Film Reviews

THE LEGEND OF ZORRO

By • Oct 28th, 2005 •

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Columbia Pictures / Spyglass Entertainment present an Amblin Entertainment production
MPAA rating PG / Running time — 129 minutes

I would have dumped the cute kid and the priest and brought back sexy Zorro and his gorgeous volatile wife. Instead, Banderas and Zeta-Jones morph into Republican parents.

If you remind yourself how much you liked 1998’s THE MASK OF ZORRO, stay away from this arthritic sequel. THE LEGEND OF ZORRO is a tired failure.

California’s about to become the 31st state in the union (?) if the vote goes through. Alejandro de la Vega (Banderas), in his getup as Zorro, rescues the ballots from cross-carved face Jacob McGivens (Nick Chinlund). Zorro may wear a mask, but he’s wearing the wig Angelina Jolie wore in GIRL, INTERRUPTED.

They looked at the dailies and fixed Banderas’s hair.

Alejandro is an absent father and a disinterested husband to wife Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones). She wants him to stay home and play with their son. Elena cannot stop belittling Alejandro. But he respects her anyhow. They fight, Elena cries, and quickly files for divorce. Their son Joaquin (Adrian Alonso) is loved by his mother while his father wants him to become a straw hat wearing dandy. Joaquin really wants to fight bad guys and run around getting into trouble like his hero Zorro. Soon Elena is hooking up with a childhood friend, Armand (Rufus Sewell), a French count and wine grower. Sewell’s cheek implants and redesigned face makes him look unintentionally creepy. Or was that the point in casting Sewell as Banderas’s rival?

The plot unfolds and meanders around making little sense and inspiring even less interest. Armand is not who he appears to be (but neither is Alejandro!). He’s evil but knows how to buy jewelry. What is appealing about THE LEGEND OF ZORRO is the stunning train sequence and impressive horse riding antics. If only the writers had staged the entire film on the train with a fascinating tale of deceit and betrayal! Add that to a man who insists on wearing a mask and you have a story worth sitting through for two hours!

When Spider Man took his mask off, the world of superheroes was changed forever. Zorro does the same to less stunning effect. Guns are better weapons than swords. Banderas appears tired of the role and allows his stunt doubles to do the heavy lifting. His manly Alejandro allows the kid to run around without any parental control. Alejandro also appears naked a few times. The communal male bath never works for me. It just suggests unnecessary homoeroticism.

The sexiness of THE MASK OF ZORRO is not here and it shouldn’t be. Alejandro and Elena are now dour parents to a child who does not obey and is a spoiled brat. Taking discarded pages from THE WILD WILD WEST screenplay was not a good idea. Sure the explosions are big and messy, but I kept wondering how Zorro was going to live with the fact that helping poor people always resulted in destruction of their property and loss of life?


Cast:
Don Alejandro de la Vega: Antonio Banderas
Elena: Catherine Zeta-Jones
Joaquin: Adrian Alonso
Armand: Rufus Sewell
Jacob McGivens: Nick Chinlund
Fray Felipe: Julio Oscar Mechoso
Ferroq: Raul Mendez
Cortez: Gustavo Sanchez Parra

Credits:
Director: Martin Campbell
Screenwriters: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Story by: Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman, Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
Producers: Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, Lloyd Phillips
Executive producers: Steven Spielberg, Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum
Director of photography: Phil Meheux
Production designer: Cecilia Montiel
Music: James Horner
Co-producer: John Gertz
Costumes: Graciela Mazon
Editor: Stuart Baird

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