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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2004), PG-13 [PG-13*]
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(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)
(2004), PG-13 [PG-13*] -- ...this 1998 film is not another "R-13*.
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Amblin Entertainment, TriStar Pictures, Zorro Productions
Distribution (US): Columbia Pictures, Columbia TriStar, TriStar Pictures
Director(s): Martin Campbell
Producer(s): Doug Claybourne, David Foster, John Gertz, Laurie MacDonald, Tava R. Maloy, Walter F. Parkes, Steven Spielberg
Characters by: Johnston McCulley
Story: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Randall Jahnson
Screenplay: John Eskow, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
Cinematography/Camera: Phil Meheux
Music: James Horner
Film Editing: Thom Noble
Casting: Pam Dixon
Production Design: Cecilia Montiel
Art Direction: Michael Atwell
Viewed on: Columbia Tri-Star Home Entertainment DVD
Before California was California, there was the Fox ... Zorro.
The first Zorro was Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. before talkie films. Another Zorro was Guy Williams slicing "Zs" into the shirt of plump Sgt. Garcia of the 1950s TV series. Surrounding those two keystones of the Zorro theme have been a plethora of look-alikes and wannabes ... until Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas.
The plot has not changed much ... still a battle of a freedom fighter and defender of the oppressed with an oppressive Spanish military. But this time, the Zorro mask is passed on from one generation to the next.
The film opens with Don Diego de la Vega, aka, Zorro (Anthony Hopkins) thwarting the plans of the military governor, Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson) to murder three nameless innocent peasants from the population. The goal? To maintain rule by fear. Leading the oppression for Montero was the sadistic Capt. Harrison Love (Matt Letscher). Lurking nearby was Mexican General Santa Anna ready to dispatch Don Montero and all other Spanish Dons (territory governors) into their graves to take the California territory for Mexico.
Among the crowd witnessing the intended execution murder were two young brothers: older Joaquin (Diego Sieres, later Victor Rivers) and Alejandro Murrieta (José María de Tavira, later Antonio Banderas). All in the crowd are willing to risk life and limb to help Zorro but these two boys do something about it. In an opportune moment, Joaquin and Alejandro topple a statue perched high above a group of Spanish soldiers poised to ambush Zorro. The boys actually saved Zorro's life. Zorro rewarded the boys with a special medallion of solid silver, hanging it around Joaquin's neck.
Realizing that Santa Anna was near, Zorro declared this ride into thwarting the Spanish would be his last and rode to the embrace of his beautiful wife, Esperanza (Julieta Rosen) and to the side of his loving baby daughter, Elena (María Fernández Cruz and Mónica Fernández Cruz, later Catherine Zeta-Jones).
While enjoying a warm kiss and embrace from Esperanza, Zorro found that Don Rafael Montero appeared in his home with a dozen or so soldiers to arrest Zorro. In the ensuring melee, Esperanza was killed by a bullet meant for Zorro. Broken and weak, Zorro was then carted off to prison where he spent 20 years. Also in that melee, Elena was kidnapped by Don Rafael to be his own daughter. The daughter of his love-interest, Esperanza was the best he could have since he could no longer court Esperanza. Elena de la Vega became Elena Montero and grew to beauty and stature befitting a princess, just like her mother.
In those 20 years, Joaquin and Alejandro grew to become bandits. Following a foiled attempt to capture the brothers which left about five soldiers (three visible) tied naked to a cluster of cacti, Capt. Love managed to again corner the brothers. Rather than be captured, Joaquin committed suicide. Love then beheaded him (off screen - severed head seen later). Alejandro grew from that point into drunken uselessness ... until Zorro found him.
In a "sidewalk" bar, a drunken Alejandro tried to sell a silver medallion to buy another glass of whiskey, the same medallion Zorro placed around Joaquin's neck 20 years earlier. Don de la Vega, who recently escaped prison, just happened to be strolling by and noticed the medallion. Striking Alejandro into submission, de la Vega asked him where he got the medallion. From that point, Alejandro became Zorro's protege.
There is a great deal more to this 129-minute film, but I do not wish to spoil it for those who choose to view it. My job is to provide mom/dad with the information they need to be in a better position to make an informed decision whether a film is fit for their family. That is where I will go next.
This film has a rather interesting scoring distribution not often noted in PG-13 movies.
The Impudence/Hate (I) investigation area found that programming was amazingly lite in profanity for a PG-13 film. With only five uses of profanity and two uses of anatomical slang the film was equivalent to a PG in the comparative baseline database. [Lev. 26:19, Mal. 4:1]
The Sexual Immorality (S) investigation area found material which might be described as precursor to the modern PG-13 films with the vulgarity that used to be associated with R-rated films. There was flash partial female nudity plus sex games with a sword where Zorro clipped Elena's clothes from her upper body and she played Lady Godiva with her hair. There was also full rear male nudity of three men. [**, 1Cor. 6:9]
Drugs/Alcohol (D) noted drinking. drunkenness and smoking equivalent to some R-rated films. [Eph. 5:18]
Offense to God (O) was completely absent of any use of God's name in vain with OR without the four letter expletive, of any form of witchcraft, sorcery, wizardry, Satanism or any other such practice. There were, however, instances of the portrayal of a man being able to forgive sins against God [Matt. 9:6], denial of it being sinful to dishonor parents [Eph. 6:2] and show lust for murder. [1John 2:16]
Murder/Suicide (M) found one suicide to avoid capture and a couple killings which were clearly murder. But most of the killings/deaths were due to military and/or defensive actions and were difficult to discern as murder. So, most killings and deaths were incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area. [Prov. 28:17]
I saved discussion about the findings by the first of the six CAP investigation areas, Wanton Violence/Crime (W) for last because of the severity of the contribution of violence to the overall content. The Wanton Violence/Crime content of this film caused the loss of all of the starting 100 points in Wanton Violence/Crime due to many forms of violence. Indeed, on the data entry logs are 60 spaces for entering observed instances of violence. The equations which compute the scoring had to be modified to accommodate the overflow for this film which presented 88 instances of violence. Examples included: extensive sword play; impalement deaths; gunfire killings; dungeon brutality; a severed head; attempted mass murder, including of children; more, much more. Though heavily violent, there was surprisingly little gore. [Prov. 3:31]
With a final score of 58 this 1998 film is not another R-13 but not far from it. It earned a place among the collection of PG-13 films in the comparative baseline database, not that you should take comfort in that. It is merely four points above the top of the scoring range earned by R-rated films (54 and below out of 100) in the comparative baseline database. The biggest reason this film did not earn a "R-13" score is that most the individual instances and episodes of assault on ethics and morality were not as severe or extreme as typically used in R-rated films (See the CAP Rule of 1000).
While the film's final score was indeed equivalent to some "hardcore" PG-13 films, the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area found content clearly equivalent to many R-rated films. Also equivalent to some R-rated films was the content revealed by the Drugs/Alcohol investigation area. The Sexual Immorality score was the only investigation area score for which the film earned a score equivalent to PG-13 movies. Impudence/Hate, Offense to God and Murder/Suicide found material equivalent in mathematical magnitude to PG or G-rated films in the comparative baseline database. These three "high steppers" are what prevented the final score from falling into the scoring range earned by R-rated films, saving this film from becoming yet another "R-13."
Please inspect closely the listing in the Findings/Scoring section before deciding whether to view this film with your family.
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.
***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
(The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
|There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.|
|In the name of Jesus: |
Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture
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Unique. Posted 5/24/04