The Three Musketeers appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. No problems materialized during this fine presentation.
Sharpness was solid. At all times, the flick exhibited strong definition and suffered from no notable instances of softness. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes remained minor. Source flaws were absent.
Like many period pieces, colors tended toward a somewhat golden feel. That wasn’t an overwhelming tint, though, so the film still boasted a variety of rich hues; in particular, reds looked rich and full. Overall color reproduction worked nicely and seemed dynamic. Blacks were deep and dense, while shadows appeared clear and appropriately opaque. Across the board, the image satisfied.
Though it boasted a loud, active DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, the audio wasn’t quite as positive. The main issue stemmed from the quality of the sound, as the track came with some concerns. In particular, speech could be a problem; the lines occasionally showed a distant feel that could make dialogue hard to understand. This wasn’t a terrible issue, but it created some distractions along the way.
In addition, the soundfield could be a bit too active, and the elements didn’t always blend together tremendously well. I got the impression the sound designers felt they had to crank things to 11 to add the film’s “kapow factor”, and this meant the mix tended to be overwhelming. Yes, it was big and bold, but the audio could overwhelm the action and stand out in an unnatural way.
Still, the soundscape could add pizzazz to the adventure when it backed down a bit and didn’t try to batter us. To be sure, the five channels got a good workout, and the track could impress; it just lacked the consistency I’d like.
Except for the speech, audio quality worked well. Music was bold and dynamic, and effects seemed clean and concise. The mix boasted strong bass response that packed a good punch. The flaws made this a “B-“ mix, though, as the minor concerns kept it from a strongly above-average rating.
When we shift to the Blu-ray’s extras, we launch with an audio commentary from director Paul WS Anderson and producers Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzer. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They discuss story/character/script topics, cast and performances, sets and locations, action and stunts, various effects, music, influences and inspirations, period details/realism, costumes and cinematography, and some other areas.
The three men found here have worked together for a while and met up for a mix of commentaries. That familiarity helps add some comfort to the track, though it doesn’t ensure a particularly memorable piece. While we learn a reasonable amount about the movie, the track can be spotty due to slow spots and gaps. That said, it ends up as a competent and usually informative piece.
Footnote: someone needs to tell Anderson that Amy Adams had nothing to do with the recent Sherlock Holmes movies; I guess he confused her with Rachel McAdams.
Called Access: Three Musketeers, an interactive component pops up next. This covers six domains that look at cast, characters and performances, text trivia about the novel, history and other areas, visual design and sets, stunts and action, shooting 3D, and costumes/period details.
In the video clips, we hear from Anderson, Bolt, production designer Paul Denham Austerberry, stunt coordinator/2nd unit director Nick Powell, costume designer Pierre-Yves Gayraud and actors Matthew Macfadyen, Milla Jovovich, Luke Evans, Ray Stevenson, Logan Lerman, Mads Mikkelsen, Christoph Waltz, Freddie Fox, Gabriella Wild, James Corden, Orlando Bloom and Juno Temple. A “Musketeer Fight Meter” also provides a chart that tracks the assaults waged by the various musketeers.
Though it occasionally repeats info from the commentary, “Access” adds a lot of good new notes. We see useful footage from the shoot and get a nice take on the history involved. The “Meter” is useless but also painless, so it’s only a minor distraction. Overall, “Access” provides a quality addition to the set.
Note that “Access” comes with a much more user-friendly interface than most picture-in-picture programs. Not only does it tell you how long you need to wait for the next component to appear, but also it lets you easily skip ahead or back. This allows the viewer to zip through the piece with much less tedium and fuss than usual.
Four featurettes follow. We find Paul WS Anderson’s Musketeers (2:30), Orlando Bloom Takes on the Duke (1:59), 17th Century Air Travel (2:20) and Uncovering France in Germany (2:42). Across these, we hear from Anderson, Temple, Evans, Fox, Jovovich, Stevenson, and Bloom. These look at Anderson’s take on the story and situations, Bloom’s character and performance, sets, effects, and locations.
If you watched “Access”, these snippets will look familiar, as all of them appear there. Why are these on their own? I have no idea. If the Blu-ray made all of the “Access” video clips available in a separate place, that’d make sense, but it seems strange to do this for only a handful of them. Watch them if you don’t want to bother with “Access”, but otherwise they’re redundant.
12 Deleted and Extended Scenes fill a total of 14 minutes, 18 seconds. Almost all of these fall into the “extended” category and offer minor added character tidbits. Nothing crucial appears in them, and they don’t do anything to alter our impressions of any of the roles. Some of them are mildly fun but not more than that. Only two actual full deleted scenes show up; they’re also brief and unmemorable.
In a nice touch, when you watch the extended scenes, a marker lets you know what parts show the new footage.
The disc opens with ads for Man on a Ledge and The Darkest Hour. No trailer for Musketeers pops up here.
While no one seems likely to label 2011’s The Three Musketeers as the worst telling of that particular tale, it also appears unlikely to top any lists. The movie delivers enough action to become sporadically exciting, but it lacks the consistency to turn into anything truly memorable. The Blu-ray comes with excellent visuals, erratic audio and a reasonably good set of supplements. Three Musketeers gives us a competent action flick but not something I can strongly recommend.