Movie review: The Three Musketeers

 

The Three Musketeers are back again with colorful costumes and swashbuckling action in this film

Lavish Costumes, Fisticuffs, Annoying Slapstick All Make Up New ’3 Musketeers’

By Maggie Scott

   What does the latest version (when do we see the musical?) of Alexandre Dumas’ 1844 literary classic, The Three Musketeers, have to offer? A horse named Buttercup and Leonardo Da Vinci’s War Machine.

If you’re so inclined, you can also view director Paul W. S. Anderson’s version in 3-D, but the technology isn’t necessary to enjoy this rendition of the adventures—with slight tweakings, very faithfully redrawn from Dumas’ tale—of D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman), Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Porthos (Ray Stevenson) and Aramis (Luke Evans).

Suffering from weakly fleshed out characterizations, the heroes must yield the field of enjoyment to the villains of the piece, particularly Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz), and to the young, foppish King Louis XIII (Freddie Fox) who is a comely clotheshorse precursor to Marie Antoinette some hundred years later.

His preoccupation with fashion in competition with the Englishman, the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom), provides both eye candy and refreshing moments of hilarity in proceedings that slog quite a bit in the area of sword fights and verbal horseplay among the musketeers.

Although I could find no evidence that Da Vinci ever came close to designing the contraption that appears over the royal residences of the king, bearing the devious Duke, the combination of dirigible and cannon-wielding sea-faring ship is visually arresting and the indisputable star of extravagant action sequences.

Rounding out the cast are its females, both innocent and nefarious:  Lady-in-Waiting Constance (Gabrielle Wilde), the object of D’Artagnan’s affection; Queen Anne (Juno Temple), regally and proudly waiting for the king to make a romantic move; and Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich), a woman of loose morals and loose affiliations playing both sides of the English Channel in hopes of stirring up trouble between Britain and France. Once the companion of Athos (still carrying a torch for her), Milady is currently tight with Buckingham and also conspiring with the Cardinal in a bid to inspire the citizens to dethrone Louis.

Fake letters and a dazzling diamond necklace are props in the plot.  Once informed of what’s afoot, the musketeers must infiltrate the Tower of London and duel both in the sky and on the ramparts of Notre Dame with the enemies of France.  With their cries of “One for all, and all for one!” the Musketeers find the ”great cause” Aramis feared was out of their “obsolete” grasp.  You won’t have to wait through the closing credits for the “kicker” that indicates there will be more from these characters in the future on the big screen.

The British-French-German film production forces have provided lavish costumes and settings which should satisfy those enamored of such things, but the PG-13 action will leave fans of imaginative fisticuffs (occasionally in a martial arts mode, here) feeling a bit cheated.

Annoying and superfluous slapstick is provided by James Corden as Planchet, the musketeers’ hapless man-servant, and the youthful heartthrob, Lerman, has a long way to go to achieve favorable comparison to Errol Flynn of the old school, or Johnny Depp of the new.

 

 


 



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