The Three Musketeers (1993)

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 101:12
RSDL / Flipper FLIPPER (53:24) Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Stephen Herek
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Charlie Sheen
Kiefer Sutherland
Chris O'Donnell
Oliver Platt
Tim Curry
Rebecca De Mornay
Gabrielle Anwar
Julie Delpy
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $34.95 Music Michael Kamen


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    There have been many movies made based on Alexandré Dumas' tale of three loyal Musketeers and the young blood D'Artagnan, starting way back in 1909 with an Italian silent version, right up to this year's slow and boring The Musketeer. This is the Disney version from 1993 that has an all star cast and features a storyline that was only loosely based on Dumas' novels.

    In this version, we still have the young D'Artagnan (Chris O'Donnell with a curly mullet) heading to Paris to join the Musketeers, only to find that they have recently been disbanded. He meets up with the titular three musketeers, being Athos (Kiefer Sutherland), Porthos (Oliver Platt), and Aramis (Charlie Sheen), and together they try to foil the dastardly plans of the evil Cardinal Richelieu (Tim Curry) and his nasty lackey Captain Rochefort (Michael Wincott).

    While the artistic merits of this version could well be argued, that is not what it is really about. This is first class entertainment, and is certainly a great fun romp of a film that has a good amount of humour and action, and keeps well enough away from any real hint of sentimentality or sappiness (which is surprising for a Disney movie). Kiefer Sutherland, Oliver Platt, and Charlie Sheen have a great time hamming it up as the three musketeers, Chris O'Donnell plays the somewhat innocent and naive D'Artagnan with ease, and Tim Curry is the perfect "boo and hiss" bad guy where every time he is on screen you just want to throw something at him. Michael Wincott just continues where he left off as Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, delivering a performance so similar that the roles could be switched and no-one would be the wiser. The only problem I have with this movie is the casting of Hugh O'Connor as King Louis - he is so weak and insipid as a king and looks so "girly" that if I had been a Musketeer, I'd have abandoned him for the Cardinal in a second. Leonardo DiCaprio was a far better King in The Man In The Iron Mask, and that is saying something.

    Overall, this is a good fun movie that does not take itself too seriously, delivers great performances, looks astoundingly lush and vibrant, and is perfect for some light entertainment.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a high quality transfer. There are a number of problems, but overall they detract little from the image.

    Presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    While the transfer is not extremely sharp, it is certainly not soft - the amount of detail present is very pleasing. There are certainly no occasions on which the transfer could have been enhanced by being sharper. There is only one instance where grain is particularly bad and that is at 46:22 and even then only for less than a second during a lightning flash. Shadow detail can only be described as workable, as a fair amount of detail disappears into the murk during darker scenes. This does not really cause too many problems, however, as the majority of the movie takes place outdoors during the day and is very brightly lit. There was no low-level noise detected.

    Colours were good without being spectacular, as on a number of occasions they appear less vibrant than they really should have been. This was particularly evident during the scenes that take place in the forest where the trees and bushes were paler than they could have been. It is also apparent when there is a large portion of white in a shot, as it tends to dominate.

    There was an interesting compression artefact that occurred on Side B at 3:46 just as Athos whips his horse - the blurring of the whip is handled very strangely indeed. The effect is similar to macro blocking, but is more pronounced. That is really the only compression artefact however, as the rest of the transfer is very well handled. There are numerous instances of aliasing, and most of them are fairly obvious. The aliasing is especially bad on swords, and being a Musketeers movie there are quite a few of them. Also, the large hats worn by all the characters at different times cause a fair amount of aliasing along the front of the brim. Most of the aliasing subsides on the second side of the disc with only a single instance at 7:17, again on a sword, being particularly bad. There are also numerous film artefacts scattered across both sides of the disc, and appearing in both white and black varieties. While many are fairly obvious, they are quite infrequent, and do not really detract from the transfer.

    From the sample of subtitles that I took, they are word-for-word accurate, while remaining easy to read and well paced.

    This is a FLIPPER disc with Side A ending at 53:24. While this placement is on a scene change, it does seem somewhat sudden due to the context of the scene that precursors the end of the side.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer presented here is very good, although it does not stand up to quite the same quality as many recent surround tracks.

    There are three audio tracks present on this disc, being the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 384 Kbps), with French and Italian dubs in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround (at 192 Kbps).

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times. Effects sound and score music never affected the dialogue, and there were no instances of distortion or any other audio problems with the dialogue.

    There were a few instances where audio sync was not correct, such as between 42:08 and 42:40, but they were restricted to sequences where all the dialogue would have been looped, so it is most likely a source issue.

    The score for this film is provided by Michael Kamen, and as those who have read a few of my reviews would know, I am not the biggest fan of his work. This score is pretty much a direct follow up to his work on Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, right down to the working in of a Bryan Adams song (All For Love this time), and - as with Michael Wincott's performance - the two could easily be switched and no-one would be the wiser. In the end, it does its job, but is a little too bold and attention-grabbing for my liking.

    The surround usage is good, but is restricted almost entirely to score and directional effects. The use of split surround is very good and quite noticeable during this movie, but when there is no action, almost all ambient noise comes from the front surrounds only. The almost constant score means that the rears are almost constantly in use as well, but it does give the whole film a slightly "artificial" feel - more like you are watching a movie in the front with an orchestra playing behind you.

    The use of the subwoofer is, while not constant, quite common. It gives a very good kick to the extensive action sequences, and provides a nice addition to the soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Ah...extras. Well, if you believe the back cover blurb, they would include the menu, chapter selections and the languages. Anything else? No, not even a trailer. This disc has the movie and only the movie.

Menu

    Static, 16x9 enhanced, and only displaying after the movie has finished, this menu is not likely to get an enormous amount of use. It is themed around the movie, however.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     It is worth keeping in mind that although the R1 is only single-sided, it is also only single layered. This is a tough choice, but in the end, a 2.35:1 NTSC transfer that is not enhanced is never going to compare to that of an enhanced PAL transfer, so I will give this to our disc.

Summary

    The Three Musketeers is a good fun movie presented on a bare-bones flipper disc with a very good transfer. Certainly worth checking out if you don't mind getting up to flip the disc mid-way through the movie.

    The video quality is very good, although there is a lot of aliasing present. Most of the problems subside on the second side of the disc.

    The audio quality is also very good, but the surround channels are really only used for score and directional sound effects - don't expect any ambient noise.

    There are no extras at all. Not even one.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Sunday, April 28, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
And to top it off... - Werner
Uggghh - Kaiser Soze (I'm not stupid. You're not interested. But my bio is here anyway)
Subtitles on automatically on side one? -