The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Tri-star/Sony Pictures - 1998
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 137 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English/French/Portuguese DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Stuart Wilson, Matt Letscher
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Music by: James Horner
Written by: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, John Eskow
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 1, 2009
"Zorro slashes his way onto Blu-ray"
When a power-crazed despot schemes to buy California from Mexico, it takes two Zorros--the legendary Don Diego de la Vega (Anthony Hopkins) and his chosen successor Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas), a dashing bandit-turned-hero-- to defeat the tyrant's unscrupulous plans. But can even their combined skills, bravado and derring-do be enough to achieve de la Vega's ultimate goal: revenge against the man who killed his wife, kidnapped his daughter and held him prisoner for twenty years?
I can't say that when I was growing up I was much of a Zorro fan but I knew who he was from catching glimpses of him on TV. My first real exposure to him was when I picked up The mask of Zorro on DVD as a blind buy. It has been in my collection ever since and is among my favorite films. Its blends of romance, humor, action and adventure results in a wonderfully entertaining and superbly crafted film that holds up quite well under repeat viewings. The script takes its time (never dragging) and skillfully draws you into the story with the establishment of strong likeable characters in Diego and Alejandro and tenable foes in Don Raphael and Captain Love. As the relationship among the four develops, so does the vehemence of the storyline. There is plenty of passion for cause yet just the right amount of integrated levity to keep things from feeling austere. There are some truly great moments, such as the one where Alejandro infiltrates the soldier's compound to steal the horse. Antonio Banderas owns that entire sequence which ellipses his transformation from bandit to hero. Hopkins is of course marvelous and lends sincerity and elegance to the role of Diego. Stuart Wilson is a gifted actor that most should recognize from the variety of films he has had parts in. This film gave him more of a central figure to portray and the movie would not have been the same without his contribution as Don Raphael. Catherine Zeta-Jones exudes elegance, beauty and athleticism as she has no trouble keeping pace with the demands of her portrayal of Elena. Additionally there are a host of colorful characters, including two of my favorites in Corporal Garcia (Jose Perez) and Three-Fingered Jack (LQ Jones) that support the main players and enrich the enjoyment of the story. There is plenty of engaging action highlighted be well choreographed sword play, exciting stunts and James Horner's rousing music score. The mask of Zorro is a successful resurrection of the Zorro archetype. Hats off to director Martin Campbell and a great cast in creating an entertaining and wholly satisfying film that has finally made its way on to high definition Blu-ray Disc.
The rating is for some intense action and violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The mask of Zorro comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.3 mbps.
The video quality here is very reminiscent of the superbit DVD release in its rendering of color and reproduction of the grandiose cinematic visual style employed in the film. Colors are vivid with lustrous primaries and rich secondary hues that look beautiful in high definition. The period clothing/costumes have excellent tonal variation with descriptively intricate details. Flesh tones are consistently conveyed and have a slightly pinkish tinge that while noticeable never ventures outside of appearing natural. Blacks are dynamic, gradationally satisfying and deep. Detail in the shadowy confines of the lair of the fox (Zorro's cave) is excellent. Long range shots offer two dimensional quality and clearly definable perception of the landscapes and vista views featured in the film. Close ups reveal crisp definition and well articulated fine detail. Grain is present in fine layers and appears well preserved. This video presentation represents a notable upgrade over the standard definition version and looks simply marvelous.
I always felt that this was an impressive soundtrack on DVD and looked forward to experiencing it via lossless audio's higher resolution. The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack takes this audio presentation to the next level. This is a fairly aggressive and aurally engaging sound design that drives the story through use of beautifully orchestrated music, potent dynamics and high level sonic detail. The mix generates an enriching surround experience which provides excellent spectral balance and 360 degree envelopment. LFE is strong and while it never achieves sub bass frequencies, it reaches into every corner of the room with authoritative depth. Dialogue is reproduced as well as I have heard it as it had superb clarity and excellent room penetration. I thought this mix sounded refined, exquisitely detailed, and had room filling dynamics that were impressive.
This title includes Sony's new Movie IQ features which requires a BD-Live connection and allows fans the option of viewing continuously updated details on the cast and crew and to explore relevant trivia such as production facts, music, and soundtrack information which are tied into scenes in the movie. This can be turned on or off and is activated by the press of a button on your player's remote.
- Director's commentary
- Unmasking Zorro - 45 minute documentary
- 2 deleted scenes
- I want to spend my life loving you music video
- Behind the scenes sneak peek - The legend of Zorro
- Exclusive scene from The legend of Zorro
- (HD) BD previews: Angels and demons, It might get loud, The DaVinci code extended cut, Casino royale
- BD-Live enabled
The mask of Zorro is an adventurous, romantic and fun throwback to a bygone era action star. It successfully seems to capture much of the essence that made Zorro popular. This film is a personal favorite and I am happy to report that its presentation on Blu-ray Disc from Sony finds it looking and sounding better than ever with high quality lossless sound and exquisitely rendered video. The bonus features include Sony's exclusive MovieIQ feature and a fairly interesting documentary on the Zorro character/film. If you're a fan this is a highly recommended upgrade over any previous home video release. If you have never seen The mask of Zorro I can't think of a better way to experience it for the first time. Enjoy!
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