|Three Musketeers, The (3D/2D) (2011)|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Monday, 12 March 2012|
“The Three Musketeers” is predictable from beginning to end. In fact, I was floored by the amount of dialogue in the opening that was carbon copy that of the Disney version. I simply couldn’t believe. You could literally take the pages of the Disney version and apply the new actors and come up with the first act of this new musketeers’ film. Eventually the film moves into more of its own, but it never reaches beyond anything but a façade.
What the film does have going for it is a highly stylized and detail portrayal of Paris. The set design is intricate and the cinematography is unique. Bringing airships into the story is another first. Those things aside the film is a bit of a snoozer. The final act has some great action sequences, but they ultimately are anti-climatic and serve to only position the characters where we already knew they would end up.
The Three Musketeers saga has never really gained much popularity in terms of great filmmaking. Alas, this newest revival is not going to change that fact.
“The Three Musketeers” receives a 3D/2D combo Blu-ray release. Yes, this film is native 3D. So, needless to say I was quite anxious to view this 3D title. Pleasantly, this is one of the better 3D transfers that I have encounter in a well. Nevertheless, it does fall short of magnificent. First, the 2D transfer is marvelous. The blacks are inky and the vibrancy of the overall image is truly astonishing. Colors are warm and accurate for the style. Contrast and brightness match each other nicely and details are fairly extraordinary, with only minor crushing in the blacks and some loss in shadow delineation. The 3D transfer does retain much of the 2D transfer’s prowess. Still, it falls blunder to the luminosity issue. The 3D image is a bit darker than the original presentation and the vibrancy gets lost. That being said, the 3D image delivers a lot of depth, but not some much in terms of eye-popping screen effects. Occasionally some swords swipe out from the screen or a cannonball may shoot past you. All happens very quickly and leaves you no time to fully gauge and appreciate the 3D nature. While, I love testing out 3D, this may be a film that is better suited by its 2D transfer in terms of technical prowess. It is hard to weigh, but the gain from the 3D depth is not quite enough to overtake the vibrancy of the 2D image.
The audio may seem truly magnificent the first time you hear it. However, be forewarned of its disguising nature. The cannonball sequences in the airships have tremendous impact. There is some great sound design and mixing going on there. However, the rest of the film is a bit uneven. While none of this has to do with the Blu-ray audio track per say, the original elements of the audio track must be noted. The dialogue lacks prioritization. Words and lines are routinely lost among the sound effects and the score. The balance between the score and sound effects is also a bit tough to wrangle. All in all, the audio track lacks consistency and transparency. The surround channels have some great material but they can lack great directionality and panning. Most of you will be struck by the dynamics and power of the overall audio track, but the finer details are severely lacking.
As mentioned already the package comes with 2 discs, a Blu-ray 3D copy and a standard Blu-ray disc. All special features are located on the 2D disc.
There is an audio commentary with the director and the producers. There are many topics covered here which will please fans interested enough in actually listening to a commentary. “Paul W.S. Anderson’s Musketeers” is a discussion on the origins of the story. “Orlando Bloom Takes On The Duke” is self-explanatory. “17th Century Air Travel” discusses the inclusion of the airships. “Access: Three Musketeers” is a PiP feature with a wealth of information. “Uncovering France In Germany” is about location shooting. Lastly there are some deleted and extended scenes totaling about 14 minutes.
“The Three Musketeers” has some great 2D video and 3D effects. And while the audio is a bit messy, this is still a technically competent transfer. I can’t recommend this title for the film but 3D enthusiasts may find it worthwhile.