accuracy. A good rental choice for the eye candy. Rated: 3.5 stars