Film Review: The Three Musketeers

(Published on BritScene and read in my publication In Retrospect – Issue 3)

Based on a 1844 French novel titled Les Trois Mousquetaires, written by Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers has had a wide range of TV and film adaptations. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, this latest reinterpretation is a 3D adaptation following the same story but with a cast of new faces that takes advantage of the latest cinema technology.

Set in the 17th century, the handsome D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) travels to Paris in hope of joining the famed Musketeers, Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Porthos (Ray Stevenson), who are currently down on their luck. Now, they must now unite to defeat a beautiful double agent, Milady De Winter (Milla Jovovich), who is playing both sides with the evil Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) in a plan to seize the French throne and engulf Europe in war.

This steampunk-influenced film (a fantasy/fiction where steam power is widely used) is well linked to the original Musketeer novel. Whilst not adding anything new in terms of dialogue or uniqueness, this adaptation is full to the brim of action. And why not when you can have objects flying out of the screen in all directions with the over-hyped power of 3D technology?

Nevertheless, although the film is action-filled it is also easy to recognise that the film was made with the young audience in mind. With a sword fight happening every few minutes, there was a complete lack of violence with the choreography of these fight scenes taking a playful stance. Whilst this is not a complete negative, against the dense story line the film wasn’t quite fulfilling for an adult viewer.

In addition, some of the characters were verging on pantomime. It was surprising that you couldn’t hear the boo’s every time Bloom appeared on screen stroking his beard. His character, apparently based on David Bowie, was more Russel Brand with his camp swagger than an evil music legend. However, it was interesting to see Bloom as the antagonist of the film instead of the handsome hero that saves the day, and it actually kind of worked.

As for the other characters, the three actors playing the main Musketeers had a real chemistry, and Lerman added some much-needed charm to the group. Jovovich has worked with Anderson before in two of the Resident Evil films, and her performance was strong as she played an important and intertwining link in the film. If nothing else, she added a bit of cleavage. James Corden was also a nice addition to the cast but, unfortunately, he was deemed as the overweight, comedic sidekick whose only purpose was to provoke the odd bit of laughter. But laughter he provoked, despite his small role.

All in all, this latest adaptation was an interesting take on the Musketeer franchise. The Three Musketeers is a legendary tale, and it’s obvious why it is one so often reused. I have never fully watched any of the other adaptations, so it was good timing for Anderson’s remake, introducing this generation to the enjoyable story. However, the film is ultimately a family adventure to take your children to, not one that will be breaking the box office.

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