A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the movie contains lots of outrageous and stunty violence: explosions, shootouts, sword-fighting, horseback riding, leaping from rooftops and atop racing trains. While most is suitably cartoony, there is one bloody murder (by a sinister villain and his gang) of a sympathetic peasant as he tries to defend his home, leaving his tearful wife and an aggrieved Zorro behind. A young boy is threatened and watches villains beat and almost murder his father. This boy also engages in his own antic violence against the bad guys. Characters smoke (cigars) and drink (sometimes to the point of drunkenness).
What's the story?
Alejandro del la Vega, a.k.a. Zorro (Antonio Banderas), is busy fighting to ensure that votes cast in 1850 San Mateo will be counted toward California's statehood, in turn granting the "poor and desperate" (many Mexican-born) inhabitants access to rights and property. But it appears his wife, Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones), is tired of being left behind and wants Alejandro to give up his work as Zorro. When he refuses, Elena divorces him, and takes up with the French Count Armand.
Is it any good?
THE LEGEND OF ZORRO is big and loud, mixing extended action sequences with gestures toward family unity. The film lurches from the family trauma to national security anxieties, or, terrorism by way of The Wild Wild West. A nefarious group is working on of a crater-making, nitroglycerine-based weapon in order to control who has access to U.S. statehood, with complications concerning Pinkerton agents and the bad guys' use of Chinese "coolies." That all of this is filtered through Alejandro and Elena's marital discord replicates the parallels between domestic and global politics James Cameron is so fond of excavating, wherein the world's welfare depends on that of the nuclear family unit. You might hope they sort it out this time, and don't have to try again in seven years.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: October 28, 2005
- On DVD or streaming: January 31, 2006
- Cast: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Emerson
- Director: Martin Campbell
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures
- Run time: 129 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: sequences of violence/peril and action, language and a couple of suggestive moments
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