I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from “The Three Musketeers.” Part of me was really excited to see how the story would be developed. Yet, another part remained skeptical because Paul W.S. Anderson was involved in this film.
Anderson has had a hand in a lot of movies that I consider to be flops such as “Alien vs. Predator,” “Death Race” and the “Resident Evil” movies. I could only hope for the best. While the film does follow closely to its Disney predecessor made in 1993, there are some substantial differences between the two.
“The Three Musketeers” starts out in Venice, Italy. Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Porthos (Ray Stevenson) and Aramis (Luke Evans) along with Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) who is also Arthos’s lover, take up a daring mission to steal airship blueprints created by Leonardo Da Vinci. However, the Musketeers are betrayed by Milady, who gives the blueprints to the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom).
When they return home to France, the Musketeers are forced to disband by Cardinal Richelieu (Christopher Waltz) for their failure to bring back the blueprints.
Right off the bat, I loved how Anderson incorporated that Milady and Arthos are together, or I should say “were” together. In the 1993 version, this information isn’t given to the audience until the halfway point of the film. It really compliments Arthos’s colder side later in the film, as he has that “trust no one” mentality.
While the 1993 version had its strong points, it also had its flaws. I felt this film did a very good job of character development along with introducing some new faces to the mix like the Duke of Buckingham. In the 1993 version, the duke was never present anywhere in the film. He was only mentioned briefly when the plot to overthrow the king involved him and he seemed like a crucial piece of the film that was just left out.
After being swiftly introduced to this star-studded cast, I thought to myself, “How can this movie go wrong?”
Unfortunately, even with a strong cast, this movie ends up taking a turn for the worst. I feel that the characters should complement the story as both those elements draw you into the film and keep you wanting more.
Instead, this film shoves seven characters at me all at once and strung me along events at lightning-fast pace. I ended up having more “Huh?” moments than anyone should ever have to deal with while watching a film.
For instance, Anderson left out critical chunks of the story, involving the disbanding of the Musketeers by Richelieu. I didn’t find out about this until D’Artagnan has his run-ins with the Musketeers in Paris. But that’s not the kicker. As the story progresses, we eventually see musketeers training on castle grounds and one of them even claims to be a musketeer.
So was this disbanding singling out just the main three musketeers? Apparently, but the fact that I had no clarification of this until much later was just showing me a lack of creativity and organization of the plot.
Another problem this movie faces is time management. I never particularly like those “one year later” markers in a story. It starts to raise too many questions that audience members can’t help to ask. So instead of focusing on the movie, they keep wondering, “Does it really take three days to sail from France to England,” or, “How long does it take to build an airship?”
I did appreciate the special effects and the sword fight scenes. Seeing this film in 3D made it pretty enjoyable. I found myself jumping out of my seat once or twice when D’Artagnan’s sword came lunging toward the screen or a cannonball from an airship was shot off and appeared to be going in my direction.
Overall, I can’t recommend spending money to see this movie. While the flashy special effects and 3D swords play make some scenes quite entertaining, that’s just not enough. I want a good story to be relayed along with the characters in the story.
The only kind of story told in this film was one that moved entirely too quickly and was sketchy at best, which ended up leaving you scratching your head more times than it should. Hopefully in another 20 years when they remake another one, someone will put more emphasis on the script and less on the flashy bells and whistles.