Three Musketeers, The-in 3D (Blu-ray) (2011)
|Category||Action Adventure||Main Menu Audio & Animation|
|Year Of Production||2011|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Paul W.S. Anderson|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (3254Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
"Every legend has a new beginning"
The Three Musketeers (2011) is the latest attempt by Hollywood to bring Alexandre Dumas' classic novel to the screen. In this attempt director Paul W. S. Anderson borrows heavily from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and goes overboard with lavish sets, non-stop action, and heavy use of CGI. Adherence to the original novel is scant, but then the target audience of this movie is probably not that familiar with it anyway. Many movies rely on over the top action and affects to overcome the lack of a meaningful plot and depth of character. The Three Musketeers does this to the n'th degree, and has added the further gimmick of 3-D to proceedings. How well it succeeds depends on your point of view. As popcorn fodder The Three Musketeers succeeds admirably. Look under the surface however and you will see a shallow, predictable, mercenary attempt to create a new money-making franchise.
This time around the three musketeers Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Porthos (Ray Stevenson) and Aramis (Luke Evans) band together to thwart the evil intents of the English Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom), who plans to use the inventions of Leonardo da Vinci to create an invincible war machine for battle against the French. The musketeers had earlier been disbanded by the scheming Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz), but are brought together again through the arrival of D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman), who aspires to be a musketeer. The Duke of Buckingham is joined in his quest by the conniving but beautiful Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich). Milady had earlier been an ally of the three musketeers but betrayed them in favour of the Duke. After having been drawn again into the service of King Louis of France (Freddie Fox), the musketeers, along with D'Artagnan, face seemingly insurmountable odds in their quest to save the country from the evil Duke's plans.
In bringing this movie to the screen director Anderson has constructed what is basically a selection of set action pieces joined together by the flimsiest of plots. To his credit the action pieces themselves are brilliantly executed and choreographed - again borrowing heavily from other action movies such as The Matrix and Pirates of the Caribbean. It is obvious that no expense has been spared in the set and costume design, with everything looking absolutely stunning. In some ways this movie resembles more a video game than historical action movie. Some of the stunts are outlandishly improbable, and the introduction of the da Vinci inspired war balloons is rather bizarre. Nevertheless if you turn off your brain and absorb the experience then you could be well rewarded.
On a more sombre note I did however feel disquiet at her rather casual way in which the musketeers slashed and killed their way across the French and Viennese countryside. There is no blood as such, however for some reason I found the mixture of humour and killing a bit unsettling. One example which remained with me was when one of the Cardinal's goons was hung by the neck underneath an archway. This is played for laughs in the movie, but I didn't find the sight of his wriggling body at all amusing. For what it's worth I did check my opinions with another viewer who had the same impression. Maybe I'm becoming sensitive in my old age.
This is a dual layer 50gb disc but I could not see the layer change using my equipment.
This audio track is reference quality.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu featured looping audio with background scenes from the movie.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Blu-ray under review is the bare-bones single disc version with selectable 2-D or 3-D video distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Available in the US and the UK is a two disc Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3-D combo package with some extras including an audio commentary; a small featurette discussing the director's interpretive vision; a look at Orlando Bloom's role; a closer look at 17th-century air travel; a small featurette on how the filmmakers created the French and Viennese locations; and twelve deleted and extended scenes. There is also an extensive picture-in-picture supplement which provides access to cast and crew stories, and inside information about the making of the film. Also available is a single disc "Special Edition" 2D version with extras. As the extras don't look particularly interesting I think this single disc local version is probably good enough for most people.
As popcorn fodder The Three Musketeers is good swashbuckling entertainment. Although it is obviously a Pirates Of The Caribbean inspired movie, it ultimately lacks the charm and accessibility of the Pirates franchise. It is clear from the closing sequences that further sequels are planned, however it remains to be seen whether The Three Musketeers franchise will have the success and longevity of the Pirates movies. None of the actors is in the same class or has the same appeal as Johnny Depp's captain Jack Sparrow, and there must be doubt whether there is a strong enough linchpin to keep momentum going. I do nevertheless recommend this movie as a great example of visual and audio high definition technology, even though the acting and plot and movie premise is ultimately only skin deep.
The video quality is outstanding.
The audio quality is outstanding.
Extras are non-existent.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910 and Panasonic BD-35, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Amplification||denon AVR-4311 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp|
|Speakers||B&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub, Definitive Technology Supercube II Sub|