The First Musketeer – review of the webseries (spoilers – series embeded)

the-first-musketeer-official-poster-1The First Musketeer went live on YouTube on 1st June 2015.

This is an original webseries based on characters created by Alexander Dumas in his novels. It tells the story of Athos on first arriving in Paris and how he came to be among the company of the men we know so well as the Three Musketeers, pre d’Artagnan.

I first came aware of the series some time ago through one of the stars, Charles Barrett. I know Charles through his work with Atkinson Action Horses, mostly due to them appearing regularly at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

I’ve previously reviewed a film, Of Knights and Knaves, starring Michael Collin from Atkinson Action Horses and of course you may have heard of them due to their film & TV work, such as Poldark. With Charles being in the film I was bound to want to check it out. 

You can read two interviews that I have done regarding this film series, the first with Writer/Director Harriet Sams the second with Jessica Preddy and Edward Mitchell who portray Mi’Lady De Winter and Athos respectively.

The film is in 6 parts and is embedded below as a playlist. There are a few spoilers below so I’d advise anyone that hasn’t watched the full film to do so first.

You can find out more about the film on their Facebook Page and follow them on Twitter

Firstly, and in some way a further buffer for spoilers, I’m slightly disappointed this wasn’t released weekly, or perhaps daily, as a series. I do understand that many internet users don’t return to watch a series but I would have done so. In my case as all the episodes were released on the same day I would have preferred a single hour long view.

That really is a minor gripe though and I understand many others like to break up their viewing online and are likely to return to a series when they know that all parts are available.

The story starts with an injured Athos arriving in Paris and meeting Lazare and Ghislain and in true Dumas fashion make friends through an initial bad encounter. In the second episode we meet Porthos, a penniless man faking it in Paris as a gentleman.

Throughout the story Athos has dreams and visions of a beautiful lady who is seemingly the cause for his injury we see him with at the start of the story.

The four find themselves embroiled in a mystery and serve the Duke de Luynes, a historical character who was a close confidant of King Louis XIII, who uses them in a clandestine job. He sends them to bring the Bishop of Lucon back to Paris. Again a historical character who was indeed recalled to Paris by the King and the Duke de Luynes. The Bishop may be better known to you by his later title, Cardinal Richelieu.

The costume and locations are marvelous. Filmed on location in France and with much of the costume made for the project to period design the look of the film is brilliant. There are snatches of French partly heard that then become English as we the watcher are transported in to the film, this then removes the need for French accents and we hear British accents in their place.

Acting and direction all goes together to give a smooth and believable portrayal of the characters. I particularly liked the easy nature between Lazare and Ghislain who serve in this story the more paternal than fraternal relationship with Athos that Athos, Porthos and Aramis share with d’Artagnan when we first meet him in the Dumas stories.

Sound levels are excellent and the atmospheric soundtrack and sound effects add depth to the film. Lighting is also very well judged. These areas can often detract from even a well made film, not so here. Similarly the edits are smooth and I’ve often complained about edits when watching a professional TV show or Film.

A thoroughly enjoyable film and I hope that as this is billed as the first season that we get to see more. If you read my Interview with Harriet Sams you will know that further stories have indeed been plotted out.

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