Judge Clark Douglas, Judge Clark Douglas, he makes the sign of the JCD! Eh, not quite as catchy.
A Zorro for the new millennium!
For over a century, the de la Vega family has proudly kept the name "Zorro" alive. The latest to take up the mantle is Diego, the grandson of the previous Zorro. Diego's father was never a fan of the whole "masked vigilante" idea and decided to turn down the legacy. In fact, for years he attempted to convince Diego that the whole Zorro story was merely a big fish tale that had been passed down over the years. Diego continues to believe the stories anyway, and his beliefs are validated when he discover the famous Zorro cave in the basement of the Diego family mansion. Diego initially hesitates about becoming an action hero, but when he father is kidnapped, he decides to don the cape, mask and sword. Riding into the night on his purple Tornado-Z motorcycle, the new Zorro vows to undo the evil doings of evildoers!
Six episodes are included on this disc:
• "A New Generation," Parts 1 and 2: The origin story of the new Zorro. Diego attempts to rescue his father. Along the way, he must join forces with a sexy heroine named The Scarlet Whip in order to battle a corrupt mayor.
• "The Fearsome Four": The mayor determines to bring it a squad of hit men to wipe out Zorro once and for all.
• "Sins of the Father": Diego must battle a particularly hard-headed villain (yes, the villain has a skull made of titanium steel).
• "Mayor for a Day": Zorro's wish is to be mayor for a day. He gets his wish, in a weird sort of way.
• "Wanted—Part Time Hero": Diego's funding is cut off, so he is forced to get a job working at a car wash.
If you think that Zorro: Generation Z sounds like a pretty flimsy attempt to cash in on the Zorro brand name, well, you would be correct. Sure, such attempts can occasionally turn into perfectly respectable animated programs (I'm thinking of the very similar Batman Beyond here), but if these first six episodes are any indication, this program is a pretty limp and predictable imitation of previous Zorro incarnations. That's saying something when you consider just how many less-than-impressive variations on the Zorro story have appeared over the years.
The stories here are thoroughly predictable tales of action that should only being satisfying to young kids who have nothing better to do. There's no wit or cleverness here, just a series of stock villains employing stock plots before being taken down by a very stock hero. Diego is a very bland character, the same sort of slightly hip young guy that dominates oh-so-many of these programs. The Scarlet Whip (who plays a major role throughout the show) is a typical modern female sidekick, a strong and aggressive woman who always matches or outdoes the male hero any time she appears. Good for feminism, but is anyone else getting tired of seeing this cookie-cutter character over and over again? Speaking of familiar characters, plenty of old-fashioned stereotypes are on hand: a bumbling police chief who overeats, a Scottish maid who says the word "sure" a lot, etc. I should note that the choice of villains for the program seems a bit cynical for a program designed for young children: every politician or law enforcement member is a corrupt and evil person.
There are also some basic logic problems that will insult the intelligence of attentive children. For instance, Diego employs a great deal of futuristic technology during his adventures. He's constantly just pulling out all sorts of stuff that I'm pretty sure doesn't even exist. Sure, he comes from a rich family and can probably afford some cool gadgets, but where is he getting all of this non-existent technology? It's not like he's a Bruce Wayne-level tech genius. He's not inventing it himself and we never see where he's getting it from. Very odd. Additionally, the action sequences are often rather poorly planned out. There may be plenty of banging and clashing, but the basic science used is pretty messy. It's one thing to use a little handheld device to give an electric shock to a bad guy; it's another thing to use the exact same sort of mild electric shock to break a link in a massive chain made of iron.
The transfer here is okay, if nothing spectacular. As with many animated releases of television programs, this one is interlaced rather than progressive. There picture is bright and reasonably detailed, though there is a bit of color bleeding. The bleeding is particularly noticeable every time the annoying red "Z" appears…and it appears every single time the show cuts from one scene to another. The audio sounds a bit pinched at times, but it gets the job done reasonably well. The Latin techno music that fuels the program is fairly obnoxious, but how else do you expect unimaginative television folks to score a show about a modern-day Zorro? There are no extras included on the disc.
I'm not a big fan of this show or these one-disc "volumes" of animated kids' shows that are so trendy these days, but hey, this is a reasonable sampler if you're curious. Personally, I think you can find something far more interesting for the kiddies.
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