The Legend of Zorro is a 2005 swashbuckler american film and sequel to The Mask of Zorro (1998), directed by Martin Campbell. Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones reprise their roles as the titular hero and his spouse, Elena, and Rufus Sewell stars as the villain, Count Armand. The film, which takes place in San Mateo County, California, was shot in San Luis Potosi, Mexico with second-unit photography in Wellington, New Zealand.
- Directed by: Martin Campbell
- Produced by: Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, Lloyd Phillips
- Written by: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
- Story by: Johnston McCulley
- Starring: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Adrian Alonso, Rufus Sewell, Nick Chinlund
- Music by: James Horner
- Cinematography: Phil Meheux
- Edited by: Stuart Baird
- Country: U.S.A.
- Language: English, Spanish
- Running time: 129 minutes
- Budget: $75 million
- Box Office: $142 million
- Release date: October 24, 2005
- Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
In 1850 (Nine years after the events of the first film), California is voting on whether to join the United States of America as a state. A wild gunman with wooden teeth, Jacob McGivens (Nick Chinlund), attempts to steal the ballots, but Zorro (Antonio Banderas)chases after him and recaptures the votes.
In their scuffle, McGivens pulls off Zorro's mask. A pair of Pinkerton agents (Michael Emerson and Shuler Hensley) recognize him as Don Alejandro de la Vega. Zorro fashions a makeshift mask from his costume and rides off on his stallion, Toronado, to deliver the votes to the governor.
Upon returning to his mansion, Alejandro is greeted by his loving wife, Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Elena believes that Alejandro can now give up being Zorro, but Alejandro is sure that the people will still need him. So the couple has a fight over the issue.
The next day, after sending their son, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso) to school, Elena is confronted by the Pinkertons, who disclose their knowledge of Zorro's identity. Soon after, Alejandro is served with divorce papers from Elena, which she was forced to do.
Three months later, Alejandro, living in a hotel, is depressed over the separation from Elena and having not been summoned as Zorro ever since the divorce. His friend and childhood guardian, Father Felipe (Julio Oscar Mechoso), convinces him to attend a party at French Count Armand's (Rufus Sewell) new vineyard, and there Alejandro finds out that Elena has been dating the count.
Later, after leaving the party and getting drunk, Alejandro witnesses a huge explosion close to Armand's mansion and becomes suspicious of Armand.
Afterwards, McGivens and his men attack a peasant family, the Cortezes, who are Alejandro's friends, in order to seize their land deed. Zorro succeeds in rescuing Guillermo's wife and infant son, but McGivens shoots Guillermo just before disappearing with his gang, the deed to the Cortez home in hand. Zorro subsequently stakes McGivens out at Armand's mansion and discovers that Armand wanted Cortez's land to build a railroad.
He encounters Elena, and learns that Armand will receive a mysterious shipment.
Zorro tracks McGivens to a cove where the count's cargo is being delivered. However, on a class trip nearby Joaquin has also come across McGiven's gang and hitches a ride.Zorro saves his son from the bandits, but the only clues he is able to retrieve are a piece of the cargo, a bar of soap, and the name Orbis Unum from a crate lid.
Felipe and Alejandro learn that Armand is the head of a secret society, the Knights of Aragon, which secretly ruled Europe in the past. Armand plans to throw the United States, which is perceived as a threat to the Knights' power, into chaos before it can gain too much power.
Sometime later, Alejandro is captured by the Pinkertons who inform him of their blackmailing Elena into divorcing him and getting close to Armand to discover his plans; since California isn't yet a state, they couldn't conduct a legal investigation. Joaquin stumbles upon his father's whereabouts and frees him from prison.
Zorro heads over to Armand's mansion, meets Elena, and eavesdrops on Armand's meeting, learning that the soap bars contain glycerin - a precursor to nitroglycerin, which Armand plans to distribute throughout the Confederate Army, with the help of Confederate Colonel Beauregard, to destroy the Union. Zorro and Elena reconcile concerning her involvement with the Pinkertons, and Zorro prepares to destroy the train carrying the explosives. McGivens arrives at Felipe's church to look for Zorro, but ends up shooting the priest and kidnapping Joaquin.
At the mansion, Armand is informed by his butler, Ferroq about Elena's deception and, showing her the bodies of the Pinkerton agents, brutally confronts her with his knowledge. He takes her and Joaquin hostage on to the 10 car train, forcing Zorro to stop his own sabotage and getting himself captured. He is unmasked in front of his wife and son, much to Joaquin's shock. Joaquin and Elena are taken away by Armand, while McGivens is tasked with killing Alejandro. Unexpectedly, Felipe arrives and helps Alejandro overpower McGivens, who is killed when a drop of nitro lands on his head. Felipe then reveals that the crucifix around his neck shielded him from McGivens' bullet, and Alejandro goes to save Elena and Joaquin.
Zorro catches up with and lands - along with Toronado - inside the 8th car of the train, and engages Armand in a sword fight. Meanwhile, Elena has Joaquin escape into the back cars of the train which she disconnects. She then fights Ferroq in the nitro storage car, and both he and Colonel Beauregard are killed in an explosion. Joaquin collects Toronado and rides after the train by jumping off the running train. Further along the tracks, under the eyes of a huge crowd, the governor is signing the bill to make California a state.
As the train gets closer, Joaquin has Toronado hit a track switch, causing the train to pass around the governor's car. Zorro and Armand's duel takes them to the very front of the locomotive; however, the track is a dead end, blocked by a large pile of rails. Zorro hooks Armand to the train and escapes with Elena. The train plows Armand into the block, killing him and causing the nitroglycerin to detonate, destroying the train. With Zorro as an official witness, the governor later signs the bill, and California becomes the 31st state of the United States of America. Later, Felipe remarries Alejandro and Elena with Joaquin as the only witness. Alejandro apologizes to his son for not telling him the truth, and he admits that Zorro's identity is a family secret rather than just his own. Elena then allows Alejandro to continue being Zorro, accepting him of who he is and Zorro rides off on Toronado to his next mission.
- Antonio Banderas - Alejandro De la Vega/Zorro
- Catherine Zeta-Jones - Elena De la Vega
- Adrian Alonso - Joaquin De la Vega
- Rufus Sewell - Count Armand
- Nick Chinlund - Jacob McGivens
- Julio Oscar Mechoso - Padre Felipe
- Michael Emerson - Harrigan
- Shuler Hensley - Pike
- Pedro Armendariz Jr. - Governor Riley
James Horner was hired to compose thefilm score in September 1997. For his work on The Mask of Zorro, Horner was influenced by Miklos Rozsa's score from El Cid. The soundtrack, released by Sony Classical Records and Epic Soundtrax, was commercially successful and propelled by the rising profile of Latin heartthrob Marc Anthony and Tina Arena. Their duet, "I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You", plays in the closing credits of the film and was released as a single in Europe. The song went #3 on the French singles and #4 on the Dutch singles charts.
1. Collecting the Ballots
2. Stolen Votes
3. To the Governor's... And Then Elena
4. This Is Who I Am
5. Classroom Justice
6. The Cortez Ranch
7. A Proposal With Pearls/Perilous Times
8. Joaquin's Capture and Zorro's Rescue
10. A Dinner of Pigeon/Setting the Explosives
11. Mad Dash/Zorro Unmasked
12. Just One Drop of Nitro
13. The Train
14. Statehood Proclaimed
15. My Family Is My Life
The Legend of Zorro continues its predecessor's inclusion of historical elements of California history into the fiction, though many liberties have been taken.
Alejandro, the Mexican-born Californian who became Zorro at the end of The Mask of Zorro, is a fictional brother to Joaquin Murrieta, for whom the character's son Joaquin is named. Military governor Bennet Riley, the last of California's heads of state prior to statehood, is portrayed, but the Maryland-born American is played by the Mexican actor Pedro Armendariz Jr., and speaks English with a Hispanic accent. Leo Burmester plays R. S. Beauregard, a Confederate colonel whose character is not to be confused with the historical P.G.T. Beauregard. Pedro Mira plays pre-Presidential Abraham Lincoln as an observer to California's statehood, though the real Lincoln never traveled to the region.
Critical reaction to The Legend of Zorro was mostly mixed to negative. The film currently holds a rating of 47 out of 100 on Metracritic, and a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Rogert Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a below-average review, awarding it one and a half stars (out of four), commenting that "of all of the possible ideas about how to handle the Elena character, this movie has assembled the worst ones. James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave The Legend of Zorro two stars (out of four), saying that "the action is routine", "the chemistry between the two leads, which was one of the highlights of The Mask of Zorro, has evaporated during the intervening years", and that the movie "fails to recapture the pleasure offered by The Mask of Zorro." Stephanie Zacharek of Salon.com praised the film, calling it "entertaining, bold, and self-effacing at once", noting the civic and parental questions it raises. Slate Magazine critic David Edelstein also praised the film, in particular the action scenes, villains, and chemistry between Banderas and Zeta-Jones. Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said the film was "watchable—not remotely enjoyable, but watchable." Nathan Rabin of The Onion's A.V. Club gave the film a lukewarm review, saying that "director Martin Campbell doles out action sequences stingily" but added that "The Legend of Zorro still feels like a half-hearted shrug of a sequel." Brian Lowry of Variety said that The Legend of Zorro is "considerably less charming than The Mask of Zorro" but added that the film "gets by mostly on dazzling stunt work and the pleasure of seeing its dashing and glamorous leads back in cape and gown." Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly awarded the film a "B-" score. Schwarzbaum said that "too many scenes emphasize gross butchery over the elegance of the blade", but added that the film is "well-oiled" and praised the "fancy fight sequences". Stephen Hunter of The Washington Post reacted negatively, calling The Legend of Zorro "a waste of talent, time, and money" and "stupid and boring". Marc Savlov of the Austin Chronicle was also not
impressed, remarking that "there are precious few things for a Zorro fan – or a film fan, for that matter – not to loathe about The Legend of Zorro."
The film did reasonably well at the box-office, grossing $142,400,065 internationally, but did not match the success of its predecessor.