Surprisingly, despite the year it was made, and the very 90s cinematic display, this seem so much better than its sequel (Elizabeth: The Golden Age), yet they are independently essential to each other. Cate Blanchett's portrayal of the younger queen seem to have truly captured how Elizabeth is like from the history books. Cate's presence you can say, is what drives this movie.
The first part of the film was really brilliant, then it loses its impact and turns into a typical period piece. Still is kind of embarrassing that Cate Blanchett didn't win her first Oscar for this film, a brilliant and fascinating performance indeed. The rest of the cast is just fine, with Kathy Burke giving a remarkable (but short) performance as Mary Tudor.
Undeserving of most if the accolades it got, Elizabeth is a totally unrealistic historical film, but a damned entertaining one. Cate Blanchett does wonders with an essentially one-note character that director Shekhar Kapur tries to ignite life in, and future Doctor Christopher Eccleston is as good a villain as you get in a film like this.
Got about 20 minutes into this farrago before I tore the DVD out of the machine and threw it to the floor in a rage! GARBAGE!! This is in NO WAY historical!!! People just did NOT think and act that way then! Even Cate couldn't keep me. But then.... As Richmondhill says below: "Great fun if taken as full blooded tosh." Should I get over it and set aside historical reality and give this picture another try?