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‘Zorro’ sequel packed with humor and fun sword tricks

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Monday, October 31, 2005
It’s always sad when the fight over the last slice of pizza devolves into a swordfight.
Photo Courtesy Columbia Films
It’s always sad when the fight over the last slice of pizza devolves into a swordfight.
Today we will be discussing the 50 states of the Union as they were in 1850. We will also be discussing the formation of the Confederate States, which occurred before 1850. What? Doesn’t that seem right to you?

“The Legend of Zorro” is a U.S. history nightmare. It takes place in 1850, which is 11 years before the formation of the Confederate States. Yet, it still seems like a lot of people in the movie are worried about political tension between the United States and the Confederate States. Interesting.

If you saw 1998’s “The Mask of Zorro,” you remember how Anthony Hopkins trained Antonio Banderas to be the next Zorro. Following that, you might expect Antonio Banderas to train someone else to be Zorro after him. You wouldn’t be too far off, either.

“The Legend of Zorro” is basically a movie about Zorro’s family life. Early in the movie, Zorro (Antonio Banderas) and his wife Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) split up. The rest of the movie is largely focused on Zorro—known as Alejandro when the mask is off—trying to get her back. The main reason for Elena leaving is that Alejandro spends too much time working as Zorro and not as a father.

Zorro doesn’t really need to train a successor, because his son, Joaquin, looks up to Zorro so much that he has tried to train himself. His weapon of choice is a slingshot.

The rest of the plot of “Legend” is slightly irrelevant. Bad guys have a desire to rule the world. Zorro fights bad guys. What makes both of the Zorro movies fun to watch is the spectacle and humor. Most of the dialogue exists to either be humorous or to lead up to action. The characters have strong personal motivations that lead to witty dialogue or to action.

No one should go see “Legend” in the hopes of a great movie. It is a tongue-in-cheek action comedy. In some ways, it could be viewed as a spoof of superhero comic book movies. It’s ridiculously over the top in almost every way. And that’s why it’s fun to watch.

The characters of Alejandro, Elena and Joaquin are strong enough to propel the movie forward. They are characters that everyone with a family could identify with. In short, they are the typical Hollywood characters.

A lot of the humor could go under the category of juvenile. Alejandro spends a 15 minute scene drunk and disorderly. Even Alejandro’s horse spends a scene drunk and disorderly. It’s hard to dislike a movie where a horse gets drunk, burps and smokes a pipe.

The other prevalent form of humor is the one-liner. It almost seems like there is character motivation to be as clever and funny as possible in one-liners. For example, Joaquin has to help his father break out of jail. Naturally, they have to fight the guards, and Joaquin, thinking his father is a simple politician, is surprised to see his father dispatch his enemies with style and ease. When questioned, Alejandro replies, “Prison changes a man.”

With so much humor and action, it’s easy to overlook the clichéd, predictable plot and characters. It’s easy to overlook the 50 stars on the American flag. It’s even easy to overlook the map that strangely has all of the continental United States present, divided as they are now. If you go to see this movie in the right frame of mind (namely, mindless fun), it will be enjoyable.

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