Friday, October 28, 2005

NO BUCKLER LEFT UNSWASHED: I have a sacred duty to see all widely released Zorro-related cinema. Sometimes this duty is a trial, as many duties are. It is a duty nonetheless, stemming from my Mother's unexplained refusal of my repeated pleas to audit Zorro, the Gay Blade, circa 1981. (Related duties involving Superfuzz, Megaforce and Modern Problems, while similar in origin, are not sufficiently on point to bear discussion here.) With this duty comes the duty to report.

Ideally, if you were to see The Legend of Zorro, you would see it when it was your day to take charge of your 10-year-old son's Cub Scout den so the other moms/dads could go to the ball game/day spa. Don't just take your own son and expect a bonding experience, as this movie will be best appreciated by and among like minded members of the pre-testosterone set. I'm not saying there's nothing there for adults, I'm just saying it would have been better screened as a serial, filling a summer's worth of Saturday afternoons, thirty or sixty minutes at a time, with its ever-twisting plot and sequence after swashbuckling sequence of precariously choreographed and extremely implausible action.

To keep yourself amused while the pre-teens gape in adrenalized awe at the A-Team level violence and related physical comedy, focus on the following diverting exercises:

1) Estimate the number of completely gratuitous front-flips performed by Antonio Banderas' stunt doubles while jumping over or across things;
2) Estimate the number of physically improbable crashings through or fallings down accomplished without expected physical consequences and/or bodily injury;
3) Estimate the probability of Catherine Zeta Jones' eyebrows remaining motionless without chemical assistance while self-same CZJ smashes baddies with shovels, ladels, chairs, and swords;
4) Estimate the relative badness of The Legend of Zorro villain construct vs. relevant alternative constructs in similarly formatted entertainment requiring similarly intense suspension of disbelief (Wild Wild West, The Shadow and Batman Begins spring to mind);
5) Estimate the degree of parental/supervisory intervention necessary to prevent over-indulgence in simulated post-screening fisticuffs and swordplay by all attending cub scout dens dens nationwide, as well as the correllate cost to the Union in worker productivity, and
6) Finally, using your result from (5) above in combination with your current estimate of the Gross National Product of the United States for 2005 and the projected box office and tie-in revenue to U.S. companies from the production of The Legend of Zorro, reach a reasonably hedged conclusion as to the overall economic efficiency of this particular entertainment.

Enjoy, and come what may, don't say we didn't warn you.

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