The Legend of Zorro Blu-ray Review
PictureThe film may be mediocre, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the transfer here. In fact I would go so far as to say that this is almost reference material. The transfer is presented in a theatrically correct 1080P 2.35:1 transfer and from the very beginning this is enough to make eyes pop.
The opening titles are spectacular, as fire tears across the screen, and a horse gallops in slow motion through the blackness. The colour depth here is stunning, and before the film even starts you are amazed.
This colour fidelity is carried over into the film itself, with fleshtones vibrant and natural, the sometimes arid backgrounds beautifully realised, and that famed HD 3d-like “pop” clearly visible at all times.
The level of detail is similarly impressive. Close-ups show a massive amount of facial detail, and make the beautiful characters we are presented with even more pleasing to the eye than on SD. Black levels are always deep and clear, with scenes always being clearly visible. Contrast is dynamic and well defined and all times. Close up examinations do show some very slight haloing in places which does take the mark very slightly down, but this is being very picky.
This is certainly a disc that is likely to impress.
SoundAgain, as with the transfer, the Dolby TrueHD track on this disc absolutely amazes. I really wasn't expecting such a dynamic, draw dropping track from this release.
A lot of attention has gone into the sound design here, and it shows at all stages of the film. The beauty here is the sheer attention to the placement of effects. Church bells toll behind you to the right, horses hooves gallop across the sound field, and swords swish through the air with vibrant brutality - almost making me duck on a few occasions.
Amongst this beautifully placed mayhem, the dialogue is beautifully pinned to the front center, always being clear, and precise, and James Horner's majestic score really is given room to breath, filling the room.
The volume this track is presented in is almost perfect. There is no need to compensate artificially between quiet and loud scenes, and the sub gets a really decent workout in places too.
This is HD audio at its most impressive and shows what can really be achieved with a bit of care and effort on behalf of the sound designers.
ExtrasThe extras have made it intact from the SD edition - but there are no HD exclusives here. We start with the filmmaker's commentary which features Martin Campbell, the Director, and Phil Meheux, the Cinematographer. This is an excellent commentary, perhaps a little technical but certainly never dry. Campbell, in particular, pulls no punches when speaking his mind. At one point he even lays into critics. If you're reading this, Mr. Campbell, I have not mentioned the accent!
Then there are four mini featurettes, lasting between 6 and 13 minutes each. These are entitled Playing with Trains, Visual Effects, Stunts, and Armand's Path. Focussing on specific scenes, these documentaries are not in depth but do manage to present some interesting information.
Added to these are Deleted Scenes that can be viewed with or without a commentary by Campbell. He really seems to like these scenes. I'm not sure why. But it's good to have them on the disc for completions sake.
Multi-Angle scene Deconstructions sounds exciting but really it is just different camera angles chosen with the angle button on the remote exactly as would be done on a standard DVD. You can choose rehearsal footage, behind the scenes, and the finished scene.
Finally, we get a trailer for Close Encounters of the Third Kind on Blu.
VerdictThe Legend of Zorro is a mediocre film given top notch HD presentation. The picture and sound are superb examples of the format, and the extras are extensive, even if there are no HD exclusives offered.
The film itself is an undemanding watch that entertains on a limited level but offers little in the way of rewatcheablilty. The director should be commended for eschewing CGI (for the most part) and for presenting some exciting old fashioned stunts - but this is not enough to lift the film above the level of mediocrity.
If you are a fan of the film, however, you are really going to be blown away by the video and sound on this disc - and it is likely to be an essential purchase for you.
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