The Legend of Zorro (2005)

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Released 15-Jun-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Director And Cinematographer
Featurette-Stunts
Featurette-Playing With Trains
Featurette-Armand's Party
Featurette-Visual Effects
Deleted Scenes
Multiple Angles
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 125:07 (Case: 130)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (87:07) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Martin Campbell
Studio
Distributor
SONY Pictures
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Alberto Reyes
Julio Oscar Mechoso
Gustavo Sanchez-Parra
Adrian Alonso
Nick Chinlund
Giovanna Zacarías
Carlos Cobos
Antonio Banderas
Michael Emerson
Shuler Hensley
Pedro Armendáriz Jr.
Mary Crosby
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Eduardo Gamboa
James Horner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English 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 for the Hearing Impaired
English 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

    Welcome to my 300th review! Unfortunately, it's for the slightly disappointing sequel The Legend of Zorro. It's not that The Legend of Zorro is a bad film, it's just that it's rather mediocre and instantly forgettable. Despite having the same director, leading man and leading lady, it lacks the sparkle of the original, and at times merely resembles the Warner Bros Movie World Stunt Show.

    The character of Zorro (Spanish for "fox") was created by pulp fiction author Johnston McCulley and first appeared in 1919 in a story published in All-Story Weekly. Zorro is the alter ego of a Spanish Nobleman Don Diego de la Vega, who lives in the nineteenth century Spanish-run era of California's history. Zorro is the people's champion, and constantly battles against the unjust, greedy, and corrupt Spanish rulers of California.

    After the character of Zorro gained a following in numerous pulp fiction magazines, Zorro was to reach new heights of fame with the very popular silent film The Mark of Zorro (1920) starring Douglas Fairbanks. The Mark of Zorro was to be remade in 1940 starring Tyrone Power, and again in 1974 starring Frank Langella. Both remakes were to be very popular films.

    The masked Zorro continues to pop up in popular culture. In the 86 years since 1920, there have been almost 20 Zorro films and 6 television series, most notably Walt Disney's Zorro (1957-59) starring Guy Williams, and Zorro (1989-93) starring Duncan Regehr. There have also been countless books, comic books and comic strips featuring the character, and even a Zorro ballet. Interestingly, a Zorro Broadway Musical in currently in production with the Gypsy Kings helping to compose songs for it.

    The first Zorro film of the current film series, Mask of Zorro (1998), returned the masked, swash-buckling character to the big-screen and re-ignited the careers of Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The film was perfect Friday night escapist entertainment - a truly fun and mindlessly entertaining swashbuckling adventure.

    Made seven years later, the sequel The Legend of Zorro has a story set ten years after the events of the first film.
The year is now 1850, and the citizens of California are about to vote on whether or not to ratify statehood and join the Union. The people's champion, Zorro (Antonio Banderas), is still defending the helpless against injustice, but is struggling to balance protecting the citizens as Zorro with remaining an active part of his family as loving husband and father Don Alejandro. In a subplot reminiscent of the early Zorro films, Alejandro's son Joaquin (Adrian Alonso) has no idea about his father's alter ego. Thus, Joaquin idolizes Zorro but despises the perceived weakness of his father.

    Understandably, Alejandro's wife Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) wants him to quit being Zorro and settle down to a quieter and safer life with her and their son. But Alejandro has other ideas as he proudly and passionately shouts: "People still need Zorro . . . It is who I am."

    The struggle between Alejandro and Elena leads to arguments, and eventually to divorce. A few months later, Alejandro is shocked to discover that Elena has moved on and is dating a former schoolmate, the French aristocrat Count Armand (Rufus Sewell).

    The passionate and jealous Alejandro immediately dislikes the arrogant Armand, and perhaps motivated more by personal reasons Alejandro starts snooping around the Count's mansion and winery as Zorro.

    The story is fairly straightforward, and all of the elements that made the first Zorro a fun action adventure are here, but there's nothing really new or memorable. However, one serious criticism this time round is that just about every fight that Zorro (or his son Joaquin) has looks far too easy. Zorro effortlessly flights multiple henchmen without even raising a sweat or the slightest concern. Zorro even gets to have fun with it - easily carving a "Z" into their clothing along the way. Indeed, almost all the fights throughout are just well-choreographed, foregone conclusions. As such, until we get to that great movie cliché - the runaway train film climax - there's very little suspense throughout.

    For more information about the world of Zorro, logon to www.zorro.com.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a very recent film, and the transfer is excellent.

    The widescreen transfer is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is razor sharp. The Legend of Zorro is often a very dark film, and the black level and shadow detail are both excellent, such as the shadowy interior of Zorro's lair at 12:50.

    The beautiful photography uses a number of coloured lenses throughout to provide the very stylish look of the film. The colour palette is excellent and perfectly saturated. The skin tones are accurate.

    There are no problems with MPEG or Film-To-Video Artefacts. A few tiny film artefacts appeared infrequently, but I had to look hard to spot any. The print used as source material is pristine.

    English for the Hearing Impaired and English Audio Commentary subtitles are present and they are both accurate.

    The feature is presented on a Dual-Layered disc, with the layer change placed at 87:01. The feature is divided into 29 chapters.

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

Audio

    As with the video, the audio is excellent.

    There are two audio options: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent on the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.

    The musical score is credited to Eduardo Gamboa and James Horner, and it is a beautiful Spanish-flavoured sweeping orchestral score which suits the romantic and epic nature of the film very well.

    The film's sound design is wonderful, and I was very happy with the DVD's surround presence and activity. The surround sound mix is very immersive and aggressive, which adds a lot to enjoying it. The rear speakers are used effectively throughout to help carry the score and provide ambience - for example, Armand's party at 33:32. There are also a few clever directional techniques, such as the panning between speakers of the swirling, dusty wind at 63:22.

    The subwoofer is also utilised throughout to support the sound effects, such as the explosion at 86:52.

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

Extras

    There are s few interesting extras. All extras are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Stereo sound.

Menu

    Animated menus, with audio.

Audio Commentary-Director And Cinematographer

    Director Martin Campbell and DOP Phil Meheux provide a chatty, screen specific commentary that focuses heavily on the production while also providing a few behind-the-scenes bits of trivia and anecdotes. They note that following the success of the original, now seven years later they had a lot "more money to play with" and seem to have enjoyed far more control over the production.

Featurettes

Deleted Scenes

    These can be viewed with or without the director's commentary:

Theatrical Trailer (2:16)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

Multiple Angles

This extra allows viewers to compare rehearsal footage, behind-the-scenes footage, and the final scenes in the finished film of two scenes using the DVD remote's angle button:

R4 vs R1

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

    The Legend of Zorro was released as a Special Edition on DVD in Region 1.

    The Region 4 DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 Special Edition misses out on:

   Considering we get an excellent PAL transfer, I would call it even.

Summary

    The Legend of Zorro is an okay, albeit overlong film, that has some entertaining set pieces and a few great stunts. But by the time you get to the well-worn movie cliché of the runaway train climax, you will certainly feel like you've seen it all before.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is also excellent.

    The extras are genuine and interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Monday, July 17, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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