IMDb > Zapata - El sueño del héroe (2004) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb
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17 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Mexico's film industry at the lowest

Author: Joel (toocoolo) from Mexico City, Mexico.
13 May 2004

I think everything's already said on all other comments, but its all true: This movie sucks; the script sucks; the actors suck; has awful historical flaws; is totally unrealistic; its nonsense; its absolutely wrong made; its lame; its an offense to a national hero, to Mexican culture, and to Mexican film industry!

In my opinion it has 2 major flaws:

1) It tried so hard to be an 'American style' epic movie... with 10% of an American movie budget. I would say its Mexican wannabe-Hollywood at its lowest.

2) I bet much of the budget spent on this production is obviously on hiring "Known" actors to be on the movie. Even if just for a couple of seconds. That's how we can see cameos of people like Angélica Aragón and Carmen Salinas, and the main characters are stared by well known icons of Mexican pop culture, who sing pretty well, but can't act. Even Jaime Camil (Emiliano Zapata's brother) looks more like the actual Emiliano Zapata. Just because Alejandro Fernandez its a famous singer doesn't mean its gonna be a blockbuster! And he SUCKS acting!!!

So, by spending money in hiring celebrities, renting thousands of horses, and some explosive material, they left out things like a good story, or the backgrounds; Anybody noticed how all the interior shots where in ruins of old haciendas? People where living inside great ruins, with expensive furniture... but no ceilings or windows and walls that are about to fall. Who is this guy trying to imitate, Fellini?

I don't know how or why do this movie happened. How does it actually was made? Who allowed it? I'm afraid that it could go around the world and People from every country would think that this is Mexico, and this is how Mexican movies are, and Mexican actors, and Mexican scripts and stories... I'm afraid of this happening. Quoting the main character of the movie: 'The guy who made this film, Arau, "Is not a real Mexican"'. A real Mexican would not let an important issue like this, become such a shame! Its a big bad joke; A ridicule waste of time.

I lost 2 hours of my life forever, by watching this "film". Save your eyes!

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

beautiful cinematography, sets, people; bad chopping and CGFX

Author: la_peluqueria_de_hoy from méxico
15 May 2004

After so many negative comments, I didn't expect much from Arau´s Zapata besides beautiful cinematography. I went to see it with the curiosity to see why it generates so much criticism.

I was surprised that I liked and enjoyed parts of the movie. I disagree with the people that say it was a waste of time, I didn't think that it was the worst movie I have seen (like some others in imdb comments have said) - there are so many movies worse than this one in México. Jaime Camil was interesting as Eufemio, maybe a little more than Alejandro Fernandez as Emiliano, but I don't think that was all his fault. Jesus Ochoa was good as Huerta, but I think the villain is usually interesting and stands out in movies any ways. I think the script could have been more interesting but it seemed that the film was badly chopped and jumped from one scene to the next in the first half in particular, like we didn't really see what it was supposed to be. Some of the special effects were fine, the explosions and rain of petals was interesting but the CG in some cases were disappointing, for the chamana and the final of the film were from twenty years ago or more.

Maybe it was good that I saw it with low expectations - overall I liked it more than I thought I would but I would have liked to see more depth and explanation. As a mexican I understand what it was planned to be about, I wanted it to be good, to explain about our hero and I liked the mystical idea but some things were missing that I thought could have made it better. Now that I have seen the movie, I wish they would go back and fix it, make a better edition, add some flavor. It was like going to a dinner where the food looks so good but doesn't satisfy you. I hope someone makes a better one.

I know some persons will say nothing can help the film and don't like it anyway. Other people in the theater with me said they like most of the film, but didn't like the poor visual quality of the ending scene.

I don't blame the actors or crew, but the director or editors under his direction I imagine or whoever damaged a good idea. I think a good director should see the obvious faults in the film and fix them before it is released.

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A movie not completed, and released for investors?

Author: mocojez from Canada
30 March 2007

I have a little understanding of what happened to this movie, having been hired as the VFX supervisor, but not completing any of the visual effects. This was originally a Canadian / Mexican co-production, with a smaller percentage of investment supposed to come from Canada, and certain crew (editor, sound dept., visual effects) being supplied by Canadian companies. When I arrived on set there were already problems both with budget overrun and also, I understand, with funds being transferred from Canada. I completed supervising the 'raw plates' on location, but not a single frame ended up going to the original post production house that hired me. There was some beautiful footage shot by Vittorio Storraro, but already before I left some disagreement between Alfonso Arau and the Canadian editor, over the cutting style. The editor left soon after me. I later heard a rumour that the negative was held up at the lab in L.A. over unpaid invoices. I have never seen the 'finished' movie but I can speculate that there was a desperate scramble to put this film together in some way at least for a DVD release. The investors must have been screaming for a way to return some of their capital.

So please don't be quite so hard on this movie. It is basically unfinished. I cannot comment on acting, direction and other aspects that I have not seen, but some of the scenes which I saw uncut in Mexico had more promise than was realized. Jeery Andrews VFX Supervisor (shoot only!)

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14 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Zapata's Nightmare... an offense to the natives of America

Author: Luis A. Portillo ( from United States
12 January 2005

This Film betrays the very cause that is supposed to honor.

When I saw Alfonso Arau's "Zapata" I expected a film that may not only expose the American natives as a great, noble and highly organized and intellectual cultures, specially the Aztec Empire, but also to bring the well deserved pride to this humiliated, discriminated people in Latin America.

Instead what I saw is a disrespectful MOCK of the accounts of the history, in short:

-Zapata (Fernandez) denies every time he is a leader, a liberator, he is actually annoyed when he is asked for guide from his devoted followers, seems that he got stuck in that position for pure luck.

-Zapata (Fernandez) doesn't in any point of the movie prove that indeed he is a leader or that he deserves that title.

-Zapata's brother dies in this film in the vilest situation, a betrayal, having sex with the wife of a fellow Indian. Any honorable Aztec man knew that this sole act in the Aztec law will get death as punishment.

-Zapata in this movie claims that his struggle is to defend their traditions, self-respect, history, beliefs and way of life but several times in the film he leaves his Indian wife to go after the beautiful blonde European mistress, betraying the very own cause he is fighting for, is this the leader his people deserve?

-A witch, (sometimes naked) keeps appearing in his dreams, I believe she is some kind of guide in Zapata's life, how come she never told him that he was going to be lied by the enemy and killed in the lamest way?

I can easily keep writing about how bad this film is, but I will need about four hours for that, basically the time it took to write the screenplay of "Zapata, El Sueno del Heroe", (Sad, very Sad)


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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Terrible, what a shame.

Author: Jose Sanchez from Mazatlan, Mexico
12 May 2004

As other users commented, I knew it was bad before watching it but I entered hoping to find something all right and with the idea of supporting Mexica Cinema, but oh surprise, I was dissapointed because of the terrible story, the director, the characters, Too bad ´cause Arau has done some OK work, but this was terribly out of the line.

What the hell with the images of the magic indians?, the old lady who is her guide?, I know the director wanted to use "magic realism", used by novelists like Garcia Marquez, but it is not appropiate for this movie. Besides that, half of the movie is based on invention and away from real history, too bad because the real story of Zapata has great things to write about and to make a great film.

The character Victoriano Huerta (Jesus Ochoa), is kind of the only worth watching, he´s always been a great actor.

The script is terrible, the acting is bad, the images ..well, really you better read a biography of this great revolutionary and get some good history instead of paying $40 pesos to get nothing.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A surreal dream well worth watching

Author: LaDiora from Olympia, WA
1 February 2006

The key to enjoying this one is the word DREAM. I admire Arau for coming up with this great idea and going against everything and everybody to take it to the screen. I am happy this was not a Zapata biography. We've got several of those and they do a good job at telling the story and portraying that very important chapter of Mexican history. A biography was never Arau's intent. He took a historical character, added the myth that developed from the man and then mixed in his VERY PERSONAL idea. It didn't have to be Zapata. It could have been Moctezuma or Pancho Villa for that matter. What's important and groundbreaking about this movie IS NOT the fact that he picked Emiliano Zapata, but rather what Arau does with the personae of Zapata as he fictionalizes it to a point so surreal, so surreal indeed that Bunuel would have been proud. So people, get over the fact that it's not a biography and enjoy it for what it is: an entertaining adventure into Arau's creative mind. Oh, and for the record, both Alejandro Fernandez and Lucero do a good job. Lucero is an acquired taste, I'll admit that much, and I would have enjoyed her more if she had made an effort to BE in character as opposed to merely PLAY the character. Still, I liked her. I heard comments that she hadn't mastered the Iberian accent and, well, those comments are wrong. Lucero speaks as Iberian as they come. It would have been better if the script -her actual lines- had been better tailored to the time in which this story is supposed to take place. Her lines were too 21st century, and that part did suck. Arau, next time less "tu" and more "vosotros" will do the trick. And Alejandro shines. Who knew the hunk could act? But he does. I was VERY VERY VERY (get my point?) surprised. I was totally prepared to see a cardboardy performance and boy, was I ever mistaken! Alejandro is quite a treat. Camil is adequate as Eusebio and Ochoa as Huerta is just what you would expect evil Huerta to be. And the beautiful Patricia Velazquez manages to give her badly-written character some depth. I want to see her playing Frida some day. So anyway, all in all this movie will not be memorable, but it's an enjoyable hour and a half. In no way is this a waste of time and it most certainly is not the worst movie ever made. Those who gave this movie a bad review simply didn't get it. They wanted a history lesson, and they got an intelligent attempt at surreal cinema, no wonder they were unhappy! So go ahead and watch it if you can find it. Watch it with an open mind a welcoming heart and an art-hungry eye. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A painful shame

Author: reugamla from Monterrey, México
4 May 2004

Being totally sincere I spected this movie to be not good, but never thought it was possible to be as terribly bad as it is.

Based (Is it?) on the life of Mexican hero Emiliano Zapata, the screenplay is a mess. This historic character was maybe the Revolution hero with more social impact, maybe also the only one with true ideals, and actions. But you can see nothing about this in this movie, Instead of that the movie uses all the time to say just that he was the "chosen one" never even trying to figure why. Too much has been said about the inclusion of the Mexican singer Alejandro Fernandez in the main role, and blaming him of all the weakness in the character. I think that this conception is really wrong, cause being not an actor Mr. Fernandez took the responsibility of his character, and studied acting, and Nahuatl (Being the only one who seems fluent in his speaking) and made a big effort that made a good shape for the hero, but even the best actor in the world would be incompetent to fill a character that in this story and screenplay, haves nothing in its soul.

The photography by renowned photographer Vittorio Storaro is really beautiful, but ruined by the editing and shameful visual effects. The Set design and costumes are great. The musical score is a full mess, and the main love theme is a perfect copy of: Don't cry for me Argentina.

Meaning all this I have said that the movie haves a lot of good effort by cast and crew, but being the leadership by Arau an empty mess, with not a hint of creativity, all this effort is a complete waste and a shame of movie.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

great movie, a dream itself

Author: AzTeCa67 from Netherlands
12 July 2005

This is a typical Arau movie, full of surrealism mixed with history and humor. Is not a movie to take it as the real story of Zapata but to enjoy the messages Arau try to send and to fully enjoy the places it was filmed. A lot of people do not understand that Arau didn't want to make an historical movie but to see another aspects of Zapata as a national hero, that's why the full name of the movie could be translated as Zapata a dream of a hero and I will like to underline "dream", that is the key word. The witches in the movie is a great touch of what Mexico really is, a place of surrealism. Please sit down and enjoy this movie and don't try to look for a history lesson!

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

What was Arau thinking???

Author: davcure from Mexico
6 May 2004

As a mexican, it pains me terribly to see dead and gone the prestige acquired by Arau with "Como agua para chocolate", but it pains me even more to see this awful and disrespectful portrayal of a national hero in the hands of Arau. Terrible actors, worse screenplay, unforgivable historical lies and a total waste of ten million dollars.

Lame high-school-level effects, and so many ridiculous supposedly mystic references (all mixed up and wrong) that make this movie an involuntary comedy, promising to turn a macarena-dancing nahuatl old witch character into a sad, sad stain in a previously good Arau's resumé.

I would have preferred Arau to publicize his movie as a satyre... That might have (and I repeat, MIGHT HAVE) saved his reputation, but it is unadmissible to let him play with the image of a national hero, and make a long, very bad videoclip for Alejandro Fernández out of this "movie", and make us mexicans be sorry for it to be seen overseas.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

An insult to Emiliano Zapata's memory. Among the worst of Mexican new cinema.

Author: insomniac_rod from Noctropolis
23 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Screw you Alfonso Arau. Really, screw you. This is one of the most horrible, pretentious, boring, mediocre, movie from the new Mexican cinema.

How the hell could they destroy Zapata's image in a poor taste movie?! What do a fairy has to do? What is Lucerito doing? The fact that Alejandro Fernandez plays the leading role is an insult to Emiliano Zapata.

This is a big budget mess that once again demonstrates that money does not means quality. This is pure trash and a story that will leave people insulted. People who have studied Zapata will really feel angry. Zapata a shaman? Really? Get your facts straight. The fact that fantasy and sci-fi were added to the movie is plain pathetic.

The sci-fi elements are uncalled for for a supposedly biographical movie. Ugh. I truly hate this movie and I recommend to everyone to avoid it all costs.

Seems that Arau, Fernandez, and Camil spent the budget on prostitutes and cheap booze because the f/x, art direction, and production values overall are nowhere to be seen.

Mr. Arau, if you made this movie just to impress audiences from USA, and Europe well you failed miserably and now the joke's on you. Many people make jokes at your cost for making this crap.

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