The Three Musketeers
By Bret Dorman
Complaint: Wah, they are doing another version of The Three Musketeers!
Complaint: Wahhh, this version is directed by Paul W.S. Anderson!
Complaint: WAHHH, they have steampunk flying ships in this version!!!
Solution: Get over it.
Solution: Get over it.
Solution: Get over it.
Okay, so the story is a little more involved than just The Musketeers saving the day and perhaps more convoluted than it needs to be.
Here is a run down of the characters:
Athos (Matthew Macfadyen) – He is the ‘leader’ of The Musketeers. Most the movie you will spend trying to figure out who he is if you don’t already know until one point (for me it was near the end when he was drolling on about ‘the plan’) you realize that he is the ‘annoying guy’ from Shaun of the Dead.
Pathos (Ray Stevenson) – He is the one in The Musketeers who wears the skull on his chest and brutally kills everyone. Wait…
Aramis (Luke Evans) – He is the religious one of The Musketeers. He kind of looks like Orlando Bloom which is weird because Orlando Bloom is in this movie.
Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) – He is a bad guy who for whatever reason decides what is cool in the fashion realm by choosing a color.
D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) – He wants to be a musketeer and upon setting off onto an adventure immediately challenges four people to death. He is a punk rocker in a cute Disney sort of way.
Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) – He secretly controls The King and is a bad man. He basically plays The Jew Hunter but with not nearly as good material.
King Louie XIII (Freddie Fox) – He is a very effeminate man who wants to dress fancy and be in style. Oh, and he likes women?
Constance Bonacieux (Gabriella Wilde) – Is supposed to be a love interest to D’Artagnan.
Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen) – Captain of the guards to The Cardinal. He is very good at fighting but not against The Musketeers. He gets yelled at a lot.
Milady (Milla Jovovich) – Is some sort of mercenary spy who is really good at stealth and fighting and seduction and plays everyone against each other and is extremely beautiful. <3.
Okay, so all these people are sometimes friends and sometimes enemies. The plot sorts itself out.
The opening sets this up as 'not your average Three Musketeers' movie as they are very clearly Gen-Y video game characters doing cool things with extremely made up weapons. I'm all for giving The Musketeers as modern makeover of sorts. Why not. If you want to watch the 'regular' version they already made it. Or just wait another couple years, I'm sure they'll do it again. Why not have steampunk flying ships.
And honestly, the steampunk flying ships worked their way into the movie way better than I thought. Leonardo DiVinci. Boom. Done. Just mention that guys name and you can make anything possible. Wanna add laser beams and teleporters to The Musketeers? Leonardo DiVinci. Boom.
Basically people just like complaining whenever any little detail isn’t exactly like the source material. One, that’s virtually impossible to do (unless you are Sin City, in which case your source material is almost just story boards for the movie anyway). Two, it’s virtually pointless. Why make the exact same thing? I don’t get it. Why not change it up?
So I applaud this movie for sticking to its guns. Besides, I don’t remember everyone getting this bent out of shape when Wild Wild West had a giant mechanical spider. Is it because there is no source material for Wild Wild West or because it’s a perfect film? (note: both of those aren’t true.)
People are going to pick on the film for being lame. There is a bit with D’Artagnan and his lady friend about cockiness and Tuesday. This is almost parody of what real movies can actually accomplish with flirting and callbacks. But it’s Paul W.S. Anderson, when has he ever done anything really competent?
Fistful of Dollars: Clint tells someone to apologize to his mule. Here, D’Artagnan tells someone to apologize to his horse. But I’m sorry (not really), Lerman is NO Eastwood. He also brings this back up shortly after then later at the end. Weak callbacks.
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark: Jones shoots someone who is clearly getting ready for a sword fight. Here, the baddie shoots (skims) D’Artagnan as he readies for a sword fight.
As a Tarantino fan I realize you can take stuff from other movies and make them cool, but you have to understand how the mechanics of these things work, not just simply repeat them.
Some might complain The Three Musketeers play more of a side role but I like that. Keep them one note characters who come in now and again with their certain traits and make them do cool action-y things but keep them out of the general plot. This way they get to be the heroes without having to divide the emotional story lines amongst three main characters instead of just one.
A lot of the humor really falls flat and some of the special effects were goofy. I recommend seeing this in a theater with a lot of people. Of all the movies I’ve seen this year, the crowd for this movie was probably the loudest group of eaters. I’m assuming more popcorn, candy, and soda was consumed here than of all the other movies I saw that day combined. I almost got a stomach ache just thinking about it.
But why is this enjoyable?
I think of all of Paul W.S. Anderson’s movies (you can’t call him ‘Paul Anderson’ because of Paul Thomas Anderson and you can’t simply call him ‘Anderson’ because of Paul Thomas and Wes) this one is the most competent, especially for the action scenes. They aren’t drop dead phenomenal or innovative but they get the job done.
As far as the story and humor goes, it’s all there. It just isn’t good. However, it’s like watching someone who so clearly knows what makes a good action story and what humor is but just doesn’t know how to quite make it their own style, so instead they just look over and copy someone else’s paper. It’s the best definition of ‘mindless’ action fun without being as offensive as Transformers 3.
In Conclusion, The Three Musketeers does not do a lot of things well, but with the exception of the two minor rip offs, it is pretty harmless. There are some fun action beats. If the cast was allowed to have a little more fun then it could have been a blast. As is, its an average action movie and I’ll give it that extra little boost for trying.
Final Grade: C+
My love letter to Milla Jovovich.
Dear Milla Jovovich,
I love you.
When I watch The Fifth Element at least once a month, I am completely blown away by your performance as The Supreme Being, Leeloo. I wonder if your performance was a skilled actor in complete control of every perfect little inflection on certain words, grace as a martial artist, and comedic timing; or if it was just a lucky accident. I am amazed that the characters in the movie call you ‘perfect’ and I have yet to find a flaw in your performance.
While watching your newest movie, I was taken aback by how in control of everything you were. You had the most fun, providing actual laughter and bringing The Musketeers closer together in your opening scenes with them than actual chemistry they might have had all movie together. You made Orlando Bloom look like a prop. You went head to head with Oscar Winner Christoph Waltz and showed him that ‘Mindless’ Action Movies requira certain kind of magic that he just couldn’t pull off.
There were scenes where you were all alone doing some stealthy sneaky thing and you had my complete and full attention. Even your slow motion run down the hallway with poison ball-darts shooting at you highlighted your ability to make a B movie fun and funny. Every little smirk made me squeal with joy.
Lastly, you are a beautiful woman and the costumes served you well.