miércoles, 20 de febrero de 2008

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Due to my sickitude, I haven't done much but watch TV/vids for a couple of days. This morning, I watched Elizabeth: The Golden Age. This isn't a craptacular film and there's something about regal historical dresses/hair/makeup that makes any film entertaining. Besides, it's always nice to watch Clive Owen strut around the place (does Clive Owen ever walk, or is strutting his natural means of transportation?)

However, there were a couple issues that seriously bugged me.

1) The Spanish. Jordi Mollà (Spanish actor) plays Felipe II which means that the Spanish isn't completely awful. This is good. After watching The Tudors, I unconsciously brace every time someone on an English speaking movie starts twisting their mouths into the wide open vowels of Spanish. However, someone (probably the director) told Jordi Mollà not to speak his perfectly good Spanish like he normally would. The director (or whoever botched this up) just couldn't believe how fast real Spanish is, so instead, he has the King talking... reaaaally slow... as... if... Spanish monarchs... were for some reason... in love with the ellipsis.

Now, listen people. There's a reason Reptilian Humanoids favour Spanish: you can carry out a complete conversation and still clickety-clack encrypted second and third messages for Alpha Centauri in the same amount of time it takes an English Speaker to say "I'm from Texas".

Furthermore, the script writers must have forced him to say the subject in every single phrase (Hint: native speakers don't say the subjects, since subjects are included in the verb tense. Perfect accent+subject in phrase=CIA operative who needs a couple more month's training. Aka: not native speaker)

2) The Queen SUCKS. This is the scriptwriters fault. The Queen sucks BECAUSE SHE'S A WOMAN. There's ample film tradition in this respect. In this version of Joan of Arc, Joan is not only a raving lunatic (which is historical fact) but also quite the idiot and the men around her only follow her due to their utter and complete desperation. The movie also makes an effort to appear as a farce, hence robbing Joan of Arc of as much power and historical punch as physically possible.

Ok, I know the Middle Ages weren't great for women's lib, but in all ages and time periods there have been women that have been followed because they were
a) religious leaders
b) great Queens or political leaders
c) hot.
This happened. Denying that there powerful women existed before the twentieth century is insulting in the extreme.

Back to Elizabeth: the Golden Age. Great care is put to portray the sovereign as powerful and majestus--that is, until it matters. The moment hot guy (Clive Owen) arrives she comes apart like a fifteen year old schoolgirl. Much has been made of the Virgin Queen's ehm, virginity, but I doubt she would have kept it for so long if the first pirate to arrive in court caused her to lose control like this. Even if the pirate was Clive Owen.

There's a metaproblem here that I find even more worrying. I sense that the scriptwriters felt that if they didn't make her vulnerable, she wouldn't be likable. Because, you know, a woman who can keep a lid on her emotions isn't an actual woman? Cold bitch, anyone? Cough, cough Hillary Clinton.

Elizabeth's strengths, as portrayed in the film, are gender neutral (English snark, intelligence, eloquence) or stem from her suppressing her femaleness (virginity), while her defects (jealousy, doubt, fear) are all sort-of, but-not-quite pinned on the fact that she's a lonely female monarch in a man's world.

But it's one o'clock in the morning and maybe I'm reading too much into a stupid film.

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