BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Three Musketeers 3D
The special effects laden retelling of a classic hits home video...
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Originally written in 1844 by Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers is a classic swashbuckling tale of adventure set in the Paris in the 17th century. The story tells the tale of the young d'Artagnan, who leaves his home to join the Musketeers of the Guard. D'Artagnan soon finds himself surrounded by a trio of Musketeer warriors - Athos, Porthos, and Aramis - who must face France's enemies and, with the help of d'Artagnan, save the country from treachery and deceit.
While this new film features every impressive new special effect, gorgeous character and costume designs, impressive sets, and plenty of CGI goodness, the special effects-laden 3D extravaganza that is The Three Musketeers 3D features little of the original story's character, drama, or engaging development. Of course there's plenty of sword-slashing action, what would a Musketeer movie be without that? But gone is the engaging character development and exciting espionage. Shallow and somewhat lacking in any real relevance and featuring somewhat amateur acting (even with a cast of characters that includes some quality members), The Three Musketeers 3D sails on it's technical merits alone.
The visuals are no doubt impressive with the film's 1080p picture gorgeously showing us every bit of detail we expect. Likewise, the 3D video impresses, though the film sometimes seems to emphasize the big bang over substance. Sure there's plenty of shrapnel and swords jutting forth from the screen and the depth during wide shots and hallway scenes looks great, but the 3D never really seems to come to life and be utilized in a way that's rewarding to the film's overall development. Of course, the film itself is more flash than substance so it's not really unexpected.
The audio is top notch thanks to a rewarding DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound track, which delivers plenty of explosions, crashing steel, rushing water, and rolling thunder across the full range of speakers. Dialogue remains consistent while the music and soundtrack deliver plenty of mood and excitement. All around impressive, the audio helps engage viewers in a way the story unfortuantely can't.
As for special features, the 2-disc set includes both a 3D hi-def version of the film as well as a regular hi-def version of the film. Other special features include an audio commentary with director/producer Paul W.S. Anderson and producers Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzer in which the trio discuss everything from the reinvented story and digital effects to set design, and casting; "Access: Three Musketeers," a picture-in-picture bonus which gives viewers "access" to behind-the-scenes info; a short, 2-minute "Paul W.S. Anderson's Musketeers," in which cast and crew discuss this next generation adaptation of the classic; the 2-minute "Orlando Bloom Takes on the Duke," which focuses on one of the film's biggest stars; the 2-minute "17th Century Air Travel," which shows Anderson discussing the actual creation of the film's war machine; the 2-minute "Uncovering France in Germany," which focuses on the film's shooting locale of Bavaria, and a variety of deleted and extended scenes. As one can see, there are a lot of short, 2-minute bonus features which seems - like the film's story - a bit hallow and lackluster. For those looking for quality bonus material, the real winners here are the "Access: Three Musketeers" and the audio commentary.
While it may sound like I don't recommend watching The Three Musketeers 3D, the film is actually well worth watching...if you're a fan of action. The Three Musketeers 3D features plenty of eye candy and should be a must-see for those fans who simply love to zone out for 2 hours and watch nothing but action and aventure. From the variety of impressive stunts and aerial dynamics to its interesting (and totally inaccurate) 17th century hand-to-hand combat, The Three Musketeers 3D is - in a nut shell - a romp 'em, stomp 'em adventure flick that you'll soon forget but love every second of the way.
The Three Musketeers 3D is available now wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley