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Click above to purchase "The Mask Of Zorro Special Edition"
The Mask Of Zorro
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 137 minutes
Starring Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine
Zeta-Jones, Stuart Wilson, Matt Letscher
Screenplay by John Eskow and Ted Elliott & Terry
Story by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio and Randall
Directed by Martin Campbell
Retail Price: $27.95
Features: Audio Commentary with Director Martin
Campbell, "Unmasking Zorro" Documentary, Deleted Scenes,
Costume Desgins, Music Video, Talent Files, TV Spots,
Publicity Photo Portraits, Theatrical Teaser, Theatrical
Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Full
Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1, French
Dolby Digital 5.1, English Closed Captions, English
Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles,Scene
Selections (28 Scenes), Two-Disc Set
Released: September 25th, 2001
Come now and let us journey back to the summer of 1998.
Oh, what a summer it was for movies. "Mulan" was a pretty
big success for Disney, "Armageddon" was the smash hit and
"The Mask Of Zorro" feel somewhere in between. While the
film scored big box office, it was backed up with a good
deal of hype and positive buzz. Critics did enjoy it, and
"The Mask Of Zorro" became a fast crowd pleaser. With its
stellar cast, great action and sharp writing, this new breed
of "Zorro" was supposed to start a new franchise for
Columbia/Tristar. Unfortunately, those plans still seem to
be suspended in motion. While I await a sequel,
Columbia/Tristar has gone back to rerelease the film on DVD
in a cool special edition.
So what's the plot of this new Zorro? We begin in
nineteenth century Mexico, where the old Zorro, AKA Don
Diego de la Vega (Anthony Hopkins), was a hero to all
against the evil Montero. However, right before the
liberation of Mexico, Montero learns who Zorro really is and
invades his home. Accidentally killing his wife (who Montero
also loved), Montero kidnaps Diego's daughter (by claiming
her for his own) and holds Don Diego captive. Twenty years
pass, and Don Diego escapes his imprisonment with intent on
reclaiming his daughter and seeks his revenge. Don Diego
soon meets up with Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas), a
man who did help Diego long ago. Diego agrees to train
Alejandro as the new masked man, where they must stop
Montero from taking total control of California.
"The Mask Of Zorro" is pure popcorn entertainment, and in
my opinion, one of the best of those movies from the 1990s.
I remember there being a good drought a few years ago for a
classic, action adventure movie that used a script and its
characters, plus classic stunts instead of overusing special
effects. But I think what makes "The Mask Of Zorro" succeed
is that it features so many great elements, plus a well
developed and entertaining story and fuses them together.
That's right, this movie is not some usual jumbled mess as
an excuse for cool action sequences, but really has a
magnificent edge to it.
The screenplay, written by John Eskow and Ted Elliott as
well as Terry Rossio (the two a duo who have worked on a
good deal of animation screenplays) is pretty fantastic.
They develop a good sense of the characters, and develop
them and their motives well leading to good tensions and
confrontations. They also know how to have fun with their
writing, creating interesting situations and writing up good
action packed scenes. There's a good balance to what is
written here. They have plot elements, and in between action
scenes, so two different audiences won't be bored very long
during periods of time. But if you like a good story and
good action, then you won't complain at all.
I believe so much of the movie works due to its
charismatic cast who are energetic and have good chemistry
between them. Antonio Banderas was simply born to play
Zorro, capturing the excitement and strength of the fighter.
Not to mention Alejandro is flawed himself, so Banderas
captures the vulnerability as well and the character's
mindset improves as the movie goes along. Anthony Hopkins
brings his usual graceful touch as Don Diego, serving as a
fine and wise mentor to Alejandro. And of course, Catherine
Zeta Jones, in her breakthrough role, is a great love
interest and holds her own.
Yet what all ties it together is Martin Campbell's
astounding direction. The movie lasts over two hours, but it
doesn't feel that long. Besides capturing great shots and
editing the movie well, there's a great flow to it making it
feel fleshed out, developed and it goes along at the right
pace. It never goes too fast but it never drags either. Not
to mention the climatic finale and stunts, which Campbell
seems to have directed with ease. Adding its own flair is
James Horner's memorable, zesty and catchy score that fits
the movie so well.
So there you have it. "The Mask Of Zorro" is quite a good
movie, and this special edition finally does it justice.
After delays and delays, and the fact the content was
available in other regions, I must say, plus the inclusion
of a DTS track, made it all worth it. Sit back and enjoy!
Columbia/Tri-Star should please everyone here, as the
film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1
full screen in this set (one transfer for each disc). Each
transfer are quite incredible, so take your preferred
viewing aspect ratio. Though this release is not THX
certified, the widescreen transfer seems to be same as the
one from the older DVD version, which was THX certified (and
did not include the full frame transfer). Colors are bold
and striking, giving off a mesmerizing picture with the
variety of Spanish-flavored hues to make this new legend of
Zorro come to life. Color saturation is amazing, while
blacks are deep and bold, and detail is rather fantastic.
Now and then there is a blemish or scratch, but that's a
rare case and they are never distracting. The sharpness of
these transfers are amazing, and while there can be grain,
there's so much visual fair it's not really noticeable. I
didn't see any shimmering or noise either. These are rather
illustrious, though slightly flawed transfers. Though do go
for the widescreen version... I hate full frame (of course),
and during some key scenes you do lose a good deal of the
picture. Still, there is very little to complain about.
Slight edge enhancement, while the glorious interior and
exterior locations look amazing.
On both transfers you'll find stunning English Dolby
Digital and DTS 5.1 mixes that simply scream reference
quality. James Horner's catchy, thrilling and highly
original score is well mixed through the channels, while the
swords clanging and swishing give off a really incredible
effect. The intense finale, crowds cheering, explosions and
big fight scenes really put you directly in the action. .1
LFE is booming, while no sounds are distorted and retain a
good balance. You can hear everything without one element
overpowering the other. The two come really close when put
directly head to head, but I must say I did prefer the DTS a
little bit more. I felt the DTS had better dynamic range in
some respects, not to mention I felt it had a bit more power
in it. It felt more full and had more subtle sounds. There's
just a great amount of momentum and all of it feels so
natural. Also included is a French 5.1 Dolby Digital track,
English subtitles, French subtitles, Spanish subtitles and
English closed captions.
Originally released as a bare bones disc nearly three
years ago, it would only be a matter of time before "The
Mask Of Zorro" would be revisited, considering
Columbia/Tristar's track record to remake titles, and the
fact there has been a special edition in other regions.
On both discs we have an Audio Commentary with
Director Martin Campbell. This is a rather strong
commentary, as Campbell is relaxed and poised. Right when
the film begins, he starts talking and just doesn't seem to
stop offering information about everything. No pauses... he
just goes on and on, which is a very good thing. From the
opening titles, to his cast to James Horner, Campbell is
very enthusiastic and offers a good deal of praise for his
cast and crew, not to mention Steven Spielberg's own story
ideas that made it into the movie. Very well done. If you
liked the movie, this is really worth a listen.
The documentary Unmasking Zorro is included, and
is even divided into sixteen chapter stops. This forty-five
minute documentary is superbly done, and is not very
promotional at all. Besides, your usual clips from the movie
and behind-the-scenes footage, stills and interviews are
used. This documentary is one of the most in-depth I've seen
on DVD, as it has a variety of interviews. President of
Zorro productions, historians on the character, Campbell,
Banderas and just a ton of people to give an exciting and
really cool look at the history of the character and making
the movie. This is a must-watch, as you'll learn about the
stunts, the sword fighting, the locations, the sound and the
controversial original ending (which can be found on this
With that said, there are two Deleted Scenes in
non-anamorphic widescreen and below average quality, while
the editing seems to be done on the film, the sound effects
aren't quite complete it seems. You have "The Wallel" and
"The Resolution." The latter is the original ending, but,
after test audiences viewed the movie, they didn't like it
as far as accpeting a character's death so they changed it.
There's a nifty Costume Designs section where you
can read a nice text introduction, then see a comparison of
the film costumes to the original designs, watch the Marc
Anthony and Tina Arena "I Want To Spend My Lifetime Loving
You" Music Video and read the Talent Files.
Rounding it all out is the Advertising Materials section,
where you can view Publicity Photo Portraits, view no
less than twelve TV Spots and watch the Theatrical
Teaser and Theatrical Trailer. And like usual,
sweet production notes are in the keep case insert.
"The Mask Of Zorro" is wonderful popcorn entertainment.
This DVD delivers reference quality audio and great
transfers. While this special edition is not jammed packed,
there's a good amount of into on creating the movie. It's
worth the upgrade if you own the original, but if you never
owned it, jump at your chance right here.
(4.5/5 - NOT included in
(4.5/5, NOT an average)