Monday, April 02, 2012

The Three Musketeers

Yes, you're surprised: there was a new Three Musketeers movie, made just last year. I'll bet you've never heard of it. There is a reason why. Or several.

There have been many Three Musketeers movies. Probably the ones you remember are the 1993 version with Kiefer Sutherland as Athos, Charlie Sheen as Aramis, and Rebecca deMornay as Lady d'Winter, and the older version from 1973, which featured Oliver Reed as Athos, Richard Chamberlain as Aramis, and a very comedic Raquel Welch as Constance. I actually loved both versions. They were each whimsical, funny, but dramatic when they had to be. And each was cast boldly. This latter version seems to have more money thrown at it, but less of a cast, and certainly less of a script. Although, frankly, I don't think you're going to get better source material than from Alexandre Dumas.

In case you don't remember, the story starts with young D'Artagnan, who starts out for Paris in search of joining the Three Musketeers, but runs into trouble from the get-go. Add some romance, international intrigue, lots of sword play, and you have the plot for all three.

Unfortunately, in our modern version, the dialogue doesn't live up to the material, and seems inane at times. The film starts out well enough, showing each of our musketeers and what they're good at in the beginning caper. But then, once the film shifts to Cardinal Richelieu and his accomplice, Milady de Winter, the drama stops. Christoph Waltz is too limp as the evil Cardinal, and Milla Jovovich is too, well, athletic as the double spy. You can see why Jovovich was hired -- she performs amazing stunts and makes it look natural. But she doesn't have the mystery about her, the dramatic play that others have had in her place.

The Three Musketeers 2011 has brilliant costumes, beautiful sets, dazzling but short sword fights, amazing visual effects, but there's no real Dumas intrigue there. Go back and take a look at the other versions, and enjoy yourself.

Thumb's down.


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