Synopsis: Based on Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel comes a big-screen action adventure update of The Three Musketeers, conceived and shot in state-of-the-art 3D.
They are known as Porthos, Athos, and Aramis – three elite warriors who serve the King of France as his best Musketeers. After discovering an evil conspiracy to overthrow the King, the Musketeers come across a young, aspiring hero – D’Artagnan – and take him under their wing. Together, the four embark on a dangerous mission to foil the plot that not only threatens the Crown, but the future of Europe itself.
Release Date: October 21, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Adventure
Alexandre Dumas is the author of one of the most famous, and often adapted, novels, “The Three Musketeers”. There have been great adaptations on film of the novel and there have been those whom should be forgotten immediately. The most recent adaptation follows the three acclaimed lead characters, Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Aramis (Luke Evans), and Porthos (Ray Stevenson) on an adventure to save, “a coming apocalypse” at the dawn of the 17th Century. In other words, war between France and England, and everyone else. As adventure stories go, “The Three Musketeers” holds great promise for a filmmaker to alter, adapt, and push the story further through the use of the three unforgettable characters. Director Paul W.S. Anderson and Screenwriter’s Alex Litvak and Andrew Davies had a great idea with The Three Musketeers, it a shame the execution of the film fell short for their new imagining of a timeless tale.
Athos, Aramis, and Porthos were once the greatest of the great Musketeers. Legends in their own rights, Athos is now a drunk, Aramis works for the city giving tickets when someone lets their horse relieve itself in the street, and Porthos relies on the kindness of wealthy women to keep him in the finest garb. The safety of King Louis the 13th (Freddie Fox) is now controlled by Cardinal Richelieu’s (Christoph Waltz) private army. Things were not this way only one year ago when The Musketeers performed missions for the King, their final one being to infiltrate Leonardo Da Vinci’s secret vault to steal plans for a war ship. They were successful but betrayed by the same woman who swore her love for Athos, Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich), and the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). With the cardinal in control of the army and King Louis more concerned over what color his clothing is, in comparison to the Duke of Buckingham, there is little hope for the Musketeers futures. A young man by the name of D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman), who dreams of being a Musketeer like his father was, arrives in Paris to join the ranks. He breathes new life into Athos, Aramis, and Porthos, and when they are needed once again to thwart a conspiracy cooked up by the Cardinal and Milady de Winter the Musketeers swing back into their former selves without flinching.
A film centered around the adventures of the Three Musketeers must be just that, an adventure. It should be full of action, death-defying stunts, sword-fights aplenty, and elicit oohs-and-awes from a viewer, with a touch of romance thrown in on the side. The Three Musketeers has very watered down action, stunts that only showcase how bad 3D can make deep focus appear when atop a building, very little sword fighting to speak of, and a romance between D’Artagnon and the Queen’s Lady In Waiting that screams awkward, not amour. As it trudges along setting up the conspiracy to start a war between France and England, by using Queen Anne as the pawn, The Three Musketeers starts relying on the “coolness” of the flying war ship more than the story at hand. Plus, the conspiracy seems to already have been put into place by the Duke of Buckingham, creating confusion between the antagonists of the film. The Cardinal, Milady, and Duke of Buckingham are all out to thwart France but you can’t keep track of why, how, together or alone…anything really. The film never decides just what direction it wants to take and what storyline to flesh out. It becomes a convaluted mess because all of the backstabbing and high-flying war ship nonsense makes it out of control.
The worst part about The Three Musketeers though is the film forgets to play up the one asset it has going for it–The Musketeers. Athos, Aramis, and Porthos are great characters but their greatness is set aside in favor of young D’Artagnan’s ridiculous romance and squabble with the head of the Cardinal’s Guard. And don’t forget the war ships, it is the bread and butter of the film to keep interest and illicit a couple awes when two duel it out in the sky. Bringing a more modern take on “The Three Musketeers” story is a great idea, and including D’Vinci in the mix is an excellent choice. Viewer’s have never seen a flying air ship carrying a group of sword fighting Musketeers. You have to hold true to what makes the Three Musketeers exciting, the adventurous spirit they have and the comradre of one-for-all-and-all-for-one. That piece got lost somewhere in King Louis’ very large ornate hat.
Give me action and adventure, sword fights and peril filled journeys, give me…anything that will keep my attention. The Three Musketeers has no kick to the action. The sword play is top-notch, when it happens, and that is not very often. Canon fire takes its place thanks to the flying war ships and on the ground not much peril occurs in order to facilitate a good fight. You rejoice when you get some action, because you have had to wait for it, yet it never achieves a real rousing spirit. There is one scene that gets you going, even if the special effects during it are a bit of a joke. The war ship attacks the Tower of London; guns are firing, canons blasting, and D’Artagnon takes a huge leap out of a window, narrowly missing the ship hovering outside. The Duke of Buckingham’s fortress is blown to bits, and it is really fun to watch it happen. Please note, this scene happens near the end of the film.
Then there is a scene that looks great in the trailer but is downright lame in the film. The Musketeers and Milady are breaking into D’Vinci’s vault and of course it is booby-trapped (and clearly the filmmakers have seen Indiana Jones a great deal). She is eager to get at the war ship plans and takes off running down the corridor, narrowly missing the flying weapons of death coming out of the walls. She’s not fast enough and must slide on her back to get to the end without harm. It looks amazing in the trailer, and a great place to use the 3D for awesome results. It actually does not use the 3D for any affect, and it is downright boring. Her fancy moves are no more than a keen sense of bending backwards. A let down for anyone anticipating this fancy special effects laden scene based on the tease the trailer provides.
The Three Musketeers needs a shot of adrenaline in the action and adventure areas.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Paul W.S. AndersonRobert Kulzer
- Producer(s): Alex LitvakAndrew Davies
- Screenwriter(s): Matthew Macfadyen (Athos)Milla Jovovich (Milady de Winter)Luke Evans (Aramis)
- Story: Helen George (Blonde)
- Cast: Ray Stevenson (Porthos)Orlando Bloom (Duke of Buckingham)Logan Lerman (D’Artagnan) Freddie Fox (King Louis XIII of France)Alexander BernerGlen MacPhersonPaul D. Austerberry
- Cinematographer: Paul Haslinger
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USAFrance