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Review The Mask of Zorro (1998) en Review The Legend of Zorro (2005): Old school swashbuckling adventure versus Modern marriage problems!

In this article I will be reviewing both Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro. And of course I will compare the both. 

First off:

Review The Mask of Zorro (1998)

genre: action, adventure

This film came out in a time that there were hardly swashbuckler adventures and it was a welcome change after those harsher and harder action adventures. For me personally Zorro had been a favourite character of mine since I saw him appear in many versions on the television. I vaguely remember  the 1975 one with Alain Delon and how it featured stunts that were truly exciting. Then there was the TV Show with Duncan Regehr of which I think I seen all of the episodes. He was one of those heroes that you always could root for no matter what. 

The Mask of Zorro might be a modern retelling of a well known tale but it very much is an old school adventure that never gets tiring. I must have seen this film several times now and I still like it as much as I did the first time. Even when the pacing could be considered a little slow in certain parts it for the most part still packs a punch. But most importantly is the charm that oozes from the film. Antonia Banderas is charm personified and you could not dislike him even if he would play the most evil and cruelest monster. He effortlessly switches between being serious and being humorous. And as it turns out he seems to be very impressive action and stunt wise. Therefore he is perfect as the new Zorro. 

The rest of the cast is good also. And there is actually some genuine chemistry between Catharina Zeta-Jones and Antonio Banderas. You actually believe the sexual tension between them. While I was skeptic at first of having Anthony Hopkins play as the original Zorro. And they do deviate from the original story a bit to justify this but I do think that it adds some freshness to the new tale. 

But Zorro would not be nothing without some swashbuckling action and The Mask of Zorro makes sure that almost every action scene is beautifully choreographed and spectacular.  

The Mask of Zorro without a doubt is a classic. It's filled with spectacle and overall is immensely fun. If you have not seen this by now then you really should. You will love it.

Which brings me to the sequel:

Review The Legend of Zorro

genre: action, adventure

The first time I saw this I enjoyed this a lot. Especially since this was a lot lighter and more comedic than the original. But for those same exact reasons I could not enjoy it as much the second time around. The Legend of Zorro still is full of wonderful action and delightful stunts only it seems to have scaled down spectacle wise considerably. In this part the focus seems to be more on the friction between couple Alejandro and Elena played by Antonio Banderas and Catharina Zeta-Jones. And the little adventures of their son Joaquin played by Adrian Alonso who is actually quite a good actor. Elena seems to have problems with Zorro not keeping his promise to stop playing the hero. (One of the main reasons she fell for him in the first place.) I must admit that I found their fights very amusing. So why couldn't I enjoy it the second time as much as the first time? The marriage problems seemed more to be a reference to modern times and fell a little out of place in an action adventure. And that only remains fun if you see it once. Still it was something I could tolerate. I think the lack of a real urgency in the story was the biggest culprit. In the original you had that because of the simple revenge tale. You wanted the bad guys to get what was coming to them. In here the villains were almost like cartoon figures who you could hardly take serious. In The Mask of Zorro the comedy, the action and the serious bits were balanced right. Here it was a little too comedic and very messy. This part is not nearly as good as the original. But at the same time it is not as nearly as bad as people say that it is. However it is one that you only can watch one time as opposed to the original one. The cast again do a good job. 

With the same director and most of the important main characters you would expect a continuation of the magic that was The Mask of Zorro. But I guess that it is hard to recreate the exact same results a second time. For me Antonio still could play Zorro. An older Zorro perhaps. And actually it would give this movie an edge. I mean if you had to play the hero for so long when would you decide that you are done with it? Would you just one day quit or would you continue until the death? It is said that Batman is inspired by Zorro.  Seeing how Bruce Wayne refuses to hang his cape until he literally can't continue physically it would be interesting to see how Zorro would deal with getting older. And if you think about it. Isn't Puss in Boots very much like Zorro. And Antonio rocked that role. 

So yeah, I would like to see Zorro return and preferably with Antonio in it but knowing Hollywood that will not happen (in the way we want that is). But at least we still have these two films to watch and enjoy. (Even when you have to lower your expectations for The Legend of Zorro somewhat.)

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