Monday, December 03, 2007

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Soundtrack) by Craig Armstrong and A.R. Rahman

Elizabeth:  The Golden Age (Soundtrack) by Craig Armstrong and A.R. Rahman
Hollywood + Bollywood? By Golly wood!
Review by Christopher Coleman

One of 1998's surprise hits was director Shekhar Kapur's ELIZABETH. The visually pleasing film with solid acting performances by Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush help to earn the film 7 Oscar nominations. Even composer David Hirschfelder's score was nominated for an Oscar, but ultimately lost to Nicola Piovani's LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL. Fast forward some ten years and part-two of the rumored trilogy, ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE brings back Kapur, Blanchett, and Rush...but this time with composers CRAIG ARMSTRONG and A.R. RAHMAN.

While ELIZABETH was met with both critical and popular acclaim, the second part has not faired as well. Much of the criticism lies within the art of the story falling prey to the art of editing suite and the costume and set department. Of course with the great technological strides made since 1998, the visual appeal of ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE could be argued as being even greater than it's predecessor. Ah...but a good film digital tricks doth not make, eh George?

Although his website dubbs him "Australia's Leading Film Composer" David Hirschfelder hasn't been attached to a major film since ELIZABETH, which begs the question as to what happened to such this promising composer of the late 90s. Reportedly, director Kapur's original impulse was to go for a dark, brooding type of score as ELIZABETH had, but later changed his mind wanting the film to be a bit more diverse. This choice inevitably effected the type of score the film would have to have. THE GOLDEN AGE ended up a modernized film demanding a modern-edged-score. For it to be handled by Armstrong and Rahman seems fitting.

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