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The Three Musketeers - Blu-ray Movie Review

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the Three Musketeers - Movie Review

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1 Star

Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, a classic tale of heroism, love, and friendship, gets yet another unnecessary big screen treatment. This time by Paul W. S. Anderson, known more for his Mortal Kombat, Soldier, and Death Race debacles – as well as his slightly better Resident Evil series - than anything that might suggest an ability to bring a period drama to life. His bombastic, over-the-top swashbuckling silliness features more fire, weaponry, and CGI than anything Michael Bay has ever imagined. Not sure if that says more about Anderson or less about Bay.

Oddly enough however, it’s not the visual spectacle of anachronistic airships, rotating Gatling-cannons, or gimmicky 3D effects that dooms The Three Musketeers. In fact, what the movie has isn’t the problem. There’s plenty. Instead, it’s what it doesn’t have that makes Anderson’s film a disparagingly poor rendition of the classic tale and frankly, a waste of precious celluloid. OK, digital bits, but you get the idea.

Despite all the time spent on preparation, location scouting, gorgeous costumery, production, editing, and tons of TNT, the people are overlooked. There’s not a single character we give a hoot about. They’re all just cardboard pieces moving about in the service of the grand visual spectacle and paper-thin narrative. And from source material so rich in characterization, Anderson et. al. should be ashamed. Sure, the lack of character depth wouldn’t matter much with the bold presence of a swashbuckling Jack Sparrow or a Machiavellian Captain Blood. But Matthew MacFadyen, Luke Evans, Ray Stevenson, and Logan Lerman are not Johnny Depp or Errol Flynn.

To his credit though, Anderson and company do incorporate plenty of well-choreographed sword-fighting sequences, one in particular that takes place high atop the slippery spires and arches of a fabled German castle standing in as the residence of King Louie and Queen Anne. Sure it was done on green-screen, but this is the one place where the 3D effects actually worked to the film’s advantage.

Though the plot is quite simple, it’s made to ramble and convulse in too many disparate directions by Andrew Davies and Alex Litvak who co-wrote the convoluted script. The seed of Dumas’ novel remains though, as it involves the classic story or Porthos (Stevenson), Athos (Macfadyen), and Aramis (Evans) – three elite warriors who service the King of France as his best musketeers. After uncovering an evil plot - headed by the duplicitous Milady (Milla Jovovich) - to overthrow the King, the Musketeers cross paths with and take under their wings a young aspiring hero, D’Artagnan (Lerman), who has moved to Paris from the French countryside. Together, the four embark on a dangerous journey to upset the plot that not only threatens the French Crown, but the future of Europe itself.

None of the actors seems too interested in making a name from the given opportunity. The hinge of the story pivots on the symbolic youthfulness and moral character of D’Artagnan who reignites the musketeers from their drunken retirement. But Lerman is neither able to overcome his perceived lack of physical prowess nor carry the proceedings with the necessary gravitas required of the role. As a result, we’re unable to buy into his everyman quality as the young country boy from Gascony who changes the world. The other actors continually struggle with their accents, uttering perfunctory dialogue more befitting of a modern-day actioner, than a 400-year-old period piece.

OK, sure. We shouldn’t expect a film of Scorcese-ian provocation from Paul W. S. Anderson. After all, he’s an action director. But even as an amped-up, outrageous new vision of the literary classic meant to entertain, not challenge, The Three Musketeers fails to put an interesting new face on an old legend. It’s just a shiny, well-dressed cacophony of pretty noise and steam-punked distraction with nowhere to go. Pay it no attention. It’ll go away soon enough.

{2jtab: Film Details}

the Three Musketeers - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of adventure action violence.
Director
: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer
: Andrew Davies and Alex Litvak
Cast:
Matthew Macfadyen; Milla Jovovich; Luke Evans; Ray Stevenson; Orlando Bloom; Logan Lerman
Genre
: Action | Adventure
Tagline:
Every legend has a new beginning.
Memorable Movie Quote:
"One for all and all for one."
Distributor:
Summit Entertainment
Official Site:
www.threemusketeers-movie.com
Release Date: October 21, 2011
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 13, 2012

Synopsis: The hot-headed young D'Artagnan along with three former legendary but now down on their luck Musketeers must unite and defeat a beautiful double agent and her villainous employer from seizing the French throne and engulfing Europe in war.

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the Three Musketeers - Movie Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc

1 Star


5 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
3 Stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - March 13, 2012
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); Bonus View (PiP)
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

With a fine, fine – in fact – a steady and peerless dedication to the look of the transfer, The Three Musketeers, presented by Summit, is a high class 1080p transfer.  The colors are rich and vibrant and very detailing.  This is a transfer worth raving like a mad man about…if only the story could hold a candle to the gloss presented here.  Facial features are as detailed as the period costumes and the work chiseled into the set design.  Black levels are solid and important here in balancing the golden hues of firelight and Venice canals.  Never runny and always thick, black levels remain inky and perfect.  Crimson and yellows are constant and the daylight scenes seriously work to earn your respect.  This is a true work of digital art.  The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack is also a stunner and incorporates every channel with just the right highs and lows to remain engaging throughout.  It is a unique sound design that rivals any release from Disney studious in the modern era.  This is a technical marvel.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • If The Three Musketeers can have a commentary track, then shouldn’t every release?  I think so.  Provided by Director/Producer Paul W.S. Anderson and Producers Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzer, the commentary is a lively one that covers the writing of the story, the production, the 3D process, and the casting.  In fact, no stone is left unturned in this commentary.  And “one for all” indeed.

Special Features:

With a commentary and a picture-in-picture feature that runs throughout the film, The Three Musketeers certainly takes the cake for supplemental features.  The PIP feature is unique in that it is layered with information in four windows as the film plays.  Exhausting and detailed and certainly fun for fans of the film to dive into.  One thing is for certain, you may not like the end result (100% pantomime) but you will be enthralled by the process.  The deleted scenes - Where's the Key?, Catching You, Entering Da Vinci's Vault, Chess Game, Queen Anne Disputes the Cardinal, Buckingham's Arrival, Buckingham and Cardinal in the War Room, Queen Anne and Constance, Planchet and the Horse, Tower of London, The Musketeers of the Airship, and D'Artagnan and Rochefort Fight – are fun and complete and add a certain weight to the rest of the film.  Some are a downright waste and others are pretty cool. The rest features comments on updating the story and how they remained true to the source material.  There’s also a look at Bloom’s character and the rites of 17th century air travel.

  • Access: Three Musketeers PiP (260 min)
  • Paul W.S. Anderson's Musketeers (2 min)
  • Orlando Bloom Takes on the Duke (2 min)
  • 17th Century Air Travel (2 min)
  • Uncovering France in Germany (2 min)
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes (14 min)

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