The Legend of Zorro
Arnita D. Brown | USA | 12/31/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is great. I loved it. Antonio Barderes and Zeta Jones are magnificant together. Great stunts and swordfights. This movie has a lot of heart. A comedy that sneaks up and tickles your funny bone. Very entertaining."
Mangled history, bewildering continuity, splendid swashbuckl
Chrijeff | Scranton, PA | 07/09/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is supposedly a sequel to The Mask of Zorro (Deluxe Edition), and it does feature two of the same characters (Antonio Banderas as the former Alejandro Murieta, now known as Alejandro de la Vega--perhaps Don Diego adopted him, or perhaps he took his wife's name--and Catherine Zeta-Jones as his wife Elena), but before it's run more than half an hour it trips itself up when Elena says that Alejandro has been Zorro for 10 years. That's impossible if the original was set, as it claimed to be, in 1846, because the very beginning of this installment sets it in 1850, just as the inhabitants of California are voting on whether to accept the new state Constitution. And as the movie goes on, it keeps on getting confuseder and confuseder, with mention of the Confederacy and its army (neither existed till early 1861), croquet (which wasn't imported to the US till c. 1863), Henry rifles (not introduced till c. 1860), polo (not imported till the '80's), the Pinkertons (established 1850) operating for the Government (they didn't start doing that till Lincoln was elected), a railroad in California (I don't think there were any till later that decade), and "bathrooms" for toilets (the term simply wasn't used that way till indoor plumbing became common in the '80's and '90's). There's also an assertion that the people of California were "poor" (by 1850 the Gold Rush was booming), and several of the American bad guys use swords (something Americans had pretty much ceased to do around the 1830's). Still, the wild plot and wonderful fight scenes go a long way toward making up for all of this. Alejandro has promised Elena he'll give up the mask once the US government is in a position to defend the rights of the people, but Zorro has become so much a part of who he is that he can't bring himself to do it. Before he knows what's happening, Elena has served him with divorce papers (and would a good Catholic girl have done that back then?). This leads him to embark on a three-month binge, but when he learns that Elena is being courted by a French newcomer (Rufus Sewell), it leads him to some startling revelations, and soon the Fox is riding again.
Besides its gymnastic sword fights (it's clear that the director was familiar with Richard Lester's exuberant The Complete Musketeers (The Three Musketeers / The Four Musketeers)), Elena's spitfire modernity (which modern feamle viewers will like), and a really slimy villain (Nick Chunlund as Jacob McGivens, a sadistic hypocrite who isn't described as a nativist--a species very common at that time--but clearly is one), the plot offers Alejandro and Elena's young son Joaquin (Adrian Alonso), who idolizes Zorro and has even mastered some of his moves, and the "Knights of Aragon," a secret society said to be "the power behind all the kings in Europe," who fear that America threatens their supremacy and are plotting to bring her down with tactics that will resonate nicely with old viewers of The Wild Wild West: The Complete Series. As with its predecessor, then, the best thing to do is assume that everything is going on in an alternate Universe (and that the "1850" in the opening crawl is a typo), and just sit back and enjoy the fireworks (literal and figurative)."