FEATURE | The Mask of Zorro
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Grading from A-F
The best of the recent
crop of disaster movies. There is virtually no character development and a
predictable plot, but the special effects and surprising humor (led by Steve
Buschemi) make up for the short-comings. Affleck is disappointing in a
made-for-Tom Cruise role. B
THE X-FILES (PG-13):
Dedicated fans beware: the movie doesn't pick up where the season ended and the
pile of questions remains unanswered. Nit-picking aside, this is one fantastic
episode of the X-Files, in most part because Chris Carter realizes the enormous
advantage of the big-screen. A-
and biting look at the political and PR landscape of 1990's campaigning. Warren
Beatty (director, star) keeps the comedy and his message accelerating until a
slightly disappointing ending. A-
THE TRUMAN SHOW (PG):
atypical blockbuster that nets fantastic results. Relying on plot and ingenuity
rather than monsters or natural disaster, Jim Carrey's latest is a breath of
fresh air. (more) A-
--Kevin Ridolfi, Rob Gallo
Critics are fond of pointing out that movies just aren't what they used to be.
As a whole today's films lack "movie magic," the breath-taking spark that makes a picture great. That was before "The Mask of Zorro," which lights up the screen with the brilliant techniques of yester-year.
THE MASK OF ZORRO
Starring Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stuart Wilson, Matt Letscher. Directed by Martin Campbell. Rated PG-13, contains profanity, violence and nudity . Running time: 136.
TriStar's remake of the classic Disney television series has everything a movie should have: beautiful
people, gorgeous scenery, fast paced action, deft humor and a light
"Saturday Matinee" plot. The movie rolls along at an incredible clip,
entertaining the audience without dragging for two and a half hours. The
stunningly choreographed fencing scenes are alone worth the price of
admission. But there is more to "Zorro" than its fancy sword play.
The plot has three intertwined themes: the father/daughter theme
which is prevalent in this summer's movies (ie: Armageddon, Mulan, Deep
Impact); the uplifting of the oppressed Mexicans; and the main thread of
the movie, how Zorro is a necessary hero of the people during any age.
Even with material that could easily be dealt with a more heavy handed manner, Zorro
manages to keep a light touch. It is completely entertaining with
(blessedly) short romantic interludes and a minimum of gore. The story
lines flow effortlessly with crisp and interesting dialogue. Although the
plot is predictable to an avid movie-goer, it is still thoroughly
entertaining. Director Martin Campbell shows a knack for staying properly within the genre and keeps the actors on-course as well.
The principle characters are well defined and played with wit and charm
by Antonio Banderas (Desperado, Philadelphia Story), Anthony Hopkins
(Silence of the Lambs) and newcomer Catherine Zeta-Jones. The villains
are somewhat two dimensional, but none-the-less entertaining for their
black and white nature. One of the producers of the film is none other
than Steven Speilberg, which becomes apparent during the climax of the
movie (watch for a large explosion).
"The Mask of Zorro" is one of the best action movies to come out of
Hollywood this summer. It's a great old-fashioned romp through the
California Territory, proving that old-fashioned movie magic is alive and well. This film shows just how wonderful the movie-going experience should be.
KIMBERLY MONAT of Milford, MA is a contributing writer.