Thursday, April 22, 2010

Film Yap: The Young Victoria

There are a lot of things said in The Young Victoria that were unnecessary. Correction: they were too necessary. If various characters weren’t commenting on each other and what is going on, there may not be a film. There is a story at the heart of this movie, but it is never properly examined.

Ever since Victoria (Emily Blunt) was born, she has been the focus of political turmoil. She is the only heir to the throne and every side wants her loyalty. Her mom (Miranda Richardson) is in cohorts with the evil John Conroy (Mark Strong). They want Victoria to do whatever they wish including taking rooms in the palaces. The King (Jim Broadbent) wants her to have a bigger part of the English government. However it is Prince Albert (Rupert Friend) who wants her to think for herself.

The film never has a good grasp on the focus it wants. The first major portion of this film is all about the politics of the situation, but never in an intelligent manner. It’s very difficult to grasp what is actually at stake. Instead of going into specific details, the film continues to simplify it with chess metaphors and people talking about how important things are. Then the film changes gears dramatically and focuses only on the romance. This is such a fascinating period of history; I wish the film was interested in that and not on whether or not Prince Albert could dance the waltz.

There are many things that do work well in the film. All of the actors give really fantastic performances. Blunt is worthy of all of the praise she received and Broadbent and Richardson are always a joy to watch. The only weaker link may be Paul Bettany as the manipulating Lord Melbourne because it just feels like the usual Bettany. The film looks magnificent. The costume and the sets really give a powerful feel for this lifestyle.

The extras on the DVD ended up also being a disappointment. The only things available are a bunch of deleted scenes and extended scenes. There are a handful of featurettes that are very short and padded with clips from the movie. (Often repeating the clips in other featurettes.) However there are a few interesting factoids about the process including how underwear plays into a part with the costumes.

If there were a strong script in terms of focus and dialog, this would be a much stronger film. They have all of the right elements, but alas.

2.5 Yaps

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