Ten years of been the people's champion Zorro has taken its
toll on Alejandro de la Vega (Banderas). While he still struck fear into
hearts of criminals and fought for justice in California, it was at home
he was losing the battle. He promised his Elena (Zeta-Jones) that when California
became part of America, Zorro would be no more and he could be with his
family but with three months until they officially become part of the Union,
Alejandro thinks this is the time that the people will need him the most.
Elena doesn't take this very well and tells Alejandro she wants a divorce.
Reinventing itself in 1998, the mask of Zorro passed to Antonio
Banderas but with seven years wait until his next adventure, will we still
be enthralled by the mark of the Z?
'The Mask of Zorro' was a brilliant piece of family entertainment
that captured the spirit of the famous stories and black and white serials
on which it was based. With the two main stars and director returning, expectations
for the continuing story of Zorro where high and the good news is that is
keeps up the very high standard that the revival set seven years earlier.
What the two Zorro movies have in common is they are both
genuinely good entertainment. By again setting the story during an actual
historical event, California becoming part of the Union and country about
to be split by civil war, Zorro has to save the state and usher in a new
era. With the heroic plot line set, we also see the problems that become
apparent when you are a hero with a family. Continually saving the day and
becoming a legend to the people, Alejandro's family life is suffering. He
hardly spends any time at home and his son Joaquin hardly even knows him.
The family storyline creates the fun and banter that made the first film
so much fun.
It is the interaction and screen chemistry between Antonio
Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones that pushes this movie beyond your average,
run of the mill action adventure. The bickering couple shine when the barrage
of insults start as Elena moves on with her life. Both Banderas and Zeta-Jones
excel in their roles, with both of them very comfortable as the characters.
They also excel in the fight sequences, especially in the brilliantly choreographed
sword fights. Newcomer Adrian Alonso is also good as Joaquin de la Vega,
the son who worships Zorro, not knowing that he is his father. You can sometimes
cringe at thought of having a child involved in an adventure movie but he
is a likeable character and a good actor. Rufus Sewell continues to play
a decent villain and there is also some good support from Raúl Méndez as
Alejandro's confidant Father Ferroq.
Also returning is Martin Campbell and he is becoming director
who can handle both characters and action. It is in the action sequences
were the Zorro films excel. The sword fights again are brilliantly choreographed
and extremely inventive. The same can be said of the other daredevil action
sequences that see Zorro fighting on bridges, rooftops and on a moving train.
Campbell handles this extremely well but he also knows when he needs to
slow the pace down and give characters time to push the plot along.
'The Legend of Zorro' is as much fun as 'The Mask of Zorro'.
With more of the same, this is excellent entertainment that you can't help
but enjoy. It definitely makes a mark.
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the
movie is presented well.
Director and cinematography commentary
Director Martin Campbell and cinematographer Phil Meheux provide chatty
and informative track for the sequel release. They talk about moving on
from the first movie and advancing the style and look they created first
time around. They talk about creating realistic stunts that are not all
CG. They also discuss the size of the production and location and sets
involved in recreating the period of Californian history. This is a good
listen for fans of the film.
Entitled 'Stunts', 'Playing with Trains', ''Armand's Party' and 'Visual
effects' with contributions from director Martin Campbell, stunt coordinator
Gary Powell, 2nd unit director John Mahoffie, producer Lloyd Phillips,
screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, miniature designer Richard
Taylor, visual effects supervisor Brent Houston and stars Antonio Banderas,
Catherine Zeta Jones and Rufus Sewell, these featurettes cover most aspects
of the film's production. Here we find out on how stunts were created
with the use of computer graphics, the train miniature sequence, the grandeur
of the Party sequence and the visual effects used in the movie. These
are informative featurettes that fans of the film will enjoy watching.
Entitled 'Alternative Opening and Closing', 'Alejandro drops of Joaquin',
'Chinatown' and 'Symphony by the bay, these deleted or alternative scenes
are accompanied by commentary by director Martin Campbell.
Watch 'Armand's Party' and the 'Winery Fight' and you can compare the
rehearsals, behind the scenes and the final complete screen by pressing
the 'angle' button on your remote.
Previews of 'The Da Vinci Code', 'Fun with Dick and Jane', 'Lords of Dogtown',
'The Pink Panther', 'Zathura' and 'Rent'
Sony Pictures has done a good job with the DVD treatment for 'The Legend
of Zorro'. The featurette cover most aspects of the film's production,
the commentary track is good and the other material only adds to the value.
Fans of the film should be pleased.
The Mask of Zorro
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