DVD Shopping Bag: Three Musketeers 2011 Blu-ray (Mania.com)

By:Robert T. Trate
Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Source: Mania.com

 

With caution thrown to the wind, I took a chance on Paul WS Anderson’s Three Musketeers. I had heard that it was very steam-punk-like and more of a comic book brought to life than a true to the period film. Have I seen the 1973 version by Richard Lester? Yes, but to be honest I only remember Raquel Welch’s cleavage. In 1993 I really enjoyed the cast of Disney’s Three Musketeers. Kiefer Sutherland was great, Charlie Sheen wasn’t crazy yet, and it might be Chris O'Donnell’s best film (outside of Scent of Woman). The entire cast brought about that sense of brotherhood needed in a film like this. It had a great heart too. Whether any one of these three films pays the proper respect to Alexandre Dumas Père’s novel is a discussion for another time.
 
The plot of Paul WS Anderson’s Three Musketeers really doesn’t set it apart from the previously mentioned films. D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman) is following in the footsteps of his father and off to join the Musketeers. Upon arriving in Paris, he meets and insults the three men who will become his brothers-in-arms. After a spectacular battle with Cardinal Richelieu’s (Christoph Waltz) men they (the Three Musketeers) take D'Artagnan under their wings. As it turns out, the Cardinal is plotting with the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) to take over France. Again, as you can see, there is nothing really new here. Wait a second, there is! For whatever the reason Paul WS Anderson must have watched Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes (2009) and thought he could do the exact same thing with the Three Musketeers!
 
From the slow motion action moments (not scenes) to the blatant rip off of Han Zimmer’s score, this film gives every indication that Paul WS Anderson had this idea. Did he believe that in slowing down the action it would make those scenes more intense? This was fun for the comic book action style of 300 and The Watchmen, but even by Sherlock Holmes’ time (where those routines also carry a dramatic) it felt played out.
 
The film also suffers from a sequel syndrome. Cardinal Richelieu is perfectly cast in Waltz and he makes a great villain. The company Waltz keeps with this role is in Charlton Heston and Tim Curry. Paul WS Anderson, however, focuses more on Orlando Bloom’s (who 10 years ago would have played D'Artagnan) character and Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich). Everything in the movie builds towards sequel dollars; so much so that only one henchman bites the dust and the other villains are in place to continue with their plans. There is a great emphasis on characters, but the parts are either miscast or incredibly boring. The plot, again, revolves around saving King Louis XIII of France’s (Freddie Fox) throne and marriage. Fox’s performance of the boy king is one that in no way endears you to him. He is a selfish brat who cares more about his clothes then what is going on his kingdom. Hugh O'Conor in the 1993 version may have been very vanilla, but at least he struggled with problems of doing the right thing and winning the affection of his new bride. In less than 5 minutes of Fox’s performance, you’re hoping that some one will remove this kid quick (both the actor and the king).
 
I might have been able to get over the whole steam-punk/ Sherlock Holmes moments of the film if I cared about the Musketeers. Logan Lerman’s performance was forgettable. Matthew Macfadyen’s Athos was about as exciting as his Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Luke Evans kept making me think Orlando Bloom was playing Aramis. Thankfully, Bloom appeared on screen at the same time and I was reminded it was not him. No, the only one that made me give a damn about him was Ray Stevenson’s Porthos who was played to perfection to the point that I wish the film would have been wrapped around him. Sadly, that is not the point of a Three Musketeer movie or story. And this film isn’t one of those, either.
 
 
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Robert Trate writes three weekly columns for Mania: the DVD Shopping Bag, the Toy Maniac, and The Geek Life. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.
 


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