As I sat down to write this review, I realized just how many of my favourite films are introductory roles for new actors. I guess there is just something about that first movie that captures the charm and personality of an actor, leaving a lasting impression of them. Well folks, here's another example. The Mask of Zorro was one of Catherine Zeta-Jones' first major roles. Backed by Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins, this is a solid movie that is great fun for all ages. It was the slumber party movie of choice when I was a young girl, and recently I purchased it for myself, so I could enjoy it over again.
The Mask of Zorro is set in the territory of California before it became a part of the United States. The political situation is tense as the spanish and mexican people are in constant upheaval and are concerned about the war between Santa Ana and the United States that will likely have a direct impact on their future. Through it all, fighting for the common people and prevailing against corrupt government, is the legendary hero, Zorro. However, not even heros are immune to tragedy. Zorro's identity is discoved, he is imprisoned, his wife murdered, and his infant daughter kidnapped to be raised by his mortal enemy. Twently long years pass before California sees its hero again. Only this time, he has a new face. An aged Zorro befriends a drunk ruffian with revenge on his mind, and preens him into a master of swordplay to carry on his legacy at a crucial time; creating a hero worthy enough to wear the mask of Zorro.
There is really nothing in the way of special features, as this movie was released before DVD's. (Strange to think, isn't it?) However the movie itself is excellent. The story is loaded with heroics, passion, and humor, coupled with a stirring original soundtrack that captures the imagination and transports you back in time.
This movie is rated PG-13, for action-type violence and swordplay and some brief, (comedic) rear nudity.
For families with older children (I'd recommed about 12), this is a great watch that everyone will enjoy.