Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Three Musketeers & Man in the Iron Mask

Digging into my movie collection I find that there are a lot of historical adventure type movies. I have a weak spot for swashbuckling adventure in a simpler time.

Of those that I enjoy the most would be a pair of movies that were never meant to be a series, but they end up being so when I watch them. These two movies are Disney’s Three Musketeers and Man in the Iron Mask. Both take on the French novel legends at different times in their lives.

The Three Musketeers (1993) is a story about d’Artagnan meeting up with the Three Musketeers Aramis, Athos and Porthos to fulfil his dream of becoming a Musketeer. The Musketeers are disbanded by the plot of Cardinal Richelieu and now branded outlaws with their new friend, the Musketeers fight for King and Country. All for One and One for All!

Disney’s take deviates from the original novelization, but comes as close as I could hope Hollywood dares. It is a fun charming and amusing tale with plenty of one liners, lots of action and adventure for all.

The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) catches up with the Musketeers after their retirement and the young d’Artagnon is now captain of the Musketeers. The King is dead and his young heir Louis XIV has his own interests at heart and ignores the needs of his country. In a dangerous plot, the retired Musketeers reunite for one last adventure to swap the king with his twin brother - the man in the Iron Mask.

This movie is more serious in tone and though it has its amusing moments, it is not as light hearted and comedic as the movie I place as its prequel.

So why tie these movies together when they were never intended as a series, and in fact were created by two different studios? Because they work together.

The plots work well against each other leaving little to no conflict. It is almost as though they meant it. The only outstanding detail is when the older musketeers in Iron Mask are about to enter the final conflict, Athos states that they should wear the old black uniforms of their glory days. In the Three Musketeers, Disney changed the uniforms to a more family friendly blue. Only the badguy wears black.

If you haven’t seen these movies yet, I encourage you to.

And watch them like they belong together. They do on my dvd shelf.


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