Oct 062018
 

The Man in the Iron Mask is a well made adventure film featuring solid performances, namely Gabriel Byrne and Jeremy Irons and fairly impressive for being screenwriter Randall Wallace’s directorial debut.

 

 

The Man in the Iron Mask
(1998)

Genre(s): Adventure, Drama, Thriller
Shout Factory | PG13 – 132 min. – $34.93 | October 9, 2018

Date Published: 10/06/2018 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Randall Wallace
Writer(s): Alexandre Dumas (novel); Randall Wallace (written for the screen)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Gerard Depardieu, Gabriel Byrne, Anne Parillaud, Judith Godreche, Edward Atterton, Peter Sarsgaard, Hugh Laurie
DISC INFO:
Features: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, Interviews, Theatrical Trailer
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 43.1 GB
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Shout Factory provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


THE MOVIE — 3.75/5


Plot Synopsis: The former musketeer Athos (JOHN MALKOVICH) swears vengeance after despotic King Louis XIV (LEONARDO DICAPRIO) causes the death of his son (PETER SARSGAARD). Summoning his old comrades Porthos (GERARD DEPARDIEU) and Aramis (JEREMY IRONS), he hatches a plan to liberate a shackled prisoner rumored to be the king’s twin brother, and then install him on the throne. But the three musketeers must also contend with their old friend D’Artagnan (GABRIEL BYRNE), who has remained in the king’s service.

Quick Hit Review: I’ve heard of The Man in the Iron Mask and knew about this 1998 adaptation but for one reason or another, never had watched the movie before, perhaps because the swashbuckling type of movies aren’t generally appealing (also why I haven’t seen many of the other Musketeer movies either). But color me surprised, this was a pretty damn entertaining movie. While it doesn’t feature some of the strongest acting from Leonardo DiCaprio or John Malkovich, it was mostly saved from a compelling story and fine performances by Jeremy Irons and Gabriele Byrne, with Gerard Depardieu having a hell of a time in a much more of a comedic of the five main roles.

The film was written for the screen and directed by Randall Wallace, likely parlaying his Academy Award win for Braveheart, and it was stylish with the 17th century setting, and although a tad long with its 130-minute running time, still was an enjoyable experience. Strangely, Wallace’s directing career has been limited with only four films to his name, the last coming four years ago. But here, I thought he did some nice work, especially in his directorial debut.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.25/5


This release comes with a matted slip cover and the inner cover is reversible revealing the film’s original poster artwork.

Audio Commentary – Writer/Director Randall Wallace dissects his directorial debut and while not terribly lively, he does provide some very informative information on the production. Probably could’ve used someone else in the room to fill in the dead spots, but still not a bad track.

Interviews:

  • Producer Paul Hitchcock (18:41) talks about his involvement in the production and came late into the game while it was filming following the firing of the previous producer (Rene Dupont), which Hitchcock had to do himself as he discovered upon his arrival. Also delves into specifics like the budget, schedule, hot/rainy Paris weather, et al.
  • Production Designer Anthony Pratt (8:09) discusses his role in the production, how he came aboard (via the aforementioned Dupont) and his approach to designing the sets.

Featurettes:

  • Myth and the Musketeers (7:34) is an archive featurette on the classic characters and their basis from the novels with interviews by scholars.
  • Director’s Take (29:11) is a production featurette with behind-the-scenes footage and old interviews with Randall Wallace discussing his directorial debut.
  • Original Behind the Scenes Featurette (4:45), made only as advertisement with trailer voice man.
  • Alternate Mask Prototypes (2:01) is more or less a gallery showing different versions of the mask with Wallace voicing over on how the final concept was created.

Theatrical Trailer (3:04; HD)

 


VIDEO – 4.5/5


Shout Factory releases The Man Behind the Iron Mask giving it a new 1080p transfer culled from a 4K scan of the original camera negative, presented with a 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio. Normally I can be underwhelmed by some of Shout’s transfers for these catalogue titles but this one was rather impressive with sharp detail throughout and some brilliant looking colors, such as the gold/yellow and red in the costumes to the lush greenery. I did not notice any apparent dust marks, scratches, aliasing or banding making this a wonderful looking transfer.

AUDIO – 4.0/5


The disc comes with the choice of either a 5.1 (default) or 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks. The former does sound quite nice providing both clear dialogue levels via the center channel with some decent depth for the soundtrack as well as the more swashbuckling sequences, particularly the scene at the end.

 


OVERALL – 4.0/5


Overall, The Man in the Iron Mask is a well made adventure film featuring solid performances, namely Gabriel Byrne and Jeremy Irons and fairly impressive for being screenwriter Randall Wallace’s directorial debut, following up with his Academy Award winning screenplay for Braveheart. This “Collector’s Edition” Blu-ray from Shout Factory, as part of their “Shout Select” series (#49) offers up great video and audio transfers and an alright selection of bonus features.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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