Thursday, June 04, 2020

Zorro: The Chronicles (2015)



Who's in it?:
Johnny Yong Bosch (Akira, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) as the voice of Zorro.

What's it about?: Re-imaging of the Zorro legend with Zorro as a teenager.

How is it?: After watching so much Zorro for this project, the stories in this French-produced animated series felt very familiar. The evil captain has the typical tactics for oppressing the people of Los Angeles and Zorro uses his customary methods of fighting back. I only watched a few episodes before feeling like I had a good handle on what the show has to offer.

There are some new elements though and things it does well. Don Diego is a teenager in this version, as are his allies. He still has a mute servant named Bernardo (who also pretends to be deaf, as in the original Disney show and some other versions), but they're more like best friends than employer and employee. And like the 1997 cartoon, there's also a female ally.

In this one, her name is Ines and she's Diego's sister. And unlike 1997's Isabella, Ines doesn't have to figure out Zorro's secret identity, because Diego lets her in on it pretty much as soon as he creates the Zorro persona. I like her and Bernardo both, but the show's still called Zorro and he gets all the best stuff to do.

The animation is fine. Characters don't always move naturally, but the faces are pretty expressive. What the art does super well though is character design and backgrounds. The costumes are all highly textured and detailed, with Zorro's being especially cool with kind of gold-brown piping and accents as well as cool, scarlet highlights on his collar, sash, and cape. 

And someone spent a lot of time on the environments that the characters move around in. Every scene has a great sense of geography with wide shots that establish where everything is and the camera freely moving around to show where everyone is in relation to each other. That's especially helpful in big action pieces set around a fort or house or a remote location out in the country. Even if I'm not wild about the stories in Zorro: The Chronicles, I'd love to play a video game set in this world.

Rating: Three out of five rooftop leaps.



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