Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
December 2014

So there I was, just minding my own business, when Anna Sue ups and informs me that she had been looking for more movies to add to her already large Netflix queue, and she has found one that she didn't think that I had reviewed for you yet, and out of the "goodness" and "kindness" of her heart, she had added it to the queue just for me to watch and review. Trying to save myself, I immediately ran off and double-checked, and then triple-checked, the list I keep of the titles of all of the movies I have reviewed over the years. Alas, she was correct, and I had not already reviewed this particular movie, but remembering our motto ("We watch 'em so you don't have to"), I sat myself down in my big La-Z-Bubba recliner, grabbed a Dr. Pepper and a large handful of M&Ms, and pushed "Watch". And so it is that this month, Da'ud Bob reviews for you the 2003 miniseries Henry VIII.

Starring Ray Winstone as Henry VIII, Joss Ackland as Henry VII, Charles Dance as the Duke of Buckingham, Mark Strong as the Duke of Norfolk, William Houston as Thomas Seymour, Danny Webb as Thomas Cromwell, David ("Poirot") Suchet as Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Scott Handy as Henry Percy, Benjamin Whitrow as Thomas Boleyn, Michael Maloney as Thomas Cranmer, Sean ("Sharp") Bean as Robert Aske, Joseph Morgan as Thomas Culpepper, Assumpta Sema as Katherine of Aragon, Helena Bonham Carter as Anne Boleyn, Emilia Fox as Jane Seymour, Emily Blunt as Catherine Howard, Clare Holman as Catherine Parr, Pia Gerard as Anne of Cleves, and with Derek Jacobi as the uncredited Narrator, this big-budget (est. 6 million) two-part made for TV miniseries purports to tell the life and reign of Henry VIII from the time of the death of his father in 1509 until his own death in 1547. I say "purports" because, as one wag put it so well, "It's not a movie for history lovers." Sure, it gets the main themes of Henry's life and loves reasonably well, but doesn't feel that it needs to slavishly follow the historical facts of that life in order to tell its story.

Good points: Accurate use of "Your Grace" and "Your Majesty." (Both forms, as well as "Your Highness," were used by Henry; only Grace and Highness were used in England prior to his reign.) The blackwork on the king's shirts. (Even though they were probably printed on the fabric.) The locations. Some of the costuming.

Bad points: Fake mail. The headdresses on many of the women. Anne Boleyn's necklace. (Her actual necklace was a B (for Boleyn) with pearls, not as shown here an A (for Anne) with pearls.) Henry falling off of his horse actually happened a little later in his life, was a result of his continuing to participate in jousts, nearly killed him (he was unconscious for three hours), and with much more serious consequences for him - and for England - than ever appears in this show.) Robert Aske was not a soldier who fought under Henry in France, he was a lawyer. I have no idea where some of the "heraldry" they used in this came from. "Per fess checky argent and sable, and argent a chevron inverted sable" is no English (nor any other nationality's) coat of arms of which I am aware. I'm not certain whose arms (Sable three lions rampant or) the Duke of Buckingham is bearing; there are several possibilities, but none of them are related to Henry Stafford, the third Duke of Buckingham. And what are the Medici arms doing on the gallery at the joust? The motto Semper Eadam (Always the same) on the back of Henry's chair was the personal motto of his daughter, Elizabeth I.

Zero breasts. Three gallons of blood. 31 dead bodies. Arrow fu. Flaming arrow fu. Ax fu. Sword fu. Lance fu. Letter fu. Crossbow bolt fu. Knights roll. Head rolls. Gratuitous plots, plots, and more plots. Gratuitous Henry crying. Gratuitous rope. Gratuitous dog fighting. Gratuitous royal bum. Gratuitous heads on spikes. A 67 on the Vomit Meter. 2 Stars. Da'ud Bob says, "It's not a movie for history lovers, but if you just want to get a feel for the life and times of Henry VIII, you could do worse. Check it out!"

Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!

December 12, 2014 Exodus: Gods and Kings. Batman, err, that is, Moses leads the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. Christian Bale, Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, John Turturro. Directed by Ridley Scott.


2015 Macbeth. Yet another film of "the Scottish play," this time starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, Sean Harris, and David Thewlis. Currently in post-production.

No website yet.

Return to Da'ud Bob Page

Return to Home Page