The differences between The Mask of Zorro (1998) and the new The Legend of Zorro can be explained by comparing one feature of both films: Zorro's horse. In the first film, the giant black horse had a definite personality—stubborn, defiant and independent. He got laughs by being very human. In the sequel, he now drinks wine, belches and, yes, even smokes a pipe
Like the first film's horse, Mask had character, dignity and personality. But this sequel removes its sense of restraint and stoops to lowest-denominator attempts at entertaining. It is still a big, fun-loving adventure caper, but it's just not at the same level of action, amusement, story or acting. The movie replaces a captivating story with Home Alone antics (bad guys falling on their crotches and landing in cactuses). In only two movies, the Zorro franchise has gone from being a rousing throwback to old Saturday afternoon westerns to being a Saturday morning cartoon. That the two movies were both directed by the same man, Martin Campbell, is mind-boggling.
So, what happened? Well, part of the problem is the story's focus on the ten-year-old son of Zorro, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso). Sure, many films do fine with young kids in central roles. But little Joaquin is to Zorro what Cousin Oliver was to The Brady Bunch. He just ruins everything. The result? This Zorro film becomes Spy Kids. Being a family adventure (aka The Incredibles) would be fine if the movie had something of merit to offer young viewers. Instead, Joaquin is a jerk. He picks fights, swears, and disobeys everyone. But the film doesn't present this negatively—instead he's a hero. He saves the day, he makes key discoveries for his Dad, and teaches his elders some lessons. And yes, he even has his ...1