on January 17, 2006
This movie gets high marks from me in the "PG" category. It can not truly be compared to 1998's Mask of Zorro, even though the characters are reprising their roles, because the original was a significantly darker "PG-13." Don't go with expectations that it will match the original.
When we revisit Don Alejandro de la Vega (aka Zorro, played by Antonio Banderas) and his charming wife Elena (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones), ten years have passed since the original movie, and their son is a major player in their lives (he is masterfully and comically played by the young Adrian Alonso). As married life as gone on, Elena has continually urged Alejandro to give up his secret life as Zorro, but he keeps feeling the tug of his people. The two quarrel and separate, leading to separate lives amongst some major political upheaval and the arrival of a strange Frenchman who seems to have his own plans for the homeland. There are a few stretches in the plot, but nothing too outrageous for an action/comedy, and there is plenty of witty banter and sight gags to make up for it. (Of course, any history buff will find the plot laughable, but it's for entertainment, okay?) Elena gets to do some excellent fighting and espionage-types scenes in this plot, really coming in to her own.
As my review title states, this is a family movie. The darkest moments are Alejandro's sad drunken sloven days. Again and again, the values of family, fighting fair, not shooting anyone in the back, doing well in school, etc. are reinforced, but not in a preachy way. The young son of Zorro is quite a troublemaker in school, and he learns a lot about "doing the right thing" throughout the movie, much to the comic delight of the audience. See this with a younger audience and know that you are getting some good action/adventure, packed with comedy and romance, without anything vulgar. If you like darker entertainment, avoid this sequel.
on October 30, 2005
I have no faith in sequels. All I have to do is think about "The Lost World", "Back to the Future 2", and "The Temple of Doom" to reassure me that I can spend my time and money more wisely. However, when the special edition of the original movie comes packed with a FREE ticket... can you really go wrong?
The ''Legend of Zorro'' retains a lot of the energy, humor, and style from the first movie and that is more than enough to actually carry the film. I was worried going in to this that without Anthony Hopkins, the movie wouldn't have an anchor. I'm glad to report that Hopkins, while he is missed, is not an essential part of this new Zorro Universe and that is key.
The villians and story are "just good enough" to make sure this boat stays afloat while Banderas and Zeta-Jones do all the rowing. I'm sorry, but if you give this movie 1 star and are so bitter about it, you really must have a heavy heart... it's a fun-popcorn-movie!!
I did have my share of misgivings I hope can be righted in the next film.
Firstly, the balance of the cast is so good at general hand to hand combat [ie; children, women, peasants] that it does seem to undercut the heroic acts of Zorro. While viewing this one starts to get the idea that if ANY of the people in this film were wearing the mask, they too could be Zorro!!
Secondly, while I had a great time with the action scenes featuring Zorro, there were actually too few of them and again, the ones that were here were laced with other people kicking-butt.
Lastly, the writers seemed to try a bit too hard with the family dynamic. While on the one hand I can see them broadening the characters but on the other, it came off stiff and sometimes hollow.
Still, I cannot say this was a dissappointment. Zorro is a fantastic character and the Banderas-Jones one/two punch hopefully can live on through at least a few more movies... that is as long as they retain the direction of Martin Campbell and the reworked scores of James Horner.
on January 31, 2006
I am of the belief that any movie starring Antonio Banderas with a sword is proabbly going to be better than most movies that don't star Antonio Banderas with a sword (or a guitar case full of guns for that matter). It is with this notion in mind that "The Legend of Zorro" is a fun film. The action is very well choreographed and very enjoyable. Zorro's stunts are breathtaking and far superior to the stunts and swordplay in the very enjoyable "Mask of Zorro" film. I would even go so far as to say that the majority of the plot in "Legend of Zorro" is also superior to the storyline that takes place in Antonio's first turn as the masked, Zorro.
The sole reason for this film's 3 star rating is Catherine Zeta-Jones. Actually, that isn't even her fault. Catherine's character, Elena, is absolutely repulsive in this movie. She is whiney, she is rude, she is darn-near unbelievably difficult to tolerate. For lack of a better word, she is absolutely a gigantic b****. In spite of Elena's best attempts to make this movie no fun at all, Antonio's performance as Zorro and as a father are way fun and very enjoyable.
Buy this movie only if you are a total completist (as I am) and feel the need to own it simply because you own the first. Otherwise, this movie is probably not worth much more than a one-night rental, and it's honestly all Elena's fault.
on February 2, 2006
While it's not better than original. I found it to be a great sequel. What I enjoyed most that it wasn't predictable. It has a lot of suspense as well as drama. The movie starts with Elena and Alejandro divorcing as well his troubled relationship with his son Joaquin. Will it work out! Buy the DVD. Also the Special Features are great as well especially the behind the scenes footage.
on April 13, 2006
Over the years, Hollywood has taught us not to have much faith in sequels. Legend of Zorro is no exception to that formula. While not horrible (if you're interested enough in the franchise, its certainly worth seeing once), Legend lacked all the charm, sharp wit, exhilarating action sequences, and tight plot that made Mask of Zorro so popular.
The story opens ten years following the events of Mask of Zorro. Impoverished California is holding the vote for statehood. Naturally, there must be a loose cannon out there somewhere who is willing to go to extremes to stop the ballots from reaching the governor. The resident psycho shows up in the form of Jacob McGivens, convincingly portrayed by Nick Chinlund. So, it's Zorro to the rescue. We get the idea this was supposed to be his last gig, but now he's not so sure, and Elena's upset. Alejandro/Zorro doesn't spend enough time with their young son Joaquin. He's taking risks that aren't necessary any longer as statehood is imminent ... because apparently statehood is the solution to everything. So, we're faced with a messy situation, a divorce, Alejandro's drunken binge, and Elena's courtship with smooth talking Frenchman Armand who - surprise, surprise - turns out to be the big bad of the flick. All in all, I whole heartedly agree with the Amazon.com review that states there is just too much plot here. I gave the very brief, bullet point's version. Toss in all the subplots, twists and turns, and ridiculous scenes such as Joaquin's ruler duel with his teacher, and you've got a hodgepodge of plot that never knows which direction to go.
The acting is admirable, considering what the cast had to work with. They were likely just as confused by the direction of the movie as the average viewer. Still, Antonio Banderas shines in a part absolutely tailored to fit him, Catherine Zeta-Jones is always a treat, and Rufus Sewell has proven time and again he suits the cool, collected, debonair villainous role just fine.
Still despite the talent, the actors just couldn't save this script. Nothing ever seemed to click for this movie. Nothing sparked. Nothing moved me to really sit up and pay attention. What made Mask of Zorro great has vanished, and we're left with a cheap imitation merely trying to capitalize on the popularity of the prequel. Sorry, but in order to ride the coattails of a previous success, you really can't wait seven years. Perhaps if the sequel had been tackled sooner, something better would've shown up on screen. But I guess we'll never know as this was likely the death of the recently revived Zorro franchise.
on January 14, 2006
I want to encourage all kid's who love action packed adventure to see both the Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro. Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are incredible in both and the boy that plays the part of Joaquin their son in The Legend of Zorro, definitely holds his own!
I was born deaf so I normally use the captions whenever I view movies at home. But when I saw this movie at the theatre, the movie had so much to offer in every form of communication that I was able to know exactly what was happening all the time.
I first watched the Mask of Zorro with my Grandma when I was 8 years old. She wanted me to see it because it is one of her favorite movies. That day, it became my favorite movie too! Some parents might think that the movie is more for grown-ups because it doesn't seem like a "kid's movie", but just because it's not animated or a Disney film... it is every bit as much for kids ages 8 and up as any other superhero movie.
When I heard that another Zorro movie was coming, I was so excited! My mom, Grandma and me went to see it together and we all were entertained throughout the entire movie. I didn't think the Legend of Zorro would be quite as good as the Mask of Zorro, and I was right...it wasn't. IT WAS BETTER! Both movies are clean, funny, fast paced, action packed and adventurous! They will take you into a time and place that is amazing and you will be on the edge of your seat routing, cheering, laughing and gasping throughout the entire film!
So, if you like Spiderman, Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers or any of the superhero movies, get ready to add to the top of your collection of favorites because "The Legend of ZORRO" is sure to be one that you will want to watch over and over, just like me. I know, cause I'm a kid just like you!
on May 15, 2015
I watched this and the "Mask of Zorro" back to back. As a kid, I loved these movies. Lots of action and high flying adventure. But it's hard to recommend this movie when it's predecessor is so much better. A lot of unneeded plot lines and characters, including Zorro's son, bog this movie down. Antonio Banderas is, as usual, born for the role of Zorro, but even he can't do much to fix the problems of this movie.
on February 26, 2015
In this follow up to 1998’s The Mask of Zorro, Alejandro must try and abstain from adventuring as the black-masked crusader in an effort to keep his home life under control as his wife, Elena, now feels it’s time for him to give up the mask since he’s been Zorro for nine years. Meanwhile, a nefarious plan is afoot to stop California from becoming part of the United States. Soon the lines between the Fox’s life as Zorro and his life as Alejandro blur and our hero must balance the two and ensure California’s statehood comes to pass before it’s too late.
I loved The Mask of Zorro so was super excited when this one came out. To me, it was one of those “what took you so long?” things. Well, I don’t know what went on behind the scenes or why the delay, but I was happy when they finally made this movie. Due to being a new parent at the time, I didn’t make it to theatres to check it out and had to do so once it hit the direct market.
It was all right. Wasn’t as thrilling as the first one nor was the story as good. There was a lot of Zorro in this, which, of course, is a plus, but I think because it was more lighthearted than its predecessor I was let down. Sure, Zorro isn’t a grim and brooding hero, but since the first movie was so serious, I expected more of the same with this one. That’s not to say this was all slapstick and camp. Far from it. Just had this lighter vibe to it that I wasn’t really into.
I think, for me, the romantic tension in this movie is what wasn’t my thing. There was good reason for it in the context of the story, but I just didn’t see how Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) couldn’t just simply tell Alejandro (Antonio Banderas) what was going on and together they would take on Armand (Rufus Sewell). Perhaps relationships were different back then than they are now, I don’t know.
The swashbuckling and adventure were fun and would make any male watching it want to put on a mask and get on a horse and go ride around. Kind of hard nowadays, but you get the idea.
The thing that makes Zorro interesting in this movie is the fact that he has a son. Superman Returns aside, what other superhero on the big screen has to juggle being a dad and a superhero? Even in Superman Returns Superman didn’t find out about his kid until the end of the flick so we never got to see him be a family man and Earth’s champion. If you were a superhero and had kids, you’d have to keep it a secret lest they spill the beans to their friends. You’d also have to face years of them being disappointed in you because you’re always “working” and are never around. And the sacrifice involved on the part of the parent is also high because you’re missing out on all these great moments from your kid’s childhood because you’re off saving the day.
I think this movie would’ve worked well as a third in a trilogy after some kind of high-octane swashbuckling adventure of a second flick. Then you can have your hero think of retiring and moving on instead of setting him up as a legend at the end of the first movie then suddenly saying, “Nope, you’ve had enough. Let’s slow things down.” What happened in between?
This is a fun movie, don’t get me wrong, and is a good time for adults and kids alike.
I do recommend this movie because I think it’s important the younger generation knows who Zorro is in this day and age of high-profile DC and Marvel superheroes and suggest parents show their kids this flick for that reason.
Any Zorro exposure is good in my book.
on April 17, 2016
After going on a binge, and watching all of the American Zorro movies since 1920 I have to say this is not one of the better ones. This duology does a decent job of taking elements of the previous versions (flaming Z from "The Legon of Zorro"), this movie more than the first; however, it pushed some of the elements of Zorro to far off target for me to enjoy it. I was very glad that Zorro brought his whip using it like Douglas Fairbanks did back in "Don Q, Son of Zorro" --though no one, not even the stunt doubles in this movie could compare to his skill. It was also nice to see that Elena -- a strong female -- got to kick butt in both movies. A wonderful and completely new element. No woman character previously got to fight with more than words.
But again, the main appeal for the legacy of Zorro for me is that he is a strong, sophisticated, and elegant man play the part of the weak willed and political person by day. It was wonderful to see someone experiencing the hardship of not being able to do what you really want to in reality when you can put on a mask and do what is right without involving and harming those closest to you. To see it portrayed in the age of the 1820s-1840s during Mexican occupation---or in some version earlier during Spanish occupation allows the cultures of those times to shine through and show something very different. Pushing it forward to the 1850s when California joined the United States was too much for me. It was a culture shift that lost the appeal of why I like Zorro. (Don't misunderstand, I'm American and super patriotic...but I do not watch Zorro to see such elements.) They tried to over-copensate in adding more Spanish but it was the culture that appealed most. Though it was really nice to see a movie that didn't have really distractingly English accents. The movie was also more action-centric than plot and a lot of the fight scenes went on too long, as is the current tendency in action movies. Foremost was the attention to the divorce. That clashes with everything that Zorro is. I mean wow. And the fact that Elena did a 180 to what her views on fighting were from the previous movie? Way out of character. Yes, a child changes things but...long story short: no.
I think my overall view of the movie was most hindered by the Americanism, and the divorce focus. It changed the culture and characters too much for me. Without those two elements, I would have rated it higher. It brought back a lot of great things that I missed from Zorro in the previous movie.
Last side note: did anyone else notice that it said, "an historic" not, "a historic" in the introduction? They should have noticed that common grammatical mistake. I'm only halfway decent at grammar and noticed it.
Unlike many of the inevitable sequels that follow popular expensive movies, THE LEGEND OF ZORRO is happily a lot of fun to watch. Though overlong in excess of two hours, and though the story line is pushed beyond tolerable limits, it is easy to forgive the many weaknesses of the film and just enjoy the verbal and physical jousting between Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
The story this time 'round concerns the broken promise Alejandro de la Vega (Banderas) made to his wife Elena (Zeta-Jones) at their marriage ten years ago: Alejandro would give up his dangerous life as the masked Zorro. But the upcoming opportunity of statehood for California is at stake and so, of course, the five bells ring and Zorro is on his faithful steed Tornado to right the wrongs. Elena informs him that if he goes on another mission, he may as well not come home, despite the fact that they now have a son Joaquin (Adrian Alonso). But Zorro rides and gradually we discover the covert underpinnings of the cause to which Zorro is called. There is a newcomer in town, one Frenchman Armand (Rufus Sewell) who is mysteriously tied to the worst of all possible deeds with the aid of the smarmy Jacob McGivens (Nick Chinlund).... Elena, no slouch of a wimpy wife, joins in the action in a wily way, and ultimately with the help of good priests Brother Ignacio (Alberto Reyes) and especially Frey Felipe (Julio Oscar Mechoso) good triumphs over evil (surprise!).
There are some well staged duels and fighting episodes and some tender moments about family, especially father/son repartee, but the ingredient that makes these Zorro films work is the fact that Banderas and Zeta-Jones look like their have such a good time. There are many hilarious lines in the most unexpected places. No, this is not a great movie, and despite the fact that yet another sequel is probably planned, enough is enough. But it is entertaining in its lighthearted way. Grady Harp, February 06