Editor's Note: Published on Page A25 of the October 27, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
UPON THE INVITATION OF MY LOVABLE colleague Ambet Nabus, I attended the celebrity premiere of “The Legend of Zorro” at the Gateway cineplex. It was a star-studded event. Some of the stars I spotted were lovebirds Alessandra de Rossi and Jeremy Marquez, Joey Marquez and his current squeeze Alicia Mayer, Paolo Bediones and his mestiza dentist girlfriend (heard that it’s love the second time around for both of them) and Alvin Patrimonio (my fave kumpare!). He told me that his wife Cindy and kids are in New York and they will soon fly to Spain for their kids’ tennis scholarship course.
“The Legend of Zorro” is set several years after the previous adventure, “The Mask of Zorro.” Alejandro (Antonio Banderas) and Elena ( Catherine Zeta-Jones) are married and have a 10-year-old son, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso). Although Alejandro continues to don the mask of Zorro to protect the oppressed residents of California from the greed of overlords, he dreams of a more normal life.
sequel is a family act. Zorro battles the dark forces side by side with his wife and son. The family “three” are thrust into a succession of fights, rescues, skullduggery and chases. The movie runs over two hours, but Banderas’ smoldering appeal, Zeta-Jones’ drop-dead beauty and the fast-paced action scenes will make you forget that the film is running long. The couple’s “Can’t live with you/Can’t live without you” kind of romance ignites the screen. They fight with each other and for each other. Alonso is such a delightful child actor. In some scenes, he unwittingly upstages the veteran actors. He is not acting; he is just being himself.
In the movie, Alejandro/Zorro and Elena decide to separate and what unfolds is a fortuitous adventure.
“Love stories are always best when the status quo is upended,” says movie director Martin Campbell, “when lovers have to overcome numerous obstacles in order to be united, or in this case, reunited. And that’s precisely what happens here.”
Zeta-Jones attests, “None of us wanted to embark on a new adventure if we didn’t think it would have the same magic as the first film. When we saw that the script had captured that, well, we knew it was a slam-dunk!”
Zorro’s black horse Tornado provides comic relief. Can you imagine a horse who smokes and downs booze? The horse is so cartoon-like, I waited for him to talk a la Scooby Doo.
Zorro’s charm lies in his being human. Unlike most screen heroes, he has no special powers or gadgets. All he’s got are his sword, a whip and his wits. He is most definitely flesh and blood, man and not a digital character. (Banderas says he did most of the stunts himself because he wants to be honest with his fans).
The movie gently reminds us that we cannot change people. We can only unmask them. Long after Halloween is over, the “Zorro” in us must go through life’s and love’s endless masquerade.
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