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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Exeunt, pursued by CGI

Roland Emmerich is making a movie about Shakespeare the dude crazy people like to claim wrote Shakespeare's work. The movie, natch, is called, Anonymous. Those of us hoping for an anti-Scientology movement biopic will be waiting for a while yet, I'm afraid.

To those of us who are pro-Stratfordians, this is probably good news. Even if I'd believed in 2012  or God...zilla before, I'd be much less likely to believe it coming from the guy who made Stargate. I'll go ahead and synopsize it  make shit up for you.


Edward DeVere (Nicolas Cage) is an ass-kicking Elizabethan secret agent who is referred to by his counterparts as Eddy. He wears a snakeskin jacket and smokes tobacco brought over from the Americas. After defeating a Spaniard spanish in a daring parkour chase past the Globe, he's brought a dispatch from a dying King Henry VIII (Bob Hoskins or Colm Meaney, whichever is cheaper), who says that the Spaniards smuggled a dragon into the country to overthrow his beloved daughter Queen Elizabeth. Worse yet, this dragon is from space. "Protect my daughter Beth," the dying monarch intones, "and protect my beloved United Kingdom."


Nicolas Cage is ushered away from the dead man's bed-chamber. He passes by a courtyard as he leaves Windsor Palace and enters the Tower of London next door and sees a person in fencing gear, kicking the ass of some other fencer. He applauds, and the victorious fencer takes off their mask... revealing that fencer is a pretty red-headed woman (Kiera Neightley). It's Beth, Henry's daughter! They have a witty discussion, full of one-liners, before ending up in bed together.

Meanwhile, a slave named Jimmy (Will Smith) lands on London's docks, escaping from America to a land that doesn't have slavery. He runs into Nicolas Cage while our hero is chasing a sinister Spanish double agent named Cecil Burghley (Jason Statham) who knows where the dragon is being hidden. Between Jimmy's rough-and-tumble fighting style and DeVere's own highly-trained martial arts skills, they manage to defeat Burghley. "Welcome to England, motherfucker", Will Smith crows as he roundhouse kicks Statham into a keg of beer.

Burghley tells them that Guy Fawkes (John Malkovich) is hiding the dragon somewhere in the theatre district, but no theatre people will ever trust a nobleman like DeVere. "There's such divinity that doth hedge a king that makes normal people wary," he claims.

So DeVere and Jimmy go down to the Globe, but even disguised they nearly get kicked out as spies from rival companies until one of the actresses (Rosario Dawson) asks DeVere if he's that Shakespeare guy from out in the sticks that was supposed to write a play called "Hamlet" for them.

DeVere & Jimmy masquerade as Bill Shakespeare & his assistant Banquo, writing the play "Hamlet" by day & searching the theatre at night. Beth, who is now DeVere's girlfriend, is concerned he can't keep the deception up, but DeVere says to her, "I'll be Shakespeare or I won't be him. There's no question."

Of course, the night of Hamlet's premiere, Jimmy & DeVere figure out that the theatre owner, Ben Jonson is actually... Guy Fawkes! As the audience (including Beth) watch above, Jimmy & DeVere have to escape the trap that Fawkes has set beneath the theatre & stop the dragon from awaking.

In the end, Jimmy manages to evacuate the theatre as DeVere & Fawkes fistfight among piles of gunpowder piled beneath the houses of Parliament. The wakened dragon accidentally sets off the gun powder, blowing everything up.

Jimmy and Rosario Dawson's character kiss, and Beth starts crying, thinking her Eddy is dead. Suddenly, out of the ashes, someone kicks aside some wreckage, throws Fawkes' unconscious body out and climbs up. It's Eddy! "He was hoisted by his own petard," Eddy quips, before kissing Beth.

Before the credits role, Beth asks Eddy what identity he'll take up now that his Edward DeVere cover is blown, he says, "Just call me... Christopher Marlowe."

I'm thinking 2011, a Fourth of July weekend release.