Movie Review: “The Three Musketeers”

Written by Brent Holmes October 16, 2011

By Brent Holmes

The Three Musketeers in 3D

Like A Christmas Carol, Sherlock Holmes, or any Jane Austen novel, The Three Musketeers is one of those stories that somehow has justified getting several adaptations per decade. With the latest remake having its main selling point as the craptacular 3D, the new three musketeers doesn’t bring anything new to the table, unless you count the overpriced romance killer that takes the form of 3D glasses.

As with every other 3D film, the 3D is essentially non-existent. During any dialogue scene, those goofy glasses only serve to make the unfocused area around the actors less focused. The rest of the time they only serve to make the action distinguishable. The only part of the film that was legitimately 3D was the short introduction video telling the audience to put on their 3D glasses.

With a running time of nearly two hours, The Three Musketeers is like a despicably drunk houseguest that you try desperately to force out before he vomits all over your furniture. A nearly fifteen minute Assassin’s Creed-like prologue introducing the musketeers is followed by the awkward introduction of D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman). D’Artagnan is sent off by his musketeer father and encouraged to get in fights and make mistakes. The little twirp does both, picking fights with pretty much everybody and making this god-awful movie.

After he and the three musketeers join up and kill forty men in the street, King Louis XIII (Freddie Fox) hires them into his service. If you are not bored by this point, you will be, because this marks the half-way point. Half-way through the film and there still is no semblance of an overarching plot. Eventually, the plot gets moving when the Musketeers are enlisted to run a covert operation to stop a war with England, which they do by blowing up half of the tower of London for no legitimate reason. Mission Accomplished.

It doesn’t solve the plot issue though. In the film, there are three different antagonists, and none of whom seem of any particular note. D’Artagnan gets in a fight with one of the Cardinal’s men (Mads Mikkelsen) distinguishable only due to his eye-patch. The Cardinal, played by Academy Award Winner Christoph Waltz, is built up as some major villain, but never really does anything and Orlando Bloom steps out of his typical character type to play the over-the-top comic book villain, Duke of Buckingham.

Leading the musketeers as Athos is Matthew Macfadyen playing essentially the same role he did in the TV series Spooks. His angst driven quarrel with his ex-lover/assassin Milady de Winter (Mila Jovovich) is essentially the same kind of plot and character without the charm of the British spy show. One can almost see part of Macfadyen and Waltz soul die as they realize that this is what it means to be a mainstream actor.

At the end of the day, there isn’t a remotely like-able character in this movie. D’Artagnan and King Louis are an annoying little shits; Athos is depressed to the point of melodrama; the other two musketeers, Porthos (Ray Stevenson) and Aramis (Luke Evans) aren’t given enough screen time to really develop; and the female leads aren’t allowed to do much aside from wearing corsets that massively overemphasis their cleavage.

The film does deserve some credit though. The action is over-the-top and ridiculous but well choreographed. While convoluted, the film does manage to play through its third act without gaping plot holes that would otherwise make it nonsensical; an achievement considering the complicated political subplots.

Overall, the film is clique, over-the-top, and all of the other things one can use to describe an action/adventure sword play movie by Paul W.S. Anderson. Like so many other adaptation/remake abominations, it seems intent on pissing on its source material with the Musketeer’s famous motto, “All for one, and one for all” dropped twice with no explanation or context. It’s just a momentary pause between action scenes. That is all that Hollywood amounts to these days children; bastardized versions of old classics deliberately working to set up their own sequels so they can cut more money out of your purse for ridiculous 3D glasses.

My Rating: 4.5 of 10

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About Brent Holmes

Brent Holmes is a Film Studies and English Major attending Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario where he is working towards a PhD in Film Studies. He currently writes for We Eat Films and The Western Gazette (on the latter, he serves as Arts & Life editor).

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