THE THREE MUSKETEERS
MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
There have been dozens of adaptations of Alexadre Dumas’ classic novel “The Three Musketeers,” and even more if you count the sequels and inspired-by films, from the quite good “The Man in the Iron Mask” from the late 90s to the goofy-ass “The Musketeer” featuring kung fu choreography. Paul W.S. Anderson’s version falls farther on the silly side of things, but it’s not all bad.
In general, I like Paul W.S. Anderson as a director. He’s done some weaker films (like a bulk of the “Resident Evil” franchise), but I’ll always respect him for what he did with a movie like “Event Horizon.” He continues with his crazy adaptations with “The Three Musketeers,” going farther to modernize the story than the silly Charlie Sheen version back in the mid-90s.
Telling the basic story from the book, D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) heads to Paris to be a Musketeer. There, he meets three of the former swordsmen and gets wrapped up in an adventure with them to foil the treachery of Milady (Milla Jovovich) and stop a plot by Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) to control France.
There’s shadows of the original story, but they’re overcome with some craziness in the middle, including Orlando Bloom overacting as a dandy villain and a flying airship battle that literally rips off the finale of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”
The film is lighthearted enough and never takes itself too seriously, and that’s the only thing that saves it at times. The look of the movie is actually quite good, and the ability to shoot in existing palaces with amazing ornamental decorations makes it visually appealing. The actors are actually pretty decent (with the exception of the aforementioned Orlando Bloom), and they actually tend to rise above the movie than play to it.
In this respect, I found the actual Musketeers to be more compelling than the film itself. In particular, Ray Stevenson is fantastic as Porthos, and he’s partnered with Matthew Macfadyen and Luke Evans as Athos and Aramis quite well. In fact, the stumbles in the main cast come from Logan Lerman as D’Artagnan and director Anderson’s main squeeze Jovovich as Milady.
It’s fun for a Saturday afternoon viewing, but it will ultimately go down in the annals of movie history as yet another forgettable adaptation.
The Blu-ray (which is also available in a 3D format) includes an audio commentary with the filmmakers and deleted scenes with filmmaker commentary. There’s an embedded featurette “Access: Three Musketeers,” which includes branching featurettes and informational spots that play throughout the film.