The Mask of Zorro Retrospective
Our previous two films, in our free Swashbuckling Film Series at the Norwich Public Library, were The Adventures of Robin Hood, and The Princess Bride. Now, we present another similar type of film featuring a man eternally connected with a sword and mask, Zorro.
The Mask of Zorro is a 1998 action-adventure film. It’s an updating of the classic Zorro concept depicting the original Zorro, Don Diego (Anthony Hopkins), training a thief to take on the mantle of the masked hero. The film is a pastiche/modern updating of the Zorro mythos. Throughout its running time, it never feels over bloated, worn out, or too much. Instead, it’s got a great mix of action, adventure, and killer swordplay that I have come to love from these kinds of films.
The cast is terrific from top to bottom and this movie propelled Antonio Banderas’s career, who is utterly “charming” as the rogue, Alejandro Murrieta, Anthony Hopkins is wonderfully sarcastic and witty as Don Diego, for example when he asks Murrieta who has his sword in hand, “Do you know how to use that thing?”. Best of all, though, is Catherine Zeta Jones, who I’m certain made quite a few men fall in love with her when they saw this film. She’s beyond “hot”, and the way she holds her own against Alejandro Murietta is one of the film’s absolute best aspects.
The new Zorro comes charging in on his horse, accompanied by some great production design that recreated the old West feel of 1820’s California. James Horner’s terrific Latin-flavored score adds greatly to the mood. The film features some truly thrilling sequences including, as is common in these films, a clever sword fight duel between Banderas and Zeta Jones, where the latter shows that she’s more than capable of carrying a blade all on her own. Other impressive action sequences include an escape from the execution in the plaza, and a final battle between Zorro and his nemesis, Captain Love.
The Mask of Zorro is just a darn good time. It’s a modern day adventure film with a lot of “fast-paced” execution. Overall, it is a well-made film and I’m proud to present it as our third film in our free Swashbuckling Film Series this Saturday. I can’t wait to see it again myself.
Playing in Norwich at the Norwich Public Library’s Community Room, Saturday, November 17, 1:00 PM.