I’ve been looking forward to the web-series The First Musketeer since I first head about the project a couple of years ago. In October 2013, I did a fun, little Q&A with the cast and crew of the series. And finally June 1 came around and the series was released.
The First Musketeer is a prequel to The Three Musketeers, set around six years before Alexandre Dumas’ novel. It’s an origin story for the Athos, Porthos and Aramis, and uses the back stories provided throughout Dumas’ books to track back in time to when the Three Inseparables first met.
We meet Athos, drunk off his mind, and without much hope or life in him. It’s clear from the get-go that his marriage with Milady has already run it’s course and he has already attempted to murder his wife. An unfortunate situation brings him to meet Ghislain and Lazare — two veteran soldiers and former Guardsmen for King Henry IV– and eventually Porthos. The four men stumble across a plot to overthrow King Louis XIII; the only man with the skill to move the political pieces and save the king is a young Richelieu (then the Bishop of Luçon). The two young swordsmen and their older counter-parts are tasked with retrieving Richelieu and escort him to Paris. But assassins lurk around every corner.
Overall, this is a fun little web-series that runs a little more than an hour long in total. The fight scenes are well done and exciting (the brawl between the Duc de Luynes and three masked assassins is my fav of the series). The costumes are gorgeously designed (I want Athos’ doublet). The Easter egg jokes (such as a skinny Porthos saying he’ll never gain a pound) are nice nods to Dumas’s novels. And it always helps to get that feel of authenticity when shooting on-location at historical chateaus in France.
We get a few short clips of Athos having nightmares of his assumed dead wife that were well shot and edited. Sometimes those scenes can feel forced or awkward, but in this case they help show Athos’s torment and why he buries himself in the bottom of wine bottles. Similarly to Dumas, The First Musketeer has also used real historical events to inspire the adventures that the four men go on. In this case, the rise of Richelieu to power after his banishment.
This cast and crew put a lot of heart and soul to do Dumas’ original novels justice, and write a suitable and enjoyable origin story. I think they’ve done just that, especially considering the budget restrictions of an indie web-series.
I recommend The First Musketeer to my fellow Musketeer fans, folks who enjoy swashbuckling and historical-adventure movies, and people who like to see indie movies done well.
For more swashbuckling adventure, check out HONOR AMONG THIEVES by J.M. Aucoin, available in Kindle and paperback June 30th.