The Three Musketeers

Based on Alexandre Dumas’ book The Three Musketeers.

France is in the middle of its revolution.  All of Europe has been dragged into the war.  The young king, Louis XIII (Freddie Fox) doesn’t quite know what he’s doing.  To help run the country, Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) is helping run the country.  But he has his own interests at heart.  Not the greater good of France.

The Three Musketeers, Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Aramis (Luke Evans), and Porthos (Ray Stevenson) are working with Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) to get Leonardo da Vinci’s plans for a war machine.  Milady double crosses them and gives the plans to the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom), the “archrival” of the Musketeers.

Young D’Artagnan (Logan Lermen) rides into Paris to join the Musketeers.  Along the way, he crosses paths with Rochefort (Maks Mikkelsen).  While chasing Rochefort in Paris to avenge having been almost killed, D’Artagnan bumps into the aforementioned Musketeers and schedules duels with all of them.  After the ensuing battle, he joins their ranks.

The team uncovers a plot by Richelieu and Milady to besmirch the name of the queen, causing Louis XIII to start a war.  A war which will allow Richelieu to ascend to power, his ultimate goal.

The movie is the most faithful I recall to Dumas’ story.  With the exception of the flying war machine.  I don’t remember such a contraption in the book.  This seems to be a plot device to make the movie more “hip” and exciting.

In my opinion, the flying war machine, a mix of a boat with a hot air balloon, complete with an arsenal of then futuristic weaponry, is nothing more than a gimmick.  They take the swashbuckling French Revolutionary story and evolve it into a swashbuckling pirate movie.  Something I could have done without.

I also don’t recall Milady de Winter being quite the ninja-esque vixen she is portrayed as in the film.  But she is the Fifth Element, so I grant some artistic license here.  No I don’t.  The novel version of Milady was conniving enough.

The Three Musketeers is a rather lengthy novel.  One that cannot be squeezed easily into 110 minutes.  The price for making it into such a relatively short film is a lot of story compression.  And some cheesiness.  It can be excused in a novel from 1894.  A movie in 2011 could have worked these scenes out a little more delicately.

Logan Lermen does a fine job as D’Artagnan, keeping in mind that the “script” he’s working from is some 117 years old.  Christoph Waltz was a great choice for Richelieu.  It was remarked that “they could have gotten hotter guys to play the Musketeers.”  I have to say, looks-wise, they could have made better choices.  And I think the choice to make Louis XIII so flamboyant was a stretch, used only for comic relief.

That said, it’s not a bad movie.  It just wasn’t the most well executed version that could have been done, even if it tries to stay true to the story.  They turn it into a study of how to do 3D without making it a “look, that sword is going to stab me in the face” 3D.  Even if the action was a lot of wire stunts, somewhat resembling The Matrix (complete with bullet dodging by leaning back, à la Neo).

Your kids, particularly young lads, will enjoy the movie.  And I don’t regret sitting through the movie.  But I didn’t have to pay for it.  (Thanks, Buzzbo.)  If you enjoy these types of movies, I would suggest renting it when it comes out.


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