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Monday, October 24, 2011



"The three musketeers? I've heard of you."
-- D'Artagnan

The Three Musketeers is a 2011 action film directed by Paul W. S. Anderson that serves as the umpteenth retelling of Alexandre Dumas's classic novel of the same name. The film starts with our heroic trio - Athos (Matthew Macfayden), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Porthos (Ray Stevenson) - valiantly stealing the blueprints for a dirigible-style airship from the Da Vinci Vault in Venice with the help of a woman known as Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich). After obtaining the plans, Milady betrays the musketeers and gives the prize to the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). Fast-forward one year's time, and we find a young man named D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman) making his way to Paris to become a musketeer. When he meets our formerly valiant trio, however, he learns that they have essentially become obsolete under the rule of Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) and his guards. Still, D'Artagnan takes up with his idols, and the group soon learns of Richelieu's plot to drag France into a war with England that would allow him to usurp King Louis XIII (Freddie Fox) from his reign over the country.

I'd like to start by saying that I didn't really have any preemptive intention of seeing this film. From the moment I first saw the trailer, I simply thought it was a ploy to cash in on the 3D craze that's currently sweeping movie theaters across the country. In addition, it just didn't look like all that great of a film, so I didn't have any real desire to race to the theaters to give it a view. However, I found myself watching it earlier today, so I might as well give you my views while it's still fresh in my memory.

I guess my first issue with this film was that it's way too over-the-top. Sometimes when a film deliberately chooses not to pull any punches, the audience can enjoy it for its complete ridiculousness, but that's not really the case with The Three Musketeers. The far-fetched nature of the film was just too much to enjoy as I found myself scratching my head at how far they actually chose to go. I mean, let's just start with the dirigible-style airships that do battle during certain points of the film. At first, it seemed like an interesting idea, but once you've got a couple of them engaging in an all-out war in the sky, it just started to seem like an airborne version of Pirates of the Caribbean. So, that's one thing. Also, the screenplay had major issues. I mean, we have your standard story of government corruption and the heroic warriors re-establishing justice by the end of the film, but that's not where I had my issue. My problem with the screenplay was that the characters explained every little thing that happened or was going to happen, almost as though the filmmakers thought they were making the film too confusing for the audience to understand. But when they start explaining the most obvious things, then I started to feel a little bit insulted. It's like every conversation needed a neatly-wrapped bow before the characters could continue on their mission. When your audience starts to feel their intelligence being insulted, there's going to be some issues.

The acting wasn't really all that spectacular, either. While I can't say it's the worst ensemble cast I've ever seen, there definitely won't be anyone creating any type of awards buzz for this flick (but to be fair, did anyone really expect that to happen?). Our four musketeers are serviceable, and Stevenson is good for a steady stream of laughs. He's probably the best-cast character in the film, but part of that could be my personal preference towards the Porthos character. It was also nice to see Waltz in the film considering I had no idea he would be in it. Sadly, as was the case with his performance in The Green Hornet, he just didn't have a lot with which to work in this one. Other than that, most of the actors over-act as much as they possibly can, and I started to get annoyed with the cast pretty early into the film.

The special effects are relatively decent, but there's nothing truly eye-popping about them. I didn't see the film in 3D, so I can't comment on whether or not it was used effectively, but I didn't catch too many "3D pop-out" moments, so they might have gone with the more favorable "3D depth" stance instead. The climactic airship battle sequence is rather well-done even if it made me think of the Pirates films, but I must give credit where credit is due.

Overall, The Three Musketeers is by no means a film you should really give your time. It's not the worst film I've ever seen, but I can't honestly tell you that you should take the time to watch it because that would eat away at my conscience. Still, if you're in for some big dumb fun, then maybe this one's right up your alley. I'd just say wait until you can rent it. There's no reason to spend upwards of ten bucks at the theater for this travesty.

Movie Review Summary
Grade: F
1.5 Thumbs Down

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