Thursday, June 7, 2007

La Espada y La Rosa

I've been watching a telenovella (basically a Spanish language soap opera) about Zorro for the last couple of months. From the point of view of action/adventure it's not great. (A Zorro story doesn't benefit from glacial pacing.) The fight scenes are awkward. They have some good stunt doubles but there's no sign that they have a fencing master and they film around the actors' limited moves.

The principal actors are pretty good, but it's the minor roles what shine. With the slow pace and the involved romantic complications you get to know the background characters pretty well. Don Alejandro does noble and fatherly very well. The sinister hunchback Olmos is a lot of fun, as is assistant evil guy Pizarro. My favorite though is Mariangel, the evil sister of the leading lady. They've introduced a touch of tragedy to her storyline, which should have made her more sympathetic. Ironically, making her more human makes her less fun. Before she seemed to be having such a good time being wicked that it was fun to watch. It was the sort of gleeful evil that made Vincent Price so much fun.

I'm glad it's a limited series, if the end weren't in sight I don't know if I'd have the stamina to see it through. Just the same, it's Zorro and I'm glad Telemundo decided to offer closed captioning in English.

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