... or "the Top Ten Reasons to Scoop Your Eyeballs Out with A Searingly Hot Spoon Rather Than Be Subjected to Such Obnoxious Twaddle"
10. Clive Owen -- Normally, Clive Owen with his dark looks and chiseled chin is a good thing. In this movie...meh...not so much. Oh sure he is rugged and handsome and looks lovely as Sir Walter Raleigh, but historical inaccuracies abound making Clive Owen look like the court jester with a better codpiece. He says morose things with dead eyes that stare wistfully at the sea and when he gets all sexy over a lady-in-waiting he looks as turned on as PETA activist in a slaughterhouse.
9. Bad Poetry, Oh Noetry -- One of the major historical inaccuracies is Queen Lizzy falling in love with the dashing Raleigh. What makes this even more far-fetched is that Lizzy's lust is heightened by long boring scenes of Raleigh pontificating on the beauty of discovering the new world. And the wind. And the land. And the albatross...(okay there is no albatross). And Queenie squirms, SQUIRMS, listening to Raleigh describing land looking like a "smudge."
8. Female Hysteria -- We all know that even though she is the spawn of Henry the Eighth, Elizabeth is, unfortunately, plagued with having a vagina. Having a vagina means that she is completely unfulfilled by power and wealth and would rather have Raleigh in a cottage with some brats running about. This is evidenced by her bipolar like behavior towards Raleigh. She loves him so much she commands him to not go back to the new world but to stay in England with her (eyelash flutter). In actuality, Raleigh stayed because of impending war and not so that Lizzie could get her "quaint honor" all worked up over him. Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Elizabeth is embarrassing. There are plenty of shrieks, tantrums, agonized expressions, blank stares of despair, and the classic Blanchett "I'm-covering-my-mouth-dramatically-to-stifle-the-screams" move.
7. Bad Montage -- This sapfest climaxes in a really bad montage about midway through the movie. Basically, the director took scenes from the first Lizzy movie. It is the part where she is dancing with her Duddikins (a.k.a Dudley, Earl of Essex) and takes out the Dudley to replace the scene with WALTER RALEIGH. Really, REALLY?! Oh, poor Lizzy. She hasn't been properly laid and all that sexual tension from Dudders has given her blue balls. She is unable to even think about her duties as sovereign when she is pining over her past loves (Duddy) and her new interests (Raleigh).
6. Assassins Running A-Muck -- So everyone knows that there are plenty of folks who would love to off Lizzy and get a good ole' Catholic queen. Security is increased; the council is on alert and Lizzy is .... off riding horses alone with Raleigh, walking into churches with nary a guard and only her gleaming purity to save her (apparently, when the queen wears white she glows like that chic from Touched by an Angel). Towards the end, Lizzy stands on some cliffs looking out to sea at the burning Armada in her nightie with the wind whipping round her. So much for royal propriety.
5. Mary Queen of Scots WTF -- In this film Mary Q. is portrayed as a vile trollop. Okay. I can buy that, depending on which interpretation you read of MQ's bio she was a bit haughty. What is completely effed up is that MQ is executed in a sort of throne room, wearing a scarlet dress and the entire execution is screwy from a historical standpoint. Oh, yes, it is all very dramatic. But not right and frankly since mostly nerd watch these sorts of historical movies I think that directors have a duty to nerding-types.
4. Not giving Drake his due -- Drake gets a slight nod mid-way through the Armada sequence, but he definitely doesn't get the mad props he deserves. Raleigh is credited with the piracy that pissed off Spain (that was Drake) and Raleigh has the brilliant idea for fire ships (Drake again). Raleigh was present during the Armada show-down, but didn't play a large part in the ass kicking.
3. They Fucked up the Armada Scene -- According to this film Raleigh (Clive Owen) saves the day by kicking the Spanish Armada's ass nearly single-handedly. In addition to Drake only being mentioned in passing, John Hawkins (the leader of the English fleet) doesn't get mentioned at all. And Raleigh certainly didn't dive into the flaming waters of the Atlantic nor did he scale burning ships.
2. Overt Symbolism -- At the end of the film King Philip of Spain is praying to God about this defeat. He says to his Jeebus that he (Philip) is the light and wishes to lead England out of damnation. Then the candle blows out. And rosary beads sink into the flaming ocean and a cross dips under a wave. (Rolls eyes). All this while Lizzy stands in her nightie looking into the night with a look of quick victory on her face. Painful. Oh so painful.
1. Stupid -- it was stupid.
The ONE REDEEMING QUALITY -- according to roommate (a.k.a. Fashion Design major) they used lovely brocades.