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With movie budgets what they are today most money seem spent on special effects than a good old fashion pageant of a movie. The producers of Elizabeth bring us back to the hay day of Hollywood when a lavish set, fantastic costumes and epics scenery command the picture. Still, all this would be fluff unless there was substance behind it. Elizabeth has substance in great abundance. The story concerns the first five years in the reign of Elizabeth the first (1533-1538). She was born from Henry VIII and Anne Bolene. A Protestant in a Catholic dominated country. The young girl is brought to the Tower of London presumably to die. Instead the dying Catholic Queen Mary, Elizabeth's half sister, tries to convince Elizabeth to renounce her faith and accept Catholicism. The young girl promises only to rule with her conscience. The coronation is a sight to behold and soon the young Elizabeth is Queen of England. Soon she finds herself in the midst of plots with in plots, a failing love affair, international pressure and pretenders to the throne. Elizabeth is incredibly played by Cate Blanchett who acts every inch the queen. Her closest advisor is played by Sir Richard Attenborough very under deployed in this film. Always around plotting for the queen is the master puppet master gloriously played by Geoffrey Rush. Each scene is well crafted by director Shekhar Kapur. The pace of the movie brings you along on a ride to another century. A must see movie.

The DVD itself lives up to the movie. The sound is realistic. This movie proves that Dolby 5.1 can be used for a lot more than special effects.  The high stone walls of the castles reverberate with the sound of movement, voices and music. The outdoor scenes are alive with sounds of nature. Each moment is so real you can forget you are in your living room. The picture is clear and free of defects although at the 133 minute mark there was a bit of flutter as the DVD player changed layers. The colors are bright, the darkly lit scenes are clear and realistic. This one is for the serious movie lover and is a must have. 

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