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The Mask of Zorro (1998)

NOTE: This commentary is only on the "Special Edition" DVD, not the original or "Superbit" releases.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Martin Campbell Rating:9.0/10 (1 vote) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by iwantmytvm on July 23rd, 2020:Find all reviews by iwantmytvm
Campbell hits all of the right notes and the high notes on this track. He documents how changes to the script evolved, and what elements were improvised or altered on the day of shooting. He breaks scenes down surgically, pointing out the stuntwork and choreography, costumes, production design, visual effects, music, sound design. He mentions how he was brought on after other directors has been attached but he retained most of the crew. He speaks to the challenges of filming on location in more remote areas of Mexico. Steven Spielberg was one of the producers and offered quite a bit of collaboration and ideas that Campbell incorporated into this soup. Some scenes required reshooting due to problems with the film processing or illness, or just suggestion from Spielberg or the studio to shape the story. Campbell unofficially was given final cut. He reveals some of his editing process. He compliments the music of James Horner for how it complemented and enhanced many of the scenes. The film was originally set to open around the same time as Titanic but the studio liked the film so much they shifted it to a summer release.

They tried to capture the spirit of the classic Zorro shows and films, as well as honor the era of swashbuckling films. There was a constant attempt to prevent the violence from becoming bloody or gory. The stunt coordinator and swordmaster exhibited a genuine animosity towards each other which probably helped in crafting the fight sequences. The cast underwent intense training for the swordfighting in the film. They rarely doubled Antonio Banderas because he was more skilled with a sword than any of this doubles. In press junkets, Hopkins jokingly claimed he did his own stunts. With the swordfighting, Campbell asserts that it must be dynamic, interesting and be attune to the characters or else it becomes boring. They made a conscious effort to edit judiciously for the young Hopkins scenes so he would not show his age. Campbell notes the challenges of working with children, and animals. There were four horses used to depict the Zorro steed. Each horse had different skills. A discussion of accents led to Hopkins and Stuart Wilson using their British accents for their characters. Campbell says that they lucked out with the chemistry between the actors, and believes that filming the training scenes between Hopkins and Banderas at the end of the shoot when they had a better familiarity lent to improving those scenes.