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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Comedy > Swords > Literature > British TV > The Musketeers (2014/BBC Blu-ray)

The Musketeers (2014/BBC Blu-ray)

Picture: B Sound: B Extras: B Episodes: C

Ready for some good ole' fashioned swordfighting? Angry disputes over card games? Beautiful women needed saved from adventurous peril? Brotherly bonding to defeat the forces of evil? Then you are looking for The Musketeers - a well produced BBC miniseries that brings the classic literary tale to life with a decent lineup of actors (Luke Pasqualino, Tom Burke, Howard Charles, Santiago Cabrera) to portray the Musketeers. Set in 1630 Paris, D'Artagnan, Athos, Aramis and Porthos are a group of highly trained musketeers who fight to protect the King and Country and are commanded by Captain Treville. Witty, charming, smart, and inseparable, the four Musketeers fight to maintain order against the dastardly reign of Cardinal Richelieu (Peter Capaldi) and his beautiful hired Assassin. (There's also an appearance by actor Vinnie Jones in Episode 8 if you are a fan of his work.) In short, the network decided that since Sherlock worked that they would (hopefully) have some luck with this literary series.

The show itself is nothing too special, probably why there hasn't been a whole lot of buzz about it lately. I feel that this story has been remade so many times that unless you really put a crazy spin on the time setting or the characters themselves that it feels like already explored territory. The set pieces and the look of the show is fine but the plot is rather predictable and the dialogue at times weak. It does take some liberties with its source material but not nearly as much so as Paul W.S. Anderson's Hollywood version that came out a few years ago in 3D (reviewed elsewhere on this site, you didn't miss anything by not seeing it. This is also not to be confused with Peter Hyams' The Musketeer, a title in the singular).

This release from BBC however is an exceptional presentation - containing all ten original episodes in high definition including the episodes Friends and Enemies, Sleight of Hand, Commodities, The Good Soldier, Homecoming, The Exiles, A Rebellious Woman, The Challenge, Knight Takes Queen, and Musketeers Don't Die Easily.

The 1080p 16x9 high definition transfer is pretty crisp and sharp throughout. (BBC definitely delivers when it comes to picture and sound presentation.) The DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo lossless track sounds fine and dwarfs its original broadcast presentation. English SDH are also available. Total Running Time for the first season is 578 minutes.

Extras on the disc are Creating Their World, Bootcamp, Muskets, Leather, Corsets and Swords, and Saving Constance: Their Finest Hour.

The show isn't terrible but certainly isn't as entertaining as Game of Thrones. However, if you are a fan of the original story then this update may be worth checking out.

- James Harland Lockhart V



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