After fighting to help California become the 31st state of the Union, Zorro must live up to the
promise he made his wife Elena — to give up his secret identity and live a normal life as
Alejandro de la Vega. When he hesitates, it threatens to tear them apart. Now, the same forces
that conspired to keep California from becoming part of the United States are plotting to
unleash a threat that has been 500 years in the making, a threat that could change the course
of history forever. And only Zorro can stop it.
For more about The Legend of Zorro and the The Legend of Zorro Blu-ray release, see the The Legend of Zorro Blu-ray Review published by Sir Terrence on February 3, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
The Legend of Zorro is a 2005 sequel to the 1998 release of The Mask of Zorro. While The Mask of Zorro was a critical success doing very well at the box office, The Legend of Zorro did not fare so well. Many attribute the seven years between this release and the earlier movie as the culprit of its failure to get viewers into seats at the movie theaters. When one looks at this movie as a sole entity, it is very difficult to overlook the charm and subtle humor that permeates this entire production. Even compared with the earlier Mask of Zorro, this movie holds up very well to it on many levels, but fails on others.
It is 1850 and the people of California are voting to decide whether or not to join the United States. Zorro(Antonio Bandaras), having spent the last ten years fighting injustice and oppression, has to deal with forces that seek to derail California's bid to become the 31st state in the Union. However, Zorro has some personal issues to deal with as well. Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) his wife believes that the time has come for Zorro to give up his mask. He also has his hands full with his son Joaquin (Adrian Alonzo) who is increasing becoming more like his father everyday. Out of frustration with her husband (Zorro), Elena throws him out of the house, and files for divorce. During a battle with foe Jacob McGivens (Nick Chinlund), Zorro is unmasked and spotted by the Pinkertons. The Pinkertons are spies working for mastermind Armand (Rufus Sewell) who plans to destroy the union and deal a fatal blow to California's statehood. Zorro has to battle to save his marriage, California, and the union from destruction.
The 2:35:1, AVC encoded, 1080p video is just stunning eye candy. The use of color (particularly earth tone colors) is extremely effective, and combined with inky blacks makes for a pleasing, dynamic presentation. The overall image is free of specks and dust, which denotes a clean source used for encoding. The picture looks very film like without looking filtered, no chroma noise or over saturation to distract from the presentation. Flesh tones looked warm and golden, and were spot on and consistent from scene to scene. The picture quality was so 3D like, that often I felt as if I was looking at it through a window I could stick my hand through.
If I have any reservations at all about the video, it would be the occasional edge halos that rear its ugly head in some scenes. However this is so small an issue when compared to the overall lovely image this video presents. This is what Blu-ray is all about.
As good as the picture quality is, the audio quality is an equal match. The Dolby TrueHD (16bit 48khz) sounds stunning, never getting in the way of the story, but always contributing in a positive way scene to scene. The music, which features a rasgueado style of guitar playing, has very clean leading edge transients that give a strong percussive feel and presence to the sound. There is a lot of air around each guitar passage, which makes it sound very open and pleasing to the ears. James Horner's awesome score is also exceptionally well recorded with rich sounding mid/low brass and double basses. The upper brass bites into the air without sounding brash or strident. The strings and woodwinds sound silky smooth without even a hint of harshness. What is really striking is the imaging of the orchestra, which extends deep towards the front wall of my viewing room, and from sidewall to sidewall folding into the surrounds in very defined layers. There is plenty of sword, and gun fighting as well as explosions. The metal-to-metal sounds are palpable, gunshots and horse hoofs amazing real, explosions have power without sounding digitally artificial. There are times when the mix sounds so real and in the room, that it is almost startling. The surrounds are used aggressively without being overpowering. Gunshots effectively whizzed by your head with such realism that you often want to duck to protect yourself. The LFE is powerful, but not overpowering, tight, punchy, and on occasion pant flapping and air shaking. Dialog is clear and never buried in the effects, and has good room tone on occasion. If I had any issues (and they are extremely minor), it is sometimes the dialog loses its room tone and blend, often making the actors sound like they are in a different space than visually perceived. This is a minor nitpick, as this is a reference soundtrack if I ever heard one.
Sony has ported over the same extras found on the previously released DVD. All supplements are in standard definition video with the exception of the theatrical trailers. Included on disc is audio commentary with Director Martin Campbell, and cinematographer Phil Meheux. Featurette "Playing with Trains" (SD 13 minutes) which I found to be pretty interesting. Featurette "Visual Effects" (6 minutes), Featurette "Stunts" (SD 12 minutes), Featurette "Armand's Parth" (12 minutes), Deleted scenes (SD 10 minutes), Multi-Angle Scene Deconstruction (SD) Use your remote control's angle button to toggle between three views that are offered of two action scenes: rehearsal footage, behind-the-scenes material, and the final finished version. And last but not least a 1080p theatrical trailer of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. There were no trailers for The Legend of Zorro included on this disc.
Sony has really scored a hit here in my opinion. They have combined beautiful imagery, witty dialog, excellent well-recorded music and sound effects into a one hundred and thirty minute joy ride. By coming a little too far behind its predecessor, it may have doomed this franchise by its box office failure. I however think there is plenty of storylines to develop for any future release if Sony so chose to do so. While some did not appreciate the family slant to the storyline, I found that it actually gave it more depth and character. This is a real thrill ride, and sure to please those who crave action and adventure with a very charming twist. Way to go Sony!
Blu-ray bundles with The Legend of Zorro (2 bundles)
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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced specifications and
supplemental features for their upcoming Blu-ray release of 'Legend of Zorro',
due to hit store shelves on December 11th. Video will be presented in 1080p
AVC, and audio will come in both English ...