In this day of movies in which one can't tell whether the action was manufactured by computer generation or by a cookie cutter, The Mask of Zorro is a grand throwback. It recalls and celebrates the fantasy workshop that Ho... more »llywood was and can be at its best. It's an audience pleaser in the best sense of the word, combining great-looking performers with gorgeous vistas and production design, a story that is familiar yet never insults the viewer's intelligence, and plenty of eye-popping action. Anthony Hopkins stars as the original Zorro, a masked vigilante protecting his people from official corruption in Mexico and what will become California (from Hannibal Lecter to Merchant-Ivory to action hero--is there nothing this man cannot do?). He's imprisoned for his troubles, and upon his release, mentors an impetuous pupil (Antonio Banderas, more suave than ever) in the fine arts of swordplay and triumphing over evil. Catherine Zeta-Jones capably portrays the beauty linked to both men--Zorro I's daughter, Zorro II's object of desire. The plotting contains few surprises, but the interplay between the three leads is always winning, and the winks to the swashbuckling genre are playful without ever being heavy-handed or campy. --David Kronke« less
Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones and others shine in this. The plotline is solid and the action scores and stunts are great (not having all the CGI fake non-sense). A must see!
Zorro has never been given a better treatment!
D. Litton | Wilmington, NC | 03/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Remember all those old movies where the swashbuckling hero swoops down to the rescue and saves the day for one and all, defeating the enemies and getting the girl all within a few hours' entertainment? "The Mask of Zorro" is a testament to those movies, embodying all of these characteristics in its magnificent story and exhilarating action sequences. With a powerhouse cast that seems as if they were born to play the parts they play, as well as strong music and a solid story, Zorro once again rises from Hollywood deterioration to save the day in a movie that is good, old-fashioned fun from beginning to end!The old Zorro legend is given a new twist with this film, which begins with Don Diego de la Vega, the original and legendary Zorro, saving a group of prisoners from execution in the town square and leaving his mark on his nemesis, Don Raphael, warning him to leave and never return. Raphael does leave, but not before killing de la Vega's wife and taking his child, also having him imprisoned. Many years later, Raphael returns, "daughter" in tow, to name himself the new governer and to make sure his past enemy is all but alive in his prison. Through extreme craftiness and cunning, de la Vega escapes, only to discover his life is no longer what it once was. His venture into the public brings him to the attention of one Alejandro Murrieta, who quarrels with him in the marketplace and then resolves himself to friendship. The two do share a past: on the day of Zorro's last battle, Alejandro, along with his brother, saved him from death. Now, Alejandro is distraught and torn with revenge for Captain Harrison Love, the murderer of his brother, and agrees to take on the mask once worn by de la Vega, who in turn will teach him the art of fighting with honor and grace. The movie is one of those tributes to the old movies of the past, which played out the story of a hero who won all the goods and the girl in the ending. This one admittedly involves a few more characters than those old movies, but that's not to say that they don't each play a special part in the advancement of the movie. The romance, epic scale, action sequences and extreme wit are all present, making this a very exciting and memorable movie experience. The advancement of the plot lies within the external battle between Raphael and our two heroes, who devise plan after plan to bring him to his downfall. They discover that he has made plans of tricking Santa Anna out of his own land, thus setting the stage for the impending climax which pits good against evil. The characters are all given the chance to become complex and intelligent, which is important in a movie like this. As they begin to outmatch one another, this adds on to the movie's tension over who will win out in the end. The settings and music have a vast effect on the look and feel of this movie, which takes place in the 19th century. The sets are full of artistic influences from Spanish backgrounds and artists, giving it the true look and feel of the time period. Costume design also adds to the grandeur and pomp of the aristocracy as well as the impoverished conditions of the poor, adding to the contrast between the two differing demographics. The music, composed by James Horner, is amazing, employing Spanish instruments and rhythms while keeping a mordern feel to its score as well. The music adds a lot of heart to the movie, bringing out the intensity, the romance, the passion, and the victories with stylish and rousing compositions that fit right into the entire picture. The choreography and stunts for this film are what really make it work for the audience, dazzling us with some of the most effective swordplay ever acted out on film. Most of the battle scenes involve men with swords, fighting against one another with an honorable form of battle. Actors Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stuart Wilson and Matt Letscher all hit the swordplay as if they are prose, adding believability as well as excitement to these scenes. The actors mentioned above bring so much to the movie. Banderas is magnificent in his role as Alejandro, the new Zorro, a role he seems destined to have played. His looks, his charm, and his wit and personality all make this Zorro one of the finest ever. Hopkins brings his usual presence to the movie, establishing his character as one of immense wit and intelligence, while also possessing a vast knowledge of the art of fighting. Catherine Zeta-Jones sparkles in her role as Elena, de la Vega's daughter, and the chemistry between she and Banderas is dazzling and intense. Stuart Wilson and Matt Matt Letscher play our enemies, and they do so with performances to match those of the heroes. "The Mask of Zorro" is one big piece of fun that works on many different levels. Some will find pleasure in watching the actors work with the material, some will find intrigue in watching the romance unfold, while the action and adventure will most likely be the most influential factor that wins over the audience. It never stops moving, and keeps dishing out the thrills, the laughs, and the cheers."
One of my family's favorite movies!
B Mistele | Grayslake, IL USA | 09/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Packed with action, romance and humor. This is a great movie that anyone would enjoy. It's suitable for all members of the family. Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones deliver excellent performances. And there's an incredible chemistry between Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Get it. You won't be disappointed!"
Soon to be a classic
Jamie Bouadana | Rhymney UK | 03/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is probably the best sword fighting film I have seen with lots of action and a great story line. A film fact is that the guy who teachs the actors how to sword fence has done so many movies from robin hood, three muskateers and now zorro he is actually in his 70's. Basically the story involves De la Vega (Anthony Hopkins) who is the original Zorro in the movie and then after years of him being in jail he teaches alexandro(Antonio Bandaras) all his skills to continue his service to the people a master/apprentice type movie. A classic quote from the movie De la vega:"zorro was a servant of the people he did what was needed !" Alexandro "Yes and now he is needed agian". The acting is superb Anthony Hopkins(enough said), Antonio Bandaras plays the part of zorro reall swarve and calm and not forgeting the lovely Catherine Zeta Jones who has a spanish look about her and her accent is well done well suited to the part. The DVD sound and picture is superb quality and the special documentary is very interesting, it explains all the planning that is put into the movie from the staged sword fights to the backround scenary."
A wonderfully fun and immensely entertaining joy of a film
Tom Benton | North Springfield, VT USA | 10/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I had long considered watching "The Mask of Zorro". When its sequel, "The Legend of Zorro", came to my town's theater, my family decided that we'd better watch it before seeing the sequel.
"The Mask of Zorro" is a sequel - not a remake - to the Zorro films and series of old. The film begins with the original Zorro, played by Anthony Hopkins, losing his wife and daughter and being imprisoned. The rest of the film is set twenty years later, as the old Zorro teaches a young, skilled thief (played by Antonio Banderas) what he needs to know to put on the mask.
"The Mask of Zorro" is truly a wonderful film. It's directed by Martin Campbell, who also directed films like "Beyond Borders", "GoldenEye", and the upcoming "Casino Royale". I thought it was an interesting how "Mask of Zorro" was filmed in a style extremely similar to that of "GoldenEye". Campbell is a great director, and he has a distinct directorial style to him that is perfect for this film.
The cast is great. Anthony Hopkins, for me anyways, stold the show. He was really fantastic. But Antonio Banderas was wonderful as well; his scenes with Hopkins are some of the best in the film. Catherine Zeta-Jones is beautiful in her scenes, and Stuart Wilson was a hateable badguy.
The film is well-photographed, and it looks terrific thanks to some beautiful sets and scenery. James Horner's score makes it all the more adventurous and exciting, as well as heroic. The script - co-written by Terry Rossio & Ted Elliott, who worked on another fantastic adventure movie, "Pirates of the Caribbean" - is well-written and engrossing. There's never a dull moment.
All in all, I had a great time watching this. "The Mask of Zorro" is a wonderfully fun and immensely entertaining joy of a film, great for watching alone or with the whole family. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone looking to watch a fine movie."