Mask of Zorro, The: Deluxe Edition (1998)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 6-Dec-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Director
Featurette-Making Of-Unmasking Zorro
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-Exclusive Scene From 'The Legend Of Zorro'
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-'The Legend Of Zorro' Behind The Scenes Sneak Peek
Music Video
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Gallery-Photo-Publicity Photo Portraits
Trailer-Ghostbusters, Hitch, A Knight's Tale, The Legend Of Zorro
Trailer-Stripes
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 132:01
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Martin Campbell
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Antonio Banderas
José María de Tavira
Anthony Hopkins
Diego Sieres
Emiliano Guerra
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Yolanda Orisaga
Paco Morayta
William Marquez
Stuart Wilson
Tony Amendola
Pedro Altamirano
Luisa Huertas
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music James Horner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Romanian
Swedish
Turkish
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Mask of Zorro is a swashbuckling adventure movie of the type that has been missing from our screens for a long time. In legend Zorro was a master swordsman who was the hero of the common people. This film brings to the screen all the excitement and adventure that is reminiscent of the Indiana Jones movies with a splash of the Batman mystique.

     Some brilliant acting by Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones helps to tell the tale of Zorro who, when he becomes too old to continue being the protector of the people, recruits and trains his successor. The two of them then team up to thwart Don Rafael's plan to create the independent country of California. Of course the plot is a lot deeper than I am eluding to here. Suffice it to say that this movie is very good and extremely enjoyable to watch so long as you go into it with entertainment in mind. Do not expect a true historical account of anything that may or may not have occurred in this era as this movie is just a fun adventure film with a lot of spectacular stunts.

     I certainly noticed Steven Spielberg's influence in this movie, especially in the opening scenes. During the film I found myself constantly relating some scenes to other movies like Batman, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, not that this detracts in any way from this movie as it was highly enjoyable in its own right. There is a lot of slapstick humour throughout the movie, and conversely the villains really make you hate them with real loathing. There was obviously more than a passing attempt to style one of the villains after General George A. Custer, except that this villain is a lot more evil in a perverse and macabre kind of way.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    I have said this before in other reviews and I will say it again - Sony Pictures have really mastered the art of producing superior video transfers. I knew the minute I saw the test mould disk with the Sony Pictures trademark on it that I was going to be in for a real treat and I was not disappointed.

    This movie is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 which is the original aspect ratio of the film. It is presented 16x9 enhanced.

    The video is very crisp and clear with no hint of graininess. Shadow detail is very good with no perceptible low level noise present.

    Beautiful colour rendition makes for a very pleasing picture to the eye. There is no colour bleeding present.

    There are a small number of perceptible MPEG compression artefacts noticeable in some scenes, however I did not find these to be overly distracting. There were no noticeable film to video artefacts or film artefacts.

    When it comes to the subtitles on this DVD you can see from the top of this review that there are many languages catered for. I only sampled the English subtitles which were not as accurate to the spoken word as I would have liked but they at least managed to get most of what was said onto the screen.

    The layer change occurs during a scene change at 96:56 and is not readily perceptible.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The disc features a very nice audio transfer to go along with the video. I expected no less from this production house and again I was not disappointed.

    The audio tracks available are English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s). There is also an English Audio Commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) and a Dutch Audio Commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). I only listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track in full and sampled quite a bit of the English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 track. My comments here are based on the Dolby Digital 5.1 track as the commentary track is as good as it gets for commentary tracks.

    I did not observe any lip sync problems at all with the soundtrack and I found the dialogue to be very clear and precise with no hint of muffling.

    The musical score created by James Horner is wonderfully moving and definitely sets the mood for the scenes in the movie. It is mostly instrumental in nature with a definite concert feel to it, much like that of the score from Lawrence of Arabia for example. One of the obvious exceptions is the closing duet which was composed by James Horner with lyrics by Will Jennings and performed by Marc Anthony and our own Tina Arena. This song, titled I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You, appeared on Tina's 2000 compilation album Souvenirs.

    Wonderful use of the surrounds in this movie and very accurate placement of the sounds leads to a very immersive sound field. There are plenty of fight sequences with swords and guns to really give your home theatre system a good workout

    Okay, the all important question - did the subwoofer get a work-out? The answer is a most definite yes. I think you will find the final scenes at the mine site will bring a smile to your face as you reach for the phone to call the plasterer for a repair quote on your walls.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Introduction:

    We are treated to a silhouette of Zorro carving a flaming Z in the air. It was actually Antonio Banderas who was used to create the silhouette in this intro.

Main Menu Audio & Animation:

    The main menu is presented to us in 16x9 format. The writing blazes its way across the screen and we see scenes from the movie with flamenco music playing in the background. A very nicely done menu that is a credit to the design team.

Audio Commentary (Martin Campbell, Director)

    This is exactly what it says, a commentary track by the director Martin Campbell who gives us an insight into the difficulties and intricacies of creating the different scenes in the movie. I found it quite interesting even though Martin is not the most inspirational of speakers.

Featurette- Making Of - Unmasking Zorro (45:05)

    This featurette is titled The Unmasking of Zorro. It leads us through from the inception of the Zorro character in the early part of the last century through to the making of this movie. We also hear from the director and the actors explaining their take on the movie and what they think of the people they worked with on this project. This featurette is presented in a mix of aspect ratios but it is primarily in an aspect ratio of 4x3. I noticed some analogue tracking artefacts in this featurette which consisted of some definite top edge wobbling in some scenes.

Deleted Scenes (1:19)

    There is one deleted scene here which is titled The Wallet.  I can see why it was deleted from the film as it offered little of worth to the movie. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 4x3 suffers considerably from film artefacts.

Theatrical Trailer (1:02)

    Although this is titled as the theatrical trailer, I believe it is actually a trailer designed to advertise the release of the DVD in the United States. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 4x3 which is why I believe that this was probably never shown in the cinemas.

Featurette - Exclusive scene from 'The Legend of Zorro' (1:37)

    We are treated to a scene from the upcoming movie The Legend of Zorro which also stars Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. It is just a small sample of what we have to look forward to which, by the looks of this excerpt, will hopefully be just as good as the original movie. This scene is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes - 'The Legend of Zorro' Behind The Scenes Sneak Peek (5:02)

    With this little featurette we are given a brief inside look at the upcoming movie The Legend Of Zorro. Whilst watching this short featurette I found myself comparing this movie to other great adventure movies such as The Mummy Returns and Back to the Future III. I think we are going to be in for another fun movie that, like the original, has managed to find the right mix of slapstick and drama to create a good adventure story.

Music Video - I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You (4:52)

    This is the music video of the closing duet sung by Marc Anthony and Tina Arena. It is nicely performed with excerpts from the movie incorporated into the video clip.

Filmographies-Cast & Crew

    This is a simple breakdown of the career achievements of the following cast and crew: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stuart Wilson and Martin Campbell.

Gallery-Photo - Publicity Photo Portraits

    A series of still photos of Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins in character dress.

Trailers - Ghostbusters, Hitch, A Knight's Tale, The Legend of Zorro, and Stripes

    Five trailers: Ghostbusters, incorporating both Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2 (2:11), Hitch (1:52), A Knight's Tale (2:02), The Legend of Zorro (1:17), and Stripes (1:31).

    Hitch, A Knight's Tale and The Legend Of Zorro are presented 16x9 enhanced while Ghostbusters and Stripes are presented 4x3.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    After watching the US trailer for the DVD release I can say that there is no difference in the included extras on the R1 version hence I am going to say the R4 version will be the better version owing to the PAL format for the video transfer.

Summary

    An excellent swashbuckling adventure film the likes of which we have not seen for some time on our screens. Well worth watching as it is highly entertaining. This is all wrapped up in a very good video and audio transfer package.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Paul Svensen (So you have nothing else to do but to read my bio)
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880DX upscaling player, Samsung DVD-HD747 player, Pioneer DV-535 player, Toshiba D-R1-S-TG , using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE700 WXGA LCD Projector, 102" 16:9 Grandview motorised screen, Panasonic TH-42PV500A HD Plasma Display, Toshiba 83 cm 4:3 CRT. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderDenon AVR-2802. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete plus Sansui two channel amplifier driving Back Surrounds
Speakers Fronts, Centre, and Back Surrounds - Accusound Ref 8 speakers with 150W RMS accusound sub woofer, Surrounds - Sony

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Double dip comparison? - BruceM (read my bio) REPLY POSTED
DTS would have been better - REPLY POSTED
There is a DTS version... - REPLY POSTED