Written by Old Bluffer 23rd Mar 2008
Occasionally, my other half points out that I spend far more time watching films with Mouseburger than her, and I am forced to go to the cinema and watch a Chick Flick.
Fortunately, this doesn't happen too often, but it did last week, and faced with what I would imagine would be the excruciating ordeal of "27 Dresses" I suggested the Boleyn movie as a female-friendly alternative. This was based on my rudimentary knowledge of my country's history, so I was pretty sure there would be at least one killing in it (unless Hollywood decided to tack on a happy ending of course, with Henry deciding that Anne was his one true love after all).
The evening did not start well, it has to be said, as the normally entertaining trailers I get to enjoy with Mouseburger seemed to be completely absent. Instead I was forced to endure an endless series of cheesy, saccharine-sweet adverts for films that were all about weddings. So, no car chases, no alien invasions, not even the cliched Narrator with Deep Voice - just a lot of bright, happy clips of women discussing how super it would be if they were married.
Going to the cinema with a female is fraught with other unnecessary complications too. Mouseburger, for all his faults, has never demanded that I warm up his icy cold feet with my hands halfway during the movie. Nor has he ever hassled me for a tissue during the final scenes, due to being overcome with girly emotion.
Despite all of these irritations though, I have to admit to thoroughly enjoying TOBG, for reasons which I will explain more in the final review.
For now though, I'll just talk you through the reason for poor George Boleyn's execution.
George's sister, Anne Boleyn has managed to use her insidious feminine whiles to become Queen of England. To get to this point she had to cruelly betray her gentle sister, Mary, and mercilessly codpiece-tease the King until he would literally do anything in order to get beneath her beautifully embroidered skirts. In the event, he has to break away from Rome, get ex-communicated by the Pope and start his own, rival church instead (any Catholic that converted to the C of E received a "get out of the Tower of London free" scroll as a loyalty incentive).
So, you would think Anne would be rather smugly pleased with herself - which she is until the night of her marriage, when Henry, to not put too fine a point on it, takes his "prize" with all the sweet tenderness you would expect after months of pent up fury and frustration caused by a girl he's grown to despise.
Things get worse for the scheming Anne, as it soon becomes clear to her that Henry never really held her in any great affection (unlike Mary), and he treats her with bitterness and self-loathing. As Anne herself tells her sister: "In order to arouse him, I have to degrade myself ever further". Sadly we never see these presumably juicy degradations, but Anne has to suffer them as her very survival depends on bearing a male heir.
Eventually she does manage to fall pregnant, but loses the child early on. Her relationship has soured so badly with the king by this point though, that she doesn't dare reveal the truth. So she comes up with the ludicrous scheme of becoming pregnant again by appealing to her brother to commit incest.
This was obviously never going to work, as even in the 16th century, people would work out that an eleven month (or longer) pregnancy is a bit unusual, and probably grounds for having your post-natal depression burned out of you at a stake.
Such biological pedantry is moot though, as in the event George can't bring himself to knock up his sis - even if she does look like Natalie Portman.
Fatally though, he does let matters progress to a distinctly un-brotherly snog, and this high treason is witnessed by one of the King's other pieces of crumpet, Jane Seymour. Jane is actually George's wife by the way, but Henry's power is absolute and having him pork your missus is more of a mark of distinction than one of shame in this film.
Anyway, Jane is every bit as ambitious as Anne, and of course tells the appropriate authorities - which gives Henry an easy way of ridding himself from his unwanted queen. He parades her in a show trial where she is thoroughly humiliated, and sentences both George and Anne to death.
George gets the chop first, with a heavy axe blade wielded casually by a headsman with no sense of ceremony.
Anne is due next, but Mary has beseeched the king to be merciful, and he has all but promised that her life will be spared...