Unapologetically flashy and stylish, this 2011 version of The Three Musketeers is built with one purpose in mind. And that’s entertainment. If you’re looking for historical accuracies or coherent storytelling, you will have to go back and watch some of the older iterations. It’s funny to think that I grew up watching the 1973 movie of the same name starring Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, and immortal Christopher Lee. A much darker and more serious movie than this dashing romp full of over-the-top action.
With a budget of a whopping $75 million, they could afford some pretty dazzling CGI that looks really great. The same can be said about sets, costumes, and pretty much everything else. And the cast is simply stellar. We’ve got young Logan Lerman in a lead role plus Luke Evans, Matthew Macfadyen, Orlando Bloom, and Milla fucking Jovovich. And some of my favorite European actors: Ray Stevenson, Mads Mikkelsen, and Christoph Waltz. Poor Logan came off as pretty smug and irritating and not just because of the rest of the cast.
The Three Musketeers is even more flamboyant and fictional than Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes featuring huge blimps and all kinds of contraptions. The technology is awfully close to steampunk although it remains firmly commercial. This is not surprising considering that the director is Paul W.S. Anderson best known for his Resident Evil franchise.
Young D’Artagnan dreams of becoming a musketeer like his father. Cocky and arrogant he heads to the town to realize his dream but soon ends up in a brawl with all of the three remaining musketeers. He finds out that they are all now doing different things. And that musketeers are now a thing of the past. Four of them have a common enemy, Cardinal Richelieu. He’s a wicked man looking to seize the throne of France. However, there are still people who are willing to fight him.
The only way I could look at The Three Musketeers 2011, is through the eyes of kids since I am guessing that this is the target group. Even then, it is a bit sad to think that kids nowadays will think that there were blimps and other contraptions in the novel (or in that age for that matter). Not to mention the fact that the movie opens with a man in a gimp suit. So, you must dismiss all seriousness and logic and just go with the flow with this one. And remember that this is also a 3D movie intended to be seen in 3D, in theaters. I can only imagine how these lavish scenes looked on the big screen in 3D.
Of course, I don’t need to tell you that the action scenes were quite exciting with a lot of swordfights. Don’t expect character development or coherent storytelling, just a lot of visually dazzling elements designed to make you forget what it is that you’re watching. Mindless entertainment I believe is the term. I understand why they used the novel but I still think this would be a better stand-alone movie. This would allow for better storytelling and wouldn’t piss anyone off. As I’m sure that there are fans of Alexandre Dumas’s 1844 novel who didn’t like seeing this perversion.
Writers: Alex Litvak, Andrew Davies, Alexandre Dumas
Cast: Matthew Macfadyen, Milla Jovovich, Luke Evans, Ray Stevenson, Orlando Bloom, Christoph Waltz
Fun Facts: The dance number towards the end is one of but a few scenes that are historically accurate. It’s a gavotte from Terpsichore, a large collection of dance music published in 1612 by German composer and musician Michael Praetorius.