When deciding to go and watch a movie at the cinema,I have always found,that whilst I remember a lot about the film itself,I most of the time rarely remember much about the surroundings that I watched the movie in.In the middle of 1998,I somehow noticed a mistake,which actually played to my advantage,when I opened the case of a recently brought second hand video,and discovered that instead of the film itself being inside,the contents of the case was a "blank" Video.Seeing that I would have to wait for at least a week until the market was on again,I decided to play the "blank" Video,and quickly discovered that it contained a program shown on an obscure Sky TV channel in the early 90's called "Zorro".As the second of the two episodes from the Duncan Regehr Zorro (which after being left in the wilderness for almost 20 years,has at last been brought out in a huge DVD boxset) began,I started to become very interested in finding any other TV shows/movies related to Zorro.After having almost completely worn out the Zorro tape,I ended up getting the best news that I could have possible heard in 1998,when I found out that a brand new Zorro movie was being shown at a local,community cinema.
(A cinema,that 9 years later I would have the pleasure of being a projectionist at as a "summer job") With still having memories of being completely awe-struck when watching the film at the cinema,I began to wonder if the movie would still leave me with a sense of wonder,after having last watched the film on an imported (thank you Ebay seller!) video 7 years ago
1821:With being told that his rule over California is about to be lost due to Mexico winning the War of Indipendance over control of the city,soon to be thrown out governor Don Rafael Montero decides that his "last act" will be to hold a public execution,in the hope of smoking out,a troublesome "folkhero" called Zorro.Quietly telling two young boys, (one of whom he gives a medallion to) to run away from the execution scene, Zorro makes his entrance and stops the innocent men from being executed.
Knowing that Montero is about to leave California,Zorro decides to give Montero a "Z" shape cut on the side of the neck,as a reminder for him should he try to take control of the city again.Getting away from the now chaotic scene,Don Diego de la Vega takes off the Zorro mask,so that he can spend the rest of the night relaxing with his wife and young daughter Elena.Sadly for de la Vega,Montero has secretly ordered Captain Harrison Love to follow "Zorro" and find out his location.Arriving with a group of loyal guards,Montero goes with Love to say a special "hello" to Zorro.Sicken at learning that Zorro is in fact the man who got married to a woman he deeply desired,Montero starts to brutally beat up Vega,until they both end up freezing,when one of Montero's guards accidentally kills Vega's wife.Furious that he will now never get what he most desired,Montero decides to kidnap Elena,and lock Vega up for the rest of his life.
1841:Having successfully increased their "wanted dead or alive" price tag to $200,"Three-Fingerd" Jack and brothers Alejando and Joaquin Murrieta's is left in ruins when a recently returned Love catches them committing a petty heist,which leads to him getting set to take all 3 of them down.Being told to hide by his brother (who passes him an old medallion) ,Alejando ends up having to witness his brother deciding to commit suicide mere moments before Love gets his hands on him.Desperate to drown out his sorrow, Alejando uses every single penny he has to buy cheap booze,until the only thing which he owns of remaining value is his brothers medallion.
Just before he gives up the medallion for a shot of whisky, Alejando is slammed down on the table by a stranger,who tells him that he remembers giving the Medellin to two young boys many years ago.Attempting to sober him up,the "stranger" tells Alejando that he suspects Montero is about to attempt to regain control of California,and that the only chance that the people of California have of not being ruled by Montero is if the mythical Zorro rides again.
View on the film:
Watching the making of doc ,I was stunned to discover how much trouble there had been of in getting the film made,with the movie originally having been planned for the early 90's,and director's Robert Rodriguez,Mikael Salomon and even Stanly Kubrick!, (who tried his best to get Julio Medem agree to directing the film) all falling to get the project into production.With the hands that had gone through to getting the movie made,I have to say,that seeing the film again after so many years,I was astonished at the unbelievable pace that the screenplay (written by Randall Johnson,John Eskow,Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio) flies by.
Keeping away from dragging this wonderful movie into a needless,overly complex mythology,the writers cleverly use the opening to show Zorro in a glorious mythical light that shines for the whole running time.After having shown Zorro in a heroic light,the writers brilliantly rip up everything that de la Vega holds dear,until he is left with the only option of transforming a worn down,wannabe thief into being a hero for the people.
Backed by Martin Campbell's tremendously warm directing that looks to have come straight from the pages of a long forgotten Romantic Adventure novel,the ensemble cast give the perfect mix of comedic touches and gravitas,with Antonio Banderas (who also did almost all of the breath taking stunts himself) brilliantly making Murrieta's gradually transformation from theft to hero in waiting feel like a natural progression for the character.Pushing Murrieta to breaking point,Anthony Hopkins smartly makes sure that the burden from the tragedies is felt,whist also showing a shine in the eyes for being the hero of the people that he once was.
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