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PHOTOGRAPHY

THE LEGEND OF ZORRO

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 130 minutes, audio commentary, 4 deleted scenes with optional commentary, 4 featurettes, two multi-angle scene deconstructions

STUDIO: SPHE (Columbia)/Spyglass Entertainment/Amblin Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: 1-31-2006

THE LEGEND OF ZORRO is a fun action adventure with plenty of humor and action to propel it. I like the sequel better than THE MASK OF ZORRO. I loved the movie more being about the action and the plot over characters because it can push the movie along. The humor does help propel the film while new characters throw in a bit It doesn't have character development like THE MASK OF ZORRO. The only complaint about the sequel is the CGI during the train sequence looked a little bad.

THE LEGEND OF ZORRO picks up about a decade later when California is about to become a part of the United States. Alejandro de la Vega is having problems with Elena when he won't give up being Zorro, but he doesn't pick up on why she is divorcing him. Could it be something to do with the two men that were following her and why is she interested in an old flame, Count Armand? Alejandro finds out that Armand is up to no good and it is connected with an explosives test in the dead of night that Alejandro witnessed. He becomes Zorro again after three months of no calls from the people to find out what Armand has planned. It ties in with the creepy guys trying to stop California from entering the Union (at the start of the film). Zorro also has to contend with his young son (who is very much like his Dad).

The sequel shows chemistry still between Banderas and Zeta-Jones. Banderas plays a good drunk while Zorro's horse also threatens to steal some scenes. THE LEGEND OF ZORRO was a long time in the making, but it's lackluster performance at the box office may be due to two factors: the time of the year it was released and the movies that were being released at the time. I think this Zorro sequel might have made more if they released it during the summer instead of at the end of October.

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

Colors and blacks are good. Image detail is sharp.

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround, French 2.0 Dolby Surround

Subtitles: English, French

Dialogue is very clear. Sound effects and music are strong on the 5.1 track.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Despite not including the original theatrical trailer (which is included on the Deluxe Edition for THE MASK OF ZORRO), the extras are halfway decent. The deleted scenes are entertaining (though I can see why they were all cut) including an alternate opening and closing (that had the studio fearing they couldn't use Antonio and Catherine for a future sequel if they left it in). The alternate opening and closing are only available with the director's commentary. The audio commentary for the film features director Martin Campbell and director of photography Philip Meheux. It provides plenty of info on the production of the movie (from mentioning the deleted scenes, locations, what sets they built and where, and Catherine (and her stunt double) being afraid of the dogs in a certain scene).

Four featurettes are also included:

STUNTS is on the stunt work. Antonio Banderas likes to do all of his stunts, but director Martin Campbell had to pull Banderas back sometimes. Rufus Sewell doesn't like doing his own stunts.

PLAYING WITH TRAINS looks at the Blue Screen work and other elements including the use of a miniature train (made by WETA Workshop) for the climax.

VISUAL EFFECTS shows the composite work that went into the visual effects shots in the barn fire sequence and the train climax.

ARMAND'S PARTY is a look at all the work that went into one scene including the problems rain caused when trying to shoot the party scene.

Rounding out the extra's are two multi-angle scene deconstructions (Armand's party and a sword fight sequence) showing the final scene, on set production footage while shooting it, and training footage.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Unless the DVD sells extremely well, this very entertaining sequel will be the last Zorro sequel for a long time. If you enjoyed the first one, watch THE LEGEND OF ZORRO.

this review is (c)3-7-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com