'The Mask of Zorro' buckles its swash on Blu-ray with a good Region free 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed in the 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio. What we get is a rich, colourful looking transfer with a fine range of skin tones, solid reds and acceptably deep blacks. Contrast also looks good throughout.
In general the print is sharp, although in some close-ups there is a hint of softness that may well be the result of the use of a gentle pro-mist filter in camera. There is no hint of over correction in the sharpness department as there is no ringing to offend the eye.
There is some fine detail on show here, such as in the embroidered waistcoats of the male characters and in the dresses worn by Ms Zeta Jones. The transfer is good but not pristine like a newly restored film, due to the occasional speckle - but that's really nit picking. Overall, this film is visually appealing whether projected on a 7 foot screen or on a 50 inch plasma. It's the best it has ever looked on a home format.
The audio on 'The Mask of Zorro' comes in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 flavour which is a real treat for the ears. In the opening sequence where Zorro walks on to the screen, his footsteps have real echo and the flamenco dancer could be in the room with you. When he slashes the screen with his sword and the fiery 'Z' flies past camera, there is an enveloping sound of the flames like the roar of a cheetah or wildcat. As we enter the village square the crowd is all around us. Amid all the noise, the dialogue remains happily clear and crisp. There is great use of bass in the music score as well as during the explosions towards the end. In the swordfights the clash of steel on steel rings true in the Hollywood tradition.
Every speaker gets some exercise with this demo quality mix. I recall being impressed with the sound on this film on DVD. Now, on Blu-ray, it goes that step further.
- Audio Commentary
This is a truly interesting audio commentary by director Martin Campbell. He supplies some fascinating facts about the movie as well as some production anecdotes. He's good company and an excellent source of information for the duration of the movie.
- 'Unmasking Zorro' (SD, 45 mins)
This chunky documentary covers the long history of the Zorro character from the Johnston McCulley novels, through the Douglas Fairbanks movie era up to and including this more recent incarnation complete with interviews from the cast and crew.
- Deleted scenes (SD, 5 mins)
Two scenes from the cutting room floor show Zorro stealing a wallet, while the other is an alternate ending where he meets General Santa Anna. The ending used in the movie is much better.
- Music video (SD, 5 mins)
Here we have a nice performance of the end title song 'I want to spend my lifetime loving you' by Marc Anthony & Tina Arena.
- 'The Legend of Zorro' - sneak preview (SD, 5 mins)
We're given a behind the scenes look at the sequel , which is odd as it came out on Blu-ray a while ago.
- Exclusive scene from 'The Legend of Zorro' (SD, 2 mins)
Zorro and wife take on some bad guys.
This uses BD-Live to link to on-line facts about the movie, the cast, locations, music etc. A kind of live IMDB.
'The Mask of Zorro' fences its way on to Region free Blu-ray with a good looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed in the widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Skin tones look great amid the other strong colours used in the production, while contrast fares well throughout.
The audio on 'The Mask of Zorro' is the real star of the disc with a demo quality DTD-HD MA 5.1 mix that truly involves the audience in the action through the blockbuster use of surrounds and subwoofer when required.
Director Martin Campbell provides film buffs with an excellent commentary track and there's also a chunky 45 minute production doco included in the deal.
As a movie, 'The Mask of Zorro' delivers the winning combination of swashbuckling thrills, spills and laugher that made it such a hit upon its release back in 1998 together with a great cast including Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta Jones. It looks good on Blu-ray and is a must for fans of the old Saturday morning serials.
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