Mask of Zorro on DVD
Old Style Swashbuckling
Columbia Tristar has taken a good DVD and made it even better with this
There's something for everyone on this disc, even video fans who don't
like the black bars above and below the screen on widescreen movies. That's
because this two disc set includes a second copy of the movie, in the
inferior but sometimes more comfortable for some Pan&Scan format.
There's a lot more to like, too.
The movie stars Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins as successive incarnations
of the famous Californian swashbuckler. Hopkins is the Don Diego de la
Vega we know and love from the old Disney series (and movies starring
the likes of Douglas Fairbanks and Tyrone Power.), who at the beginning
of the movie is captured and imprisoned, his wife killed, and his daughter
stolen by the evil Don Rafael Montero, a powerful but cowardly aristocrat
who takes her away with him and raises her as if she were his own daughter.
Jump forward twenty years or so and Don Rafael shows up on California
soil again, more hateful than ever and with a plot to set up California
as an independent republic bought from Santa Ana with stolen gold.
Don Diego escapes from the prison in which he's been stuck since the
film's opening and comes across the now grown up boy who had once aided
him (at the beginning of the movie, fortunately, so we know what he's
talking about) - the dashing Alejandro Murrieta, who looks amazingly like
Murrieta has a hate on for Captain Harrison Love (Matthew Letscher),
a really bad US officer who's in cahoots with Don Rafael. Diego takes
him under his wing, teaches him the ways of the Force (oops, sorry, wrong
movie!), trains and calms Alejandro down, explaining to him that only
by keeping himself under control and learning how to fight properly can
he attain both of their goals of vengeance and freedom.
So we get a nifty section where Alejandro is taught how to properly buckle
his swash before being unleashed upon an unsuspecting enemy army - and
upon the equally unsuspecting Elena Montero (wonderfully played by Catherine
Zeta-Jones) who, naturally, is the daughter Diego had stolen.
This is a wonderful action movie, yet not a mindless one, that's chock
full of terrifically choreographed swashbuckling sword fights and stunts
- enough of them that you're nearly exhausted by the time the closing
credits start rolling. It's grand old Hollywood-style action done with
state-of-the-art moviemaking, much as "Raiders of the Lost Ark" did it
And that's not a bad flick to be compared to!
The action is great, the performances first rate, the music and sound
is loud and lively, the effects wonderful; in short, "The Mask of Zorro"
is a great popcorn movie in the grandest of the grand tradition.
Hopkins does a great job as the aging swashbuckler who still has what
it takes. Banderas, often dismissed as nothing but a pretty face, is also
very good, bringing just the right amount of brashness to the role. Zeta-Jones
is delicious as the gutsy dame longing for adventure, and the rest of
the supporting cast perform to the hilt, without ever resorting to scenery
Columbia Tristar's Special Edition DVD does the film justice (especially
if you stick to the anamorphic widescreen version). The video transfer
is pristine, with colors that leap out off the screen (and that, thanks
to the anamorphic widescreen version, look great on a 16x9 TV). The audio
is presented in both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1, and envelopes you wonderfully
in the clashing of metal upon metal, castanets, guitars, whips, hooves,
and people. There's excellent surround, great low frequency effects, wonderfully
Then there are the extras. First off is a full length running commentary
from director Martin Campbell, which is available on both versions of
the film. Then you get an exclusive documentary "Unmasking Zorro," some
deleted scenes, a look at the film's costume designs, a music video by
Marc Anthony and Tina Arena (the actual music plays over the closing credits
of the film), trailers, filmographies, advertising materials, and more.
The Mask of Zorro, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
137 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 TV compatible/"Full Screen"
(non 16x9 TV compatible)
Starring Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stuart
Wilson, Matt Letscher
Produced by Doug Claybourne and David Foster
Written by John Eskow and Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio, Directed by
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