Friday, November 04, 2005

THE LEGEND OF ZORRO, rated PG for gentle poking with forks swordfighting and even gentler conjugal smoldering between hot stars Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones-Douglas.

This time of year, right when you can find half-price candy corn alongside giant singing Santa Clauses, the Oscar buzz begins as the year’s best films line up for release in November and December. Crash, Jarhead, Munich, Brokeback Mountain and The Legend of Zorro are all slated as early favorites in the coveted Best Picture category. With its nonstop action, riveting character portrayals and lush period dressings, The Legend of Zorro is a strong contender.

If this film wins, it will be only the third sequel ever to win Best Picture (after The Godfather, Part II in 1974 and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003). Oh—didn’t you realize this was a sequel? It’s a common misconception that The Legend of Zorro is “that Zorro movie that came out a couple years ago.” In fact, that’s The Mask of Zorro, the 1998 film that launched the Banderas/Zeta-Jones-Douglas franchise (whose comparison to Hollywood duos like Bogart/Bacall and Tracy/Hepburn is now almost a cliché).

The long awaited sequel to that beloved film is finally here. Seven years have passed in our universe, but in Zorro’s, it’s been long enough for him and Elena to have married and spawned a 10-year-old son, Zorritorito, a precocious whipper-snapper with dark flashing eyes, day-glo teeth and an infinitely tousleable head of slightly messy hair. Zorritorito is played by the talented young Adrian Alonso, who is rumored to be on the short list for Best Supporting Actor. Zorritorito’s trademark phrase “Kill the white bandits! Viva la Aztlan!” has already become a rallying cry for MEChA, and is sure to trickle down to the grade school set across the nation who have been pining for a playground punchline ever since “Eat my shorts” went out of style in the late 80s.

Antonio Banderas smolders his way through the film as an older-but-wiser Zorro who interjects bits of fatherly wisdom between swordfights and lingering kisses with his wife, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones-Douglas. CZJD, as she’s known to her close friends, does some smoldering of her own and shows off theWelsh swordfighting skills that have made her famous. In recent years, CZJD’s fame has intensified thanks to her job as the T-Mobile spokeswoman, which has turned her into something of a pop icon. What started as an advertising campaign grew into a cultural phenomenon, spurring everything from underground zines to streetwear emblazoned with CZJD’s likeness and unforgettable slogan, “Get more.”

The plot of The Mask of Zorro goes pretty much like you’d expect. Elena worries over Zorro. Zorro squeezes into his black leather pants (I’m getting the DVD just for that scene—hello slow motion!). Zorro fights for truth, justice and the Mexican way. Zorro, Elena and Zorritorito team up against the abjectly evil bad guys who are easy to hate and even easier to kill beat up and turn over to the authorities (this being a PG film). In the end, we get a healthy dose of the soccer mom values we’ve come to expect from today’s Oscar-winning films, only this time they’re delivered with a spicy Latin flair!

On a scale of Oscar winners from Casablanca to Titanic, I rate this film somewhere between Dances with Wolves and Driving Miss Daisy.

4 Comments:

Blogger Jim McCarthy said...

Didn't Zorritoritos used to be on the value menu at Taco Bell?

1:49 PM  
Blogger Jim McCarthy said...

Oh, and GET MORE! (I just can't stop saying it!)

9:19 PM  
Blogger Jim McCarthy said...

Ok, I saw the movie yesterday.

Interestingly, the whole thing starts off with Zorro and CZJDSZCS getting divorced. Who saw that coming?

Pretty much everything else is exactly the same as this review...

9:22 AM  
Blogger Tori said...

I liked your review-- I thought it was funny and clever. But, well, I just wanted to clear up this misconception...

"evil bad guys who are easy to hate and easier to kill beat up and turn over to the authorities (this being a PG film)."

Actually, the "evil bad guys" are either blown up with dynamite, stabbed & bleed to death, or, like the main evil bad guy, are actually subjected to worse. Zorro ties the guy's collar to the very front of a speeding train, preventing him from escaping as he slowly chokes. Then Mr. Zorro leaps off to watch the very much alive villan and the train crash into a blockade and explode.

No one is turned into the authorities. In fact, the authorities (good guys) die too. And you see their gross corpses. So much for a PG rating...

:-)

P.S. The kid in this one isn't ANYWHERE NEAR annoying as the son the The Mummy Returns! This kid is a contribution, the other one was just a spoiled whiner.

3:44 PM  

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