The Mask Of Zorro

Collector's Edition

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Details At A Glance

Category Action Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 2.35:1 non-16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - Dolby Digital City
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks Yes, 1 - Martin Campbell (Director)
Running Time 132:02 minutes Other Extras Menu Animation & Audio
Scene Selection Animation & Audio
Featurette-Making Of - Unmasking Zorro (45:06)
Deleted Scenes - 1
Music Video - I Want To Spend My Lifetime Loving You
Photo Gallery - 14
Cast & Crew Filmographies
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (77:41)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Martin Campbell

Columbia Tristar
Starring Antonio Banderas
Anthony Hopkins
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Stuart Wilson
Matthew Letscher
Case Transparent
RRP $34.95 Music James Horner

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    One of the insights I gained into The Man In The Iron Mask from listening to the commentary was that the word swashbuckling had been banned from the set, since a swashbuckling movie was not the intent of the filmmakers. Well, swashbuckling is very much the intent of The Mask of Zorro, a larger-than-life comic action adventure.

    Anthony Hopkins stars as the old Zorro, whose wife is killed in front of him by his arch-enemy Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson), and whose child is stolen from him by the same man. Vowing revenge, his day comes as a result of Antonio Banderas, a skilled thief and outlaw who seeks revenge for the death of his brother at the hands of Captain Harrison Love (Matthew Letscher). At the same time as these personal conflicts are being played out, the Mexican population of California are being oppressed by their Spanish tyrant overlords, and Zorro, being a man of the people, must save the day. Throw in Catherine Zeta-Jones as the old Zorro's feisty daughter, Elena, and you have your cast.

    Zorro is deliberately way-over-the-top. It is done in almost a comic opera fashion, with highly implausible escapes and action sequences galore, featuring very vigorous but nonetheless highly choreographed swordfighting sequences. It is not a movie that stands up to repeated viewing, as the serious and numerous plotholes and implausibilies become more and more painfully obvious the more they are seen. At first viewing, credulity is stretched to the absolute limit, and subsequent viewings significantly diminish the movie's impact. The end action sequence, however, remains impressive.

Transfer Quality


    This is a glorious and flawless transfer from Columbia Tristar and is of reference quality.

    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was razor sharp and crystal clear at all times, with a tremendous amount of detail contained within every scene. Shadow detail was exceptional, with enormous detail contained within every shadow. No low level noise was noted.

    The colours were magnificent. Varying from earthy greens and browns to rich, lush, vibrant reds and blues, they are all impeccably presented in this transfer, with never even the slightest hint of colour bleeding or chroma noise.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. No film-to-video artefacts were seen. I noted one very small scratch in the film print at one stage which will pass most people by completely. As behoves a transfer of this recent vintage, it is immaculately presented.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed between Chapter 17 and Chapter 18, at 77:41. It is quite well-placed and only slightly disruptive to the flow of the movie.


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0, mono. The default soundtrack is the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. I listened to both the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and to the Audio Commentary.

    Dialogue was always completely clear and easy to follow, even when taking place against scenes with high ambient noise. The only minor exception to this is the dialogue of Antonio Banderas which was hard to make out at times, but this is not the fault of the transfer.

    There were no audio sync problems. There was one badly dubbed ADR line at 62:52-62:54 from Antonio Banderas, but this was the sole extent of the audio issues with this transfer.

    The score by James Horner was suited to the movie nicely, creating the appropriate on-screen atmosphere and excitement. Having said that, this score still left me a little unimpressed compared with his previous efforts, such as his effort on Titanic.

    The surround channels were aggressively used for music, ambience and special effects, particularly in the latter half of the movie where the sound is particularly enveloping. All-in-all, this is a marvellously enveloping soundtrack.

    The .1 channel got heavy use from this soundtrack, and was very well integrated into the overall soundtrack, never calling attention to itself even though it was being used aggressively.


    This disc has an excellent selection of extras. The Dolby Digital City trailer is on the disc.


    The disc opens with an excellent animated sequence which sets the tone for the entire movie. This excellent animation and audio is carried throughout the majority of the menu structure, which is 16x9 enhanced.

Audio Commentary - Martin Campbell (Director)

    This is a better-than-average commentary, with Martin Campbell offering a wealth of information on how certain scenes were shot, and why certain artistic choices were made. This is well worth a listen.

Featurette-Making Of - Unmasking Zorro (45:06)

    This is an excellent documentary on the making of this movie. I noted that the compression had been cranked right up on this featurette, presumably ensuring that the movie itself was not compromised in any way, and yet the featurette showed no noticeable MPEG artefacting.

Deleted Scene - 1

Theatrical Trailer

Music Video - Tina Arena & Mark Anthony - I Want To Spend My Lifetime Loving You

Photo Gallery - Publicity Photo Portraits - 14

Cast & Crew Filmographies

R4 vs R1

    The Region 1 version of this disc is not the Collector's Edition, but is a plain movie-only disc. The Collector's Edition of this disc is not due to be released in Region 1 until September 2000. The current Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     There is no question in this case that the best version of this disc is the Region 4 version.


    As a movie, The Mask Of Zorro works as long as you don't think about the plotholes and implausibilities. As a DVD, this is a magnificent effort by Columbia Tristar.

    The video quality is magnificent and is of reference quality.

    The audio quality is superb and is of reference quality.

    The extras are superb.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
6th October 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer