johnlink ranks THE MASK OF ZORRO (1998)

I don’t think I’ve seen this since it came out in theaters, but there are still some scenes I remember pretty vividly despite it being over a decade since my last viewing. That says something. It might not mean its a classic flick, but it is certainly a fun one!

I watched THE MASK OF ZORRO (1998) on 5.1.11. It was my second viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

I actually have a few more thoughts about this movie than I thought, so let’s dig right in.

This would not be nearly the movie it is without Anthony Hopkins as the original Zorro. He knows when to play levity, and when to add some real depth. He relates back story, or an entire emotional scene, with a look. And it works. I know this isn’t a great ‘film’ in any sense, but Hopkins adds an air of respect. It works for the character, but it also works in the movie’s favor.

Despite this being over two hours, it feels like chunks are left out. It is a little too easy for Banderas to go from bumbling criminal to athletic swordsman. I don’t buy it. That’s not his fault, it’s the film’s. This movie gives a ton of time to fast-paced action, and that certainly makes it fun. But I could have used three minutes less of an entirely unbelievable horse chase and three minutes more of Zorro convincing me of the transition.

Antonio Banderas, despite the movie’s flaws, was born to play Zorro. Someone must have watched DESPERADO and sat up in their seat. It’s obvious just looking at him. He really does a nice job, and Catherine Zeta Jones (who is Welsh, playing Mexican) does better than you’d expect in a film like this. I buy her role completely. But this film doesn’t have a ton of respect for women. The last scene is pretty laughable in its anti-feminist slant. Subtle, but laughable.

The swordfights are great. Really great. It’s awesome seeing Hopkins pick up a blade and go, especially when we can see clearly that it is not a stunt double. Just tons of fun.

This film is more violent than I remember. The sequel is family-friendly PG, but this first flick had some killing, had some moments of surprise (head in a jar anyone). Nothing crazy graphic, it is PG-13. But I was surprised a bit at the body count. I guess the PG-13 rating has softened over the last decade.

Bottom line? This is still a very fun movie. It has a timelessness which will allow it to still be fun another decade from now. When you do period well, it has that effect (like Flynn’s ROBIN HOOD). It doesn’t matter when you made it, as long as you sell it as of its subject’s time.





~ by johnlink00 on May 2, 2011.

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