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Genre: Period Drama
Starring: Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons, Hugh Dancy
Director: Tom Hooper
Rating: M18 (Some Gory Scenes)
Year Made: 2006




- Making Elizabeth I
- Uncovering the Real Elizabeth I
- Deleted Scenes
- VFX Reveals



Languages: English
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0
Running Time: 3 hrs 31 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Origin Entertainment & Archer Entertainment APPL
Official Website:




Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons star in Elizabeth I, a two part HBO Films miniseries event that explores the intersection of the private and public life of Elizabeth I in the later half of her reign, offering a personal look at her allies, her enemies and her suitors as she struggles to survive in a male-domainted world.

Part 1 explores Elizabeth's tempestuous relationship with Earl of Leicester as it survives a French suitor, war, treason and illness. Part 2 follows Elizabeth through her later years during which she has an equally passionate affair with the young ambitious Earl of Essex, who has been raised, ironically by his stepfather Leicester. Ultimately, Elizabeth I sheds light on one of the most popular members of the monarchy who held power over everything-except her heart...


Somebody indulge this reviewer: it must be quite a feat for him to view this 211-minute miniseries – in one sitting. No fast-forwards, no skipping of chapters, no falling asleep (I can feel all you guilty counterparts hanging your heads in shame already).

Simply because this HBO Films production is one engaging watch, thanks to a certain Dame Helen Mirren who plays Queen Elizabeth I in her last somewhat sympathetic years of her life. Split into two parts, the epic series looks at her loving relationships with two different men (played by a stoic Jeremy Irons and an amiable Hugh Dancy). At the same time, the ruler of the country must deal with matters like war, betrayal and treason.

It is not that easy being a leader, you know.

The Tom Hooper-directed movie never lets down its guard (like Her Majesty herself), keeping you on the edge by displaying fine details of 16th century Old England, a grand cinematography by Dmitrij Gribanov and Larry Smith, a steady score by Robert Smith and a well-rounded cast that would impress anyone with a taste for good performance.

The well-produced series would shame any second-rate Hollywood movie shown on the big screens.

Other than Irons’ (Kingdom of Heaven, Eragon) sturdy portrayal as the Earl of Leicester and Dancy’s (King Arthur, Basic Instinct 2) ambitious expose of the Earl of Essex, expect to see other familiar faces like Toby Jones (Infamous, The Painted Veil) as a well-loved pygmy official and Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars: Episode I – III, Sleepy Hollow) as a regal lord who crosses paths with Her Majesty.

And oh, Mirren’s outstanding performance as the woman who yearns for love amidst the thick walls of her well-guarded castle – it is no wonder that the 62-year-old actress won both the Emmy and the Golden Globe for her heartrending feat as the misunderstood ruler. Whether it is her elaborate costume design, the well-kept hair pieces, or the cakes of white foundation makeup, this queen is a force to behold.

And as any self-respecting movie buff would tell you, Dame Mirren also bagged an Oscar for her role as HM Queen Elizabeth II in Stephen Frears’ The Queen. No doubt about it, this lady is the Queen, and has managed to captivate this reviewer’s attention for a whole three and a half hours.


A pleasant surprise, because this Code 3 DVD contains a quite a fair bit of bonus features that provides context to history idiots like this humble reviewer.

Making Elizabeth I – This 17-minute featurette sees the cast, mainly Mirren, Irons and Dancy speaking up for their own characters in the film. Love, politics and power: such forces are finely intertwined in this rich emotional drama.

Uncovering the Real Elizabeth I
– The brief but sufficient 7-minute segment has author/historian Dr. David Starkey chatting about how the real Elizabeth I probably behaved in the 16th century. Interestingly, he makes references to Shakespeare plays, and err, a certain Clinton-Lewinsky relationship

Deleted Scenes – There are 19 minutes worth of deleted scenes here, which includes the Earl of Leicester hunting for stags with Elizabeth I, the Earl of Essex getting advice from his stepfather in the heavy rain and conniving betrayers plotting against the queen in a tavern. If all of them made it to the cut, it will, well, make the total runtime 19 minutes longer.

VFX Reveals – And I was wondering where the filmmakers managed to locate such picturesque backdrops. Thanks to technology, many of the architecture were added in post production. You have to see it to believe it in this 5-minute sequence – truly awesome.


The disc’s visual transfer makes 16th century England look magnificently grand, while the English audio track is available in 2.0 Dolby Digital.



Review by John Li


Other titles from Origin Entertainment:

. The Proposition

. 3 Needles

. Ghost Rider

. The Pursuit of Happyness

. The Illusionist

. Catch & Release


This review is made possible with the kind support from Origin Entertainment


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