Queen Elizabeth (Blanchette) ruled England through what is referred to as The Golden Age in the mid-16th century. In this tumultuous time, Elizabeth is faced with treason and treachery at almost every turn. The Queen's doubters will soon find it will take more than a bit of heartache and the mighty Spanish Armada to bring her monarchy to an end. Elizabeth: The Golden Age won an Academy Award® for Best Costumes. (Stacey Pendry)
Special features include eight deleted scenes; the following featurettes: The Reign Continues: Making Elizabeth The Golden Age (11 minutes), Inside Elizabeth's World (seven minutes), Commanding The Winds: Creating The Armada (12 minutes), and Towers, Courts And Cathedrals (11 minutes); a feature commentary track by Director Shekhar Kapur; and previews.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.84:1 DVD exhibits a hazy image, with elevated black levels and a persistent fogginess that washes out the image. Details are not as nicely resolved as the better releases, with fine textures looking somewhat soft. The color scheme can be dominated by hues of green, brown, and gold, looking somewhat aged. Shadow delineation is poor, with the near-"black" portions of the image completely void of definition. Compression artifacts are recognizable from time to time, and edge enhancement can be seen on the higher contrast transitions. The VC-1-encoded HD DVD shows some of the same problems, with poor black levels and a foggy image. Colors look faded and aged as well. Resolution isn't pristine, but fine textures are fairly nicely resolved. (Danny Richelieu)
The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack can feature good fidelity, but there are many times when dialogue can be shrouded by a shuffling distortion. Dialogue is recorded and played back nicely at times, with impressive articulation and a full, balanced tonality. But there are many times when it sounds bright and distorted. Deep bass is delivered nicely when warranted using each of the available channels, including the LFE channel. Surround envelopment can be limited to reverberations in an attempt to re-create the affects of rooms on voices and music. The surround channels can be woefully under-used, however, for effects, leaving a fairly one-dimensional-sounding experience. The HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus encoding sounds very similar to the DVD's encoding, but the Dolby TrueHD encoding on the HD DVD does improve fidelity somewhat. Still, dialogue can sound forward and overly bright at times, and a shuffling distortion can still be heard. The TrueHD encoding definitely points out the weaknesses of the soundtrack. (Danny Richelieu)