The Three Musketeers appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. As one might expect from a new Disney project, the picture looked solid.
Sharpness seemed very positive. At all times, the movie remained detailed and concise. No significant examples of softness or ill-defined images appeared in this tight and firm presentation. Jagged edges and moiré effects appeared absent, and I noticed no signs of edge enhancement. In regard to print flaws, I noticed none, as the movie looked clean and fresh from start to finish.
Musketeers presented a bright and moderately cartoony palette. The colors consistently looked solid. Throughout the program, the hues came across as lively and tight. Black levels appeared deep and firm, with appropriately dark and rich material. Low-light images were concisely displayed and tight, with no excessive opacity. Overall, Musketeers gave us a fine presentation.
While not up to the level of the visuals, the soundtracks of The Three Musketeers also seemed satisfying. The film provided both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 mixes, and I couldn’t discern any substantial differences between the pair. The DTS version sounded louder, but in regard to quality, they came across as virtually identical.
The soundfield maintained a noticeable bias toward the front speakers, and it displayed decent spread and imaging there. Music showed nice stereo separation, and a lot of environmental and other specific effects cropped up from the sides. The soundfield showed a good level of activity and made the front domain reasonably lively. Surround usage was relatively minor, though the movie enjoyed some active moments. For the most part, the rear speakers simply reinforced the front ones, but periodic instances of unique audio cropped up from the rear. For example, during a carriage ride, hoof beats appeared neatly in the surrounds, as did the trickling of water in a river sequence. These added decent dimensionality but no more.
Audio quality appeared solid. Speech came across as natural and concise, and I noticed no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Music sounded fairly tight and brisk, with good dynamic range evident. Effects also seemed clean and accurate, and they could provide some nice low-end response when appropriate. Although the audio of Musketeers didn’t excel in any particular way, it still worked well for the material.
A smattering of supplements rounds out the set. A selection of Deleted Scenes opens the extras. We find four of them, and they run a total of four minutes, 55 seconds. These include an alternate introduction and more with the narrator. There’s a little more about romantic tension between Donald and Daisy, but none of these bits seem terribly interesting. One of these comes in story reel form, one other is finished, and the other two are rough animation. We can watch these with or without commentary from Disneytoons Studios Vice President Brian Snedeker. He gives us basic notes about the clips and why they got the boot.
In the area marked “Music & More”, we find two components. A music video for “Three Is a Magic Number”. It seems like a stretch to call it a “music video”, as it just intercuts movie clips with shots of an unnamed boy band goofing around and recording in the studio. Bleh. Disney’s Song Selection basically acts as an alternate form of chapter menu. It lets you jump to any of the film’s seven song performances, and it also allows you to show on-screen lyrics.
Inside “Games & Activities” we get two more pieces. Opera-Toon-Ity lets you pick from a variety of options to stage your own little opera. It’s too simplistic to be much fun, as the choices are very limited. The Many Hats of Mickey is more informative than anything else. It presents nine different forms of headwear donned by Mickey throughout the years; select one to hear a little about the work in question and see a snippet from that piece. It’s a cute introduction to the Mouse’s history.
When we move to “Backstage Disney”, we get two more elements. Get the Scoop runs nine minutes, 36 seconds as it presents a featurette. Hosted by Monica Lee, it presents movie clips and interviews with Snedeker, producer Margot Pipkin, director Donovan Cook, art director Bob Kline, story artist Kirk Hanson, editor Bret Marnell, music senior VP Matt Walker, and lyricist Chris Otsuki. They chat about the development of the project and the story, animating the sword fighting, the visual look of the characters, selecting a villain, and the flick’s musical style. Much of the time the participants pretend that Mickey, Donald and Goofy are real, which gets silly quickly. A few good tidbits emerge along the way, though, and it’s cool to see Hanson’s presentation of the storyboards. Ultimately, it’s a fluffy but moderately informative program.
The Cast Commentary offers Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Pete as they chat about one scene. We see the segment in which we first meet the adult versions of those characters as janitors in this five-minute and five-second snippet. For an in-character commentary, this one seems decent. It’s cute but not more than that.
Inside the Sneak Peeks area we get some ads. We find promos for Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas, Home on the Range, Aladdin, Lion King II, Mulan, Disney’s House of Mouse, Disney’s Magical Quest 2, and Disney’s “Princess “ toy line. If you use the “FastPlay” option at the start, some of these ads run automatically.
And what exactly is “FastPlay”, you ask? As described in a flyer with the package, the “DVD starts up automatically” and “plays the movie plus a selection of bonus materials without using your remote.” I guess this is nice for kids or the extremely lazy, but I’d never use it.
With The Three Musketeers, we get a fairly ordinary program. There’s nothing bad about it per se, but nothing to make it particularly interesting either. I suppose it’s a telling comment that at one point I accidentally typed The Three Mediocres as the movie’s title. The DVD presents very good picture quality along with satisfying sound and a small roster of supplements. Musketeers certainly beats the more insipid entries in Disney’s direct-to-video catalogue, but it lacks the spark and charm of the top ones.