"The Legend of Zorro" just isn't the same film as the first. It's a tamer, more kid friendly version of the first film with sillier characters, a wobbly story and not-so rousing sword fights.
Legend of Zorro (2005, Blu-ray)
Directors: Martin Campbell
Producers: Steven Spielberg .... executive producer
Writers: Roberto Orci (screenplay) & Alex Kurtzman (screenplay) Roberto Orci (story) & Alex Kurtzman (story) and Ted Elliott (story) & Terry Rossio (story) Johnston McCulley (character)
Features: * Featurettes * Commentary * Deleted Scenes * Multi-Angle Featurette * Trailer * Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Nick Chinlund...Jacob McGivens
Julio Oscar Mechoso...Frey Felipe
Legend of Zorro Blu-ray Review
When I was just a young boy I remember sitting with my Grandfather, eating a snack and talking about life, movies, family etc. It was one of many moments he and I shared together where he made me feel like I was an adult. I recall asking him about who his favorite superhero was (at the time, I favored Superman). He told me that of all the superheros out there, he favored Zorro the best. He said that he loved watching the old serials when he was growing up. He told me about how exciting they were and how they easily topped most of the action made today.
I was so excited when "The Mask of Zorro" was released because my generation would finally be treated to the same excitement my Grandfather had as a boy. And my Grandfather was right, the action in the Zorro movies topped a lot of what we see today, even in his 1998 incarnation.
Needless to say, I was very excited when Sony finally green lit a sequel to that film, almost seven years later. Unfortunately, that excitement melted away rather quickly. "The Legend of Zorro" just isn't the same film as the first. It's a tamer, more kid friendly version of the first film with sillier characters, a wobbly story and not-so rousing sword fights. Perhaps it has something to do with the lull between pictures, or the age of cast. Or perhaps it's the splash of panache and color Anthony Hopkins brought to the first film that's so desperately needed this time around. Or perhaps the film followed the same fatal blow that mars so many other films and TV shows, the characters from the first film must now deal with their child, an unwelcome addition to the Zorro legacy.
Whatever charm Hopkins brought to the series in the first entry is flushed away by the cliche, tired and bored subplot involving Zorro's child. To make matters even worse, the plot revolves around a nasty divorce between Catherine Zeta Jones' Elena and Antonio Banderas' Alejandro/Zorro. It's corrupt, modern tone mars the entire proceedings making the film an unholy combination of light hearted goofing around mixed with mean spirited bickering. The film does have it's moments, most of them being the sword battles, but the moments are fewer than the last outing.
Does it all end well for Zorro and his family? You can probably figure that one out. I ponder why the screenwriters felt it was necessary to drag us through such sloppy mud? This could have been a rip-rouring sequel to a classic action film, but as it stands, it's a somewhat entertaining let down. I can truly say that my grandfather would have loved the first film, but I question whether he would have loved the second.
Film Report Card:
As entertainment: B
As a film: C-
This is a review of the Blu-ray edition of "The Legend of Zorro."
Sony presents "The Legend of Zorro" in 2.35:1 widescreen and 1080p/AVC video on a dual-layer BD50 disc. As far as transfers go, this one is certainly top notch, particularly for a catalog release. Film dust and grain is non-existent. Textures are replicated well and black levels are finely tuned with little crush. The daylight scenes are bright and very sharp and darker, nighttime sequences are well leveled with a strong sense of sharpness to them as well. This is a great transfer that easily makes my "catalog reference" list.
Sony delivers a very strong Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track. It's full of rousing surround effects that envelop the listener. The placement of the effects is well done. The center channel is never drowned out. This is a fine mix that compliments the fine transfer. A PCM track would have been an awesome inclusion, but this track suffices.
Sony ports over all the extras from the previous DVD release making this a fairly solid special edition. Those features include:
* Audio Commentary - Director Martin Campbell and cinematographer Phil Meheux discuss the making and creation of this film to great length. Campbell is very engaging and makes this track worth it for fans and casual listeners. Worth a look.
* Featurettes: "Playing with Trains", "Visual Effects", "Stunts" and "Armand's Parth" - Running a combined 45 minutes, this is mainly EPK stuff with a little dash of in-depth making-of coverage. A documentary would have been better, but what's here is interesting enough to warrant a once over.
* Deleted Scenes - These are some decent scenes that could have worked in the final cuts. They run roughly ten minutes total.
* Multi-Angle Scene Deconstructions - Pretty self-explanatory. You can use your remote to toggle between camera angles during some of the films' more dazzling action set pieces.
* Theatrical Trailers - Oddly, there are no trailers for Zorro here, just "Close Encounters." Very weird.
Other the trailers being in HD, there's nothing here. Sorry.
The film is presented in a blue "Elite" case and is in keeping with Sony's other titles. There's still too much Blu-ray advertising on the box and the stills used for the film are murky and low-res making this a poor advertisement for the film and for Blu-ray. What were they thinking?
"The Legend of Zorro" is passable entertainment, but it's hardly the film that "The Mask of Zorro" is. The Blu-ray presentation lacks any new special features for fans to peruse, but does port over everything from the DVD while offering a stellar transfer with great audio making this a "must-have" titles for fans. If only Sony would rethink their high-def strategy and release some of their better titles on Blu-ray (*cough* "Mask of Zorro" *cough*).
Blu-ray Report Card:
HD Content: N/A
Overall Value: B
On Blu-ray: December 11st, 2007.
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----R. L. Shaffer