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Three Musketeers Doesn’t Have Much Fight

  • Christa Banister Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2011 10 Oct
  • COMMENTS
<i>Three Musketeers</i> Doesn’t Have Much Fight

Release Date: October 21, 2011 (2D/3D Theaters)
Rating: PG-13 (for sequences of adventure action violence)
Genre: Action/Adventure
Run Time: 110 min.
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Actors: Matthew Macfadyen, Milla Jovovich, Luke Evans, Orlando Bloom, Christoph Waltz, Christian Oliver, Markus Brandi, Ray Stevenson, Til Scheweiger, Jane Perry, Dexter Fletcher, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Moor, Andy Gathergood

Perhaps hoping to capitalize on the swash-buckling success of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides from this past summer, The Three Musketeers could’ve used a little—make that a lot—of Captain Jack’s charisma.

See, even the weakest outing in the Pirates franchise still doesn’t have that stale, just-taken-out-of-mothballs feel that The Three Musketeers unfortunately has in spades. Why anyone would bother adapting Alexandre Dumas’s famed novel yet again—with no new angle to boot—is a real head-scratcher.     

Far more vexing is why the filmmakers selected such gaudy set pieces and insanely dopey dialogue to accompany this big-budget affair. Everything about it, from the overblown action sequences to the dark and dingy images that don’t even pop in 3-D, feel like a cheap nod to yesteryear—and not in that endearingly nostalgic fashion.

Just in case you forgot you bought a ticket for The Three Musketeers, their signature catchphrase “all for one and one for all” is dispassionately delivered again and again by several characters, one of the script’s many failed attempts to connect with its source material. Strangely enough, the only line that really resonates is something one of the musketeers, Aramis (Luke Evans, Robin Hood) says with uncharacteristic vigor: “There are no grand causes left.”

And yes, that’s probably how most moviegoers will feel after two hours of this...

Set mainly in seventeenth-century France, just like Dumas’s novel, that’s about all this year’s musketeers share in common with his. Themes of brotherhood, bravery and fighting for a cause are long gone and substituted with, well, a story and characters you couldn’t care less about.

For fans of the novel, it’s a pretty familiar story. While under the rule of Louis XIII (television actor Freddie Fox), the three musketeers, once formidable fighters for all that’s good and profitable, have lost their mojo after being betrayed by an unfaithful accomplice during a secret mission. Not quite sure what to do now that wielding swords has taken a backseat, they’re eventually revitalized when a spirited youngster meets their acquaintance. Chaos ensues.

If you find yourself bored during a bevy of go-nowhere battle scenes, however, counting anachronisms is a fantastic way to pass the time. From the curious casting of teen heartthrob Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief) as D’Artagnan (note his decidedly modern Justin Bieber-esque haircut) to the surprisingly current turns of phrase featured in day-to-day conversation, these musketeers seem to be in a perpetual time warp.

Worse yet, one the film’s only pleasures is from someone you wouldn’t have necessarily blamed for phoning in his performance, namely Oscar winner Christoph Waltz (Water for Elephants) who plays Richelieu. Deliciously dastardly and downright hammy in every single scene he’s in, especially when playing chess all by himself, it’s the all-too-brief comic relief the story desperately needed throughout (Orlando Bloom, take note).

It’s then—and only then—where The Three Musketeers is remotely worth revisiting. Even the somewhat laughable 1993 incarnation starring Chris O’Donnell, Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland is far better—and for anyone who’s seen it, that’s saying something rather profound indeed.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Social drinking, even to the point of drunkenness, is depicted in several scenes.
  • Language/Profanity: Not extensive, but there are a few uses of da--, as-, sh--, he-- and instances where God’s name is misused.
  • Sex/Nudity: Some sexual innuendo, plus the women’s period costumes display quite a bit of cleavage.
  • Violence: Lots of swordplay, gunfire and scenes where people are stabbed, strangled or kicked and punched around. The violence isn’t overly bloody, but it’s pervasive. Like many movies of this ilk, there’s really not much regard for human life.
  • Thematic Material/Religion: One of musketeers, who used to be a priest, says the Lord’s Prayer before he kills someone. When it doesn’t seem like the musketeers have anything left to fight for, he briefly contemplates getting back into the priesthood but isn’t sure he can live up to the high moral standards of a “man of the cloth.”
     

Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in Dallas, Texas, she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog

For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.