Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Zorro, from then to now.

Zorro is my favourite swushbuckler of all time, he may be old school. but he is just such great fun and I plainly love him.

I love how he totally steal "the Scarlet Pimpernel's" act and mocks his enemies by playing fobbish as his alter ego Diego De La Vega, I love how Zorro whoops but and have a fun time while doing so, I love the old school romance and that this is all about sword fighting and fun fun fun.

Once again this was first a book, this was written by an author Johnston McCulley in 1919.
I read the book, and its fine. not mind blowing but not disappointing either, its what I would actually expect from the original book, they its bothers the hell out of me that this to is build up as a mystery novel where you don't learn Zorro's identity before the very end.
Though in this novel, even though if you don't know from the beginning, its plainly obvious as we spend all our time either with Zorro or Diego Vega and they never ever are in the same room.
Apparently McCulley have written several Zorro books, and I haven't been able to find more than the first one D,:

Zorro, classic hero rich boy pretending to be a zap called "Diego De La vega" dresses up at nigh as Zorro to spread justice for the people in a black cape and with a mask on.
Guess which character Batman was originally based on? though, unlike Batman Zorro isn't emo.
As Always, I will not cover every Zorro related movie that is out there, only the important stuff, and only very superficially

Only on year after the book release was the first movie made. the silent 1920 "The Mark of Zorro"was the first big movie made by Douglas Fairbanks with himself in the main character, the worlds first action star remember.
This movie is fun! I love it. its really a fell good movie, and its a joy to know this is the first ever swashbuckler movie and went to set the standard for the future. The sword fights are kind of pitifull and silly, but the stunts and acrobatic is top notch plus its just so funny with loads of humour and a classic plot alfa omega. its really surprising how cloesely it follows the book, extremely closely in fact, I don't think I have ever seen a more faithful book interpretation that works.

The remake "Mark of Zorro" from 1940 with Tyrone powers is so overlooked.
This is my favourite Zorro movie, my favourite old swashbuckler movie, and all in all its just one of my favourite movies. Again its a romantic feel good movie with not much human depth going on, but its just so funny! The way that Diego acts like a total sap is hilarious, and Zorro himself is just so awesome. True, sometimes its a bit camped and weird, but its 1940, what can you expect, and Basil Rathbone does of cause plays the villain, for does who don't know. Basil Rathbone was the dude who played all the villains in all swashbuckling movies of the 30's, 40's and 50's, not shit. And the sword duel at the finale of the movie between Tyrone Powers and Basil Rathbone is just such a joy to watch, it just looks amazing.

In 1957, the Disney series of Zorro with "Guy Williams" in the title character started running.
Well, its Disney. its innocent, cutesy and bright, its for people with a childish soul.. though at the same time.. its actually still Zorro, and a quite good Zorro to. he have the sword fighting, the sappy persona, his clever ways of dealing with the oppressing government. so, if you can deal with that this is Disney, its a quite enjoyable series, though some of the humour is a bit to much Disney sometimes, all though other kinds of humour is just right.

"Zorro the gay blade" from 1981 is kind of a weird movie. well its a spoof, so of cause its weird.
And this time Zorro really are two persons, meaning Diego gets hurt and to the rescue comes his downright gay twin brother to take over the Zorro persona. only this time he doesn't pretend to be a zap and gay, he really is.
Well, it does pay tribute to Zorro and it have some really fun clever scenes, I especially like when they set a trap for the villain as the villain throws a masked ball to lure Zorro in. Then Diego spoils the invitation so everybody who enters is dressed as Zorro, and his twin brother who really is Zorro at the moment is dressed as a Lady, and do what they were supposed to do. really odd, but also kind of funny. And that would be this movie.

Another television series. "The new Zorro." Ran on the family channel from 1990 with Duncan Regerh in the title character.
This is kind of a camp experience for me, but it has its charm. Duncan Regerh is a good casting choice for Zorro, but and odd casting choice for Diego De La Vega, and it doesn't help is a head higher than everyone else in the series, so it should kind of obvious that he is Zorro. the writing mixes between just fine, to downright odd to really great, though it have its charm and is also a kind of fell good little low budget series. It would not be the first Zorro related thing I would recommend to check out, but if you are already familiar with the character, it is kind of worth checking out anyhow.

in 1997, prior to the 1998 Antonio Banderas movie a short lived Cartoon series called. "The new Adventures of Zorro" came out.
This was the first interpretation of Zorro I ever saw. I clearly remember watching it as a kid and plainly loving every moment of it, I just didn't miss and episode. but, I haven't been able to find it, not as much as one single episode so I have no idea if its as good as I remember, it is starting to become a long time ago I saw it. it kind of hurts me, and I would just die to give this a revisit.

then of cause in 1998 with had the Antonio Banderas movie "Mask of Zorro."
This.. is actually a sequel, the story is a clear sequel to the 1940 above mentioned Tyrone Powers movie. why its written as a sequel, I really don't know.
Antonio Banderas is perfect as Zorro, I mean he really is Zorro. he looks like Zorro, he talks like Zorro, he moves as Zorro, he fights as Zorro. he is just bloody perfect for the part, which makes it such a shame that he is never allowed to even attempt being "De La Vega" the fobbish side, I mean there are two small scenes with it, but its way underplayed. and that makes this a very medi ocre Zorro movie.
How ever, as a plain adventure and Swush buckler, its a really nice revisit to the old days and using kind of the same camera techniques, fighting styles and story telling as the classic swashbucklers. its great fun, and though it isn't precisely epic, its well worth checking out.

And in 2005, 7 full years after the first Banderas movie came out, the sequel came. "The Legend of Zorro"
Well, with a title with the word "Legend" in it, and after seven years old waiting with Banderas back in the part, you should think it would finally be the epic revisit to the "1940" movie... it isn't. this movie is so bland, boring and medi ocre, even though they try and make the fights bigger and more elaborate, the fights are just not nearly as fun as in the first Banderas movie, the class and the old fell mood seems to be kind of lacking as well, and it is just an disappointing movie, hell. Banderas even suddenly don't look that sexy any more in it, he constantly looks tired and like he really don't wanna be there. Of cause it doesn't help this movie is written by the same freaking people who would move on the write both Transformers films and the Star Trek movie, stop screwing up things I like!

Thankfully I got the Banderas as always wanted him "Shrek 2" where he is totally parodying his own Zorro character while vouching the "Puss in boots" and I freaking love that Cat, he is the perfect little swashbuckler hero and call back to the olden days, I want an entire movie with Puss... which I am actually gonna get... from Dreamworks... I want to pull that statement back....

And finally in 2007, an actually spanish produced television series. "Zorro: La Espada y la Rosa" saw the light of day.
I have not actually seen an episode all the way through, because it did not have subtitles I kind a gave up (yeah, I am ashamed, I'm sorry) But I would really love to watch this with subtitles, it quite frankly looks amazing. It looks all mysterious and mystical and dark and stuff, and of cause have the swashbuckling to. what do I know, haven't really seen it.. sadly.

I said if I could pick a movie Hollywood should produce big box office style, it should be "the Scarlet Pimpernel" and I stand by that statement, however, if I could pick a trilogy, I want bloody Zorro. three movies shoot at the same time story arch, and I don't want stupid sequels, I want a genuine re-boot/Remake.. never thought I should say something like that.. but that is height on my wish list, and it shouldn't even try and be all serious and stuff, but just have a good time with loads of fun.
Hell, I want to write that trilogy.. actually I already started on that back when I was 15... so if I ever make it to Hollywood, that is the big trilogy I wanna make, I just hope no one spoils it before I can do it, though if I am never going to make it to Hollywood, I hope somebody will do it for me and keep the character alive.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe you'll get your wish for a new Zorro TV series or movie very soon. Check of The Zorro Chronicles animated series. And if you like stories check out the Zorro radio dramas. If you're on Facebook you'll find several Zorro groups there.