This is from a movie review penned at the time it was first in the theaters.
I vaguely remember seeing Zorro, masked hero on black horse, ripping Z's into surfaces with a shiny silver sword on the tiny screen of our television. I like the idea of heroes. Men or women who will take a stand and risk their lives for a good cause.
The hero Zorro has come to the big screen and filled it with tearing, flaming Z's in Dolby digital sound. The teeming masses, acts of bravery, sword fights, and romance abound.
The story is clever. Zorro (Anthony Hopkins) loses his family when he is thrown in prison for 20 years, and a deceitful power hungry man comes to rule in the part of Mexico called California. Zorro manages to escape and through an act of synchronicity, meets a young man ready to be a pupil to the master. The young man, played by Antonio Banderas, has women across America swooning over his dark good looks and flirtacious ways with the villain's adopted daughter (Catherine Zeta-Jones).
The crisis is a scheme by the evil one to make millions from a gold mine, powered by slaves. The two Zorros are of course clever and after many sword fights, and a few humorous encounters, they save the masses from this toil that robs them of their spirit and autonomy.
I've not given away too much I think, as do you really expect to go to a Zorro movie and not have the good guys win? We like heroes because we need them. It is our human nature to expect a man (or woman) so adept and courageous that their actions will change our evil, greedy world, whether it be a Zorro, Lone Ranger, Martin Luther King, Jr., or Malcolm X. What we need to remember is that in order to free ourselves from the slavery of the day-to-day modern world, we must become our own heroes, each of us breaking out of the chains society expects us to wear.
The Mask of Zorro is enjoyable, despite several scenes of violence. Hopkins is wonderful, Banderas adequate to the role, and Zeta-Jones extraordinarily beautiful and high-spirited. A great fun movie. Bring popcorn.