Movie Review: THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK (20th Anniversary Edition) Blu-ray

THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK is based on the novel “The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later”
by Alexandre Dumas. The movie was written and directed by Randall Wallace and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Gérard Depardieu, Gabriel Byrne and Anne Parillaud.

For the honor of the crown and the destiny of a country, four heroes must reassemble for one last epic battle in this thrilling tale of majesty and Musketeers. Louis XIII, King of France, had a son, Louis, who succeeded his father to the throne. But, known to very few, the heir had a twin brother, Philippe, hidden away after birth and forced to languish in prison, his identity unknown behind an iron mask. His brother, now grown and King Louis XIV, proved to be both corrupt and a tyrant. Louis sends Athos’ son, Raoul off to certain death in war, so that he could have his woman for himself. Athos, together with two of the other Musketeers, Porthos and Aramis, swear revenge. Only D’Artagnan remains loyal to the crown, but will he join his former compatriots to free Philippe from prison, kill the king, and put Philippe on the throne in his place?

This 1998 action drama follows Athos (John Malkovich), Aramis (Jeremy Irons) and Porthos (Gérard Depardieu), the three aging Musketeers who come up with a plan to replace King Louis XIV (Leonardo DiCaprio) after he causes the death of the son of Athos. Louis has already become a tyrant of sorts and now Athos has declared vengeance on him so the trio comes up with a risky plan because he discovers a masked prisoner that’s rumored to be the king’s twin brother. Standing in their way is D’Artagnan (Gabriel Byrne) who’s loyal to King Louis but he was once a Musketeer so there’s also some loyalty to his heroic brothers.

The thing about Louis and Philippe (also played by Leonardo DiCaprio) is that they look exactly alike but the two brothers are completely different when it comes to their personalities because one is a spoiled monster and the other is a humbled man. What happens is, they make the swap but things don’t go as smoothly as they’d planned but the Musketeers are willing to risk their lives to free the masked prisoner and give him a shot at the crown that he so rightfully deserves. In the end, a trade is made because Phillipe takes on the role as king and Louis is given the iron mask to wear.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/0-card. The front features the all-new artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some original artwork and movie credits so you have your pick of which side you’d like to use for the front cover. The Blu-ray disc also features its own individual artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. Scream Factory has given the movie a stunning 4K scan from original camera negative. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition upgrade were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, it had been a long time since I’d watched The Man in the Iron Mask and I enjoyed revisiting this dramatic action-adventure about the classic tale. The story about these aging Musketeers is fascinating because we’ve always seen them in their prime in other movies so watching the trio (and their brother in arms) do whatever it takes to make this swap is captivating. The cast is definitely the best part about the movie and they all did a great job with their characters. Leo does double duty as Louis and Philippe and these two characters couldn’t be any more different from one another. The movie has a little action in it but it’s more of a dramatic period piece than anything else and there are some emotional moments in it because of what all happens. There have been three movies made about this story over the years but this one from first time director Randall Wallace is the only one I’ve had the opportunity to watch and I thought he delivered a well executed movie that has ultimately become a cult classic. The Man in the Iron Mask will be available on a 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray on October 9th and is the latest classic to join the impressive Shout Select lineup.

Distributor: Shout! Factory

Run Time: 132 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: Good Stuff! The extras include two new interviews, some audio commentary, three vintage featurettes. an alternate mask prototypes spotlight and the theatrical trailer.

  • NEW Interview with producer Paul Hitchcock (18:41)
  • NEW interview with production designer Anthony Pratt (08:09)
  • Audio commentary by writer/director  Randall Wallace
  • “Myth and The Musketeers” featurette (07:34)
  • “Director’s Take” featurette (29:11)
  • Original behind-the-scenes featurette (04:45)
  • Alternate mask prototypes (02:01)
  • Theatrical trailer (03:04)

 

 

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