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Mask of Zorro Appreciation Thread (1 Viewer)

Michael Martin

Screenwriter
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Nov 26, 2000
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I happened to stay home sick from work yesterday morning and popped in 1998's "Mask of Zorro." This is a film that for me just gets better every time I watch it!

I love how the movie knows exactly what kind of story it is, and doesn't try to be something different. It's a great case of HOW the story is told, not WHAT happens. I mean, you pretty much know what's going to happen, at least the big plot.

But all of the elements - the acting, the writing, the production, the music - all were top-notch. And while there was a lot of humor in the movie, I never feel like they are mocking the characters or the idea of Zorro.

Just a few of the highlights for me:
  • The swordfights - ALL are incredible, and even better, all make sense within the story. They don't feel like they were stuck in as an afterthought or as padding. My favorite: when Zorro goes to steal the map from Don Rafael.
  • The scene between Diego (Anthony Hopkins) and Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) in the stable. Terrific acting for both of them.
  • Banderas PERFECTLY cast as the young Zorro - a great combination of passion, humor and physical presence
  • Production design and storytelling made the story feel "big" and expansive
  • CATHERINE ZETA-JONES!!!!
    htf_images_smilies_yum.gif

Hopefully there are a few HTFers out there who feel the same as I do....
 

Paul Case

Supporting Actor
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Jan 5, 2002
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Michael, I couldn't agree more. It's just one of those pitch perfect adventure films. Like you said, it knows exactly what it wants to be and it achieves its goals on every level. I never get tired of watching it. I remember when it first came out I skipped seeing it because the trailers made it look cheesy. When it hit video, I rented it and immediately started kicking myself for missing it on the big screen. I'm still kicking myself to this day. ;)

Anyway, it's just a fun movie. It's nice to see somebody starting up an appreciation thread for it. :emoji_thumbsup:
 

Holadem

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Strangely enough, I was quite bored and somewhat turned off by the cheese when I saw it in the theater, as I was expecting a more serious, more dramatic movie for some reason. Additionally, it was my second movie of the day, it was late, and I was tired. However, I thougth it looked and sounded absolutely gorgeous. So naturally, several months later, it was the first disc (rented from BB) I popped into my brand new DVD player. The picture on my 20" was better than anything I had imagined. The sound through my mini system was absolutely fabulous. Many upgrades later, the movie still techinically rocks, but it has also dramatically grown on me. It's now one of my favorite escapist pieces.

I played the teaser (In a world where justice is outlawed, the just must be outlawed or somesuch :)) on my computer almost as much as I played the LOTR internet trailer back then. That will be my one reason for getting the special edition of the DVD one day.

And really, who could forget the movie that introduced us to the beautiful Zeta-Jones?

--
Holadem
 

Bryan Tuck

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In my opinion, this is one of the best summer popcorn movies of the last decade (can't believe it's already been 5 years since it came out).

Michael, you are exactly right in that it's HOW the story is told, how the plot unfolds. Even though it's escapism, it treats its plot and characters (not to mention the audience) with dignity and respect. And it's just a genuinely exciting movie, not only because of the expertly choreographed action sequences, but because we are interested in the characters as well.

As a side note, it's a great widescreen/P&S example to show someone. I showed a friend of mine the sword fight sequence Michael was talking about in both formats, and during the P&S, she said, "You can't even see the other guy!" :D

At any rate, I love this movie. Now I want to go watch it again.
 

Chris Farmer

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Great movie, one of my favorites. It's not high art or anything like that, it's just a good fun movie. It knows exactly what it is, and never tries to hard to be something more "important." It's perfectly content to be a well-thought out very enjoyable Zorro movie. Rather it's just a top-notch, extremely enjoyable action/semi-comic booky movie. It's having fun but never lets things get too far away from itself and out of control. You know what's gonna happen in every scene, but you can't stop watching because you really do like the characters, and it's all done with such great visual flair that you just want to see how the next obvious plot point is accomplished. The movie is just plain fun, and that counts for a lot.
 

John_Berger

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Fantastic movie. Nothing else to be said.

Hell, there are even some lines in the ending theme that are quite deep.
 

Andy Sheets

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And really, who could forget the movie that introduced us to the beautiful Zeta-Jones?
You never saw The Phantom? :)

I tend to agree that Zorro gets more enjoyable when viewed a second time. The first time I saw it, I was enjoying Anthony Hopkins so much in the part in the beginning that I resented it when Banderas came along and they started training him as the replacement. I'm just not a big fan of "the great hero's gotten too old so he has to train a young asshole to replace him" stories; rather, I enjoy seeing heroes get over the hill so they have to not only save the day but deal with arthritis while doing so ;)

However, when I saw it second time, that didn't bother me so much as Banderas does do a good job of playing the younger guy. It's a fun movie.
 

Charles J P

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This is one of my favorite (under-rated) movies. I'm not even sure what it is that I like. I think its the flavor. I love the music, the scenery, the sword fights. etc. Great flick!
 

Joshua_Y

Screenwriter
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Dec 19, 2002
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This is indeed just one of the most flat out fun movies in the past 10 years...perfect casting...great fights...lotta fun! Bout time someone made an appreciation thread about it...
 

Tim Glover

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Agree. A fun movie with great characters, good acting, nice score etc...even though it was a nice box-office hit, I too think it's underrated. And yes, Zeta-Jones
htf_images_smilies_smiley_jawdrop.gif


"Yes, father, he was very, very vigorous"...Oh Behaaaave!
 

Ricardo C

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Excellent movie :) I didn't think it would work nearly as well as it did. Banderas as the new Zorro was an inspired choice, but Anthony Hopkins as Diego de la Vega was the true star. I remember critics wondering why the producers chose to cast an Englishman as a Spanish don, but I have to say it was a no-brainer! Who better than Hopkins to capture the romantic image of the 19th-century Spanish caballero? :emoji_thumbsup: Guy Williams would have been proud :)
 

Paul_Scott

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i'll echo Ricardo.
I wasn't expecting the film to be as good as it was, and i groaned when i heard Hopinks was playing the 'older' Zorro.
even back then i thought he was over-exposed.
And i had no real enthusiasm for Martin Campbell either.
i'm in the minority that doesn't really think Goldeneye was a great Bond movie, so i had my doubts.
Very happy to be proven wrong on all accounts.
It's because of this performance that i now have enormous respect for Hopkins.
Not only does he plays the part with a helluva lot of panache, but i could actually believe him in the role.

And Banderas...i don't recall him ever being better.
he aces all facets of the role- from ignorant bumpkin on up.

That may be one reason i find the characters so watchable here-they arc wildly.
its fascinating to see characters go thru metamorphosis and growth like they do in this film.

Zeta-Jones...(sigh & drool), spunky, sexy, other-wordly beautiful and intelligent to boot,
the perfect leading lady.
rare to find movies where it just seems like everything clicks.

out of all the attempts at an old-school adventure film to come out since the original Raiders of the Lost Ark, this is clearly my favorite.
can't even think of any others i remotely like as much at the moment.
i'll go farther and say I'm even more fond of this than i am of the last two Indy films.
and if you compare it to other secret-identity super-hero movies, i'd place it right up there with the first Superman.
For me, this movie is leagues ahead of any of the Batman movies, (which should be an apt comparison since Zorro, and his wealthy Don identity, was one of the prime influences of that other character).
 

Michael Martin

Screenwriter
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Nov 26, 2000
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I forgot to mention another favorite scene:

When Capt Love and Alejandro are talking in Love's office. The emotions and tension that are running through that scene are incredible, and even more so because of the restraint of the writing and the acting. When we see Alejandro's jaw muscles tightening under his skin, we know EXACTLY what he's feeling.

As a side note, it's a great widescreen/P&S example to show someone.
Thankfully, I've never seen it in the P&S format! But that's good to know. The movie is shot gorgeously (despite a few continuity issues with where the sun is), and definitely NEEDS to be seen OAR.
 

Dan Rudolph

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I loved this movie too. Perfect casting, excellent production design, the movvei hit every mark. Well, the video game sucked, but everybody loves the movie.
 

Steve Lilley

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Jun 23, 2002
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MASK OF ZORRO is one of those movies that the Spanish department at the high school I'm going to has to show their classes atleast twice a year.

"What? We've got two days to kill before Christmas vacation? We'll pop in ZORRO!"

At first I didn't like it, but I think it actually gets better with repeat viewings. I now enjoy it.

This and DESPERADO are the only two movies I like Antonio Banderas in.

-Stephen
 

Carlo_M

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Oct 31, 1997
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Just wanted to chime in on the lovefest! I too appreciated this movie and will upgrade as soon as these darned new releases slow down enough for me to catch my (fiscal) breath! I do have the original DVD which is quite sufficient for now...
 

Michael Martin

Screenwriter
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Nov 26, 2000
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You mean like a certain web site that I happen to come across every now and then?
:D It wouldn't be the HTF I know and love if the thread didn't somehow get turned toward OAR! :D

John, those are GREAT examples of how P&S hack a film - at least 3 of them show how a major character in the scene is utterly cut out of the shot.

Back to the subject at hand....I wish I had a DVD-ROM drive, but I don't...because I think my favorite shot of the whole movie is when Elena takes a fencing position, and her hair is all tousled, and....:b

OK, going to splash some cold water on my face.
 

Aaron Thorne

Stunt Coordinator
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Sep 29, 2003
Messages
199
I know this thread is pretty dated but I stumbled across it during some downtime at work and would like to chime in...

I was flipping through the channels the other day and caught the last half of this movie on TNT. Eager to see it in it's entirity and OAR I picked up the superbit release from BB.

To me, this is one of the best, if not the best fantasy hero movie ever made. You couldn't have asked for a better cast, and the acting was superb. The sword fight sequences were top notch, along with the score.

The sequel, Legend of Zorro is currently being filmed and I can't wait for it's release.
 

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