When I was in a summer program in England on Tudor and Stuart history and literature, I once had the pleasure of seeing one of my classmates react with visceral horror at the historical mockery that was the original Elizabeth. He was particularly amazed at the absurdly short shrift given to Lord Burleigh, as anyone familiar with the period would be.
Don’t misunderstand me. As a work of cinema and as a matter of acting, Elizabeth was impressive and deserved to beat that preposterous Shakespeare in Love (which stole its deserved Best Picture and Best Actress awards) in every category. For their sins, Gwynneth Paltrow went on to make such masterpieces as Proof and Joseph Fiennes disappeared into a cinematic void after his weaselly character was shot in the head in Enemy at the Gates (though, I am sorry to see, he is poised to sully the good name of Vivaldi by taking on the lead role in a film of the same name).
As Chris Orr tells us, the Elizabeth sequel is a different story, filled with dialogue that might have been scrounged from the wastebins at the writing sessions for Star Wars, Episodes II and III:
Him: “Why be afraid of tomorrow, when today is all we have?” Her: “In another world and at another time, could you have loved me?”
On the plus side, I have heard that the music is by A.R. Rahman, who wrote, among other things, the score for the Oscar-nominated Lagaan, so perhaps there is some small redeeming virtue left in the film.