Saturday, October 22, 2011

'The Three Musketeers' Review


Rottentomatoes.com: 25%
Metacritic.com: 38 out of 100
Commonsensemedia.org: n/a
IMDB.com: 6.0 out of 10
My Rating 38% (2 Stars)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of
Adventure action and violence

With the rising popularity of books by Scott Westerfeld and Cherie Priest, steampunk (a sci/fi-fantasy that takes place during a historical time period) has become a popular infusion in literature, and now it seems to be edging its way into theaters. Summit Entertainment’s The Three Musketeers is the first major release revisit to the classic Alexander Dumas book since the 1993 remake starring Charlie Sheen. My expectations weren’t very high for this remake, so I wasn’t too disappointed by the end, but it still doesn’t have enough merit to stand on its own.

The story starts off with the arrogant D’Artagnan, fresh off of leaving home for the first time, one day finds himself in a Paris street battle with the Three Musketeers, an elite trio of warriors ready to defend France from its many political and vindictive forces, when he is in fact trying to join them instead. The Three Musketeers until now have done nothing but sit around and drink, but when the rival British king trespasses on the young king of France’s territory, tensions rise and the Musketeers are prepared. Things worse when a plot arises between Milady (Mila Jokovich) and Richeliu (Christopher Waltz) to frame the Queen of France and the King of England for infidelity, causing a war between England and France and putting Rochefort in a position of power. It is up to the Three Musketeers, Athos (Luke Evans), Porthos (Ray Stevenson), and Aramis (Matthew McFadyen) to get to England and stop the plot, as well stop the Richeliu, who just might be more dangerous than they think.

Given all of the ways this could have gone, the film deserves credit for its surprisingly fast pace. We don’t spend too much time mulling over one scene, which is the film’s weakness as well as its strength. The film squanders the brilliant source material, choosing the predictable route for modern movie adaptions and transforming a simple tale of friendship with a few sword fights into an action film with giant airships and guns.

The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, which makes the movie bearable. It’s obvious the actors are having fun in their roles, but maybe a bit too much so, as considering the tremendous amount of talent here, it should have been better. Surprisingly, Orlando Bloom gives the best performance overall, using perfect comic timing and looking like a 1700’s playboy. It’s really a shame he doesn’t get more screen time here. Christopher Waltz, who was brilliant in 2009’s Inglorious Basterds is very subdued here, only passable. Of course, it’s always fun watching Mila Jokovich. Her scenes are very much like those in her Underworld movies, except with more lace. Except for one scene, when she has to sneak past the lasers, and of course, she just has to remove most of her clothing so she doesn’t get killed. Just has to. Logan Lerman is given the runt of the litter, so to speak, of the script. He’s the one link to teens who’ll want to view the movie, so of course they stick him in a conversation with a king where they talk about theirfeelings. About girls. About anytime he gets near that one girl who sees past his musketeer exterior, his palms get all sweaty, his heart starts beating through his chest, and he says stupid things. Also, he has long hair in this one- I tell you, there are a lot of women who would pay through the nose for that kind of volume. Mila Jokovich seems to agree with me- her character in the movie says “Don’t kill him. He’s too pretty to die.” And I’m quoting her ad verbatim.

This movie takes the conventional adaptive route, and it’s pretty much executed like Twilight. If there weren’t so many fans of the book, the movie wouldn’t have been nearly as popular or well taken. Most of the original fan base of Musketeers is dead, so they saw no reason to follow closely to the book. The execution for the movie was good, so if they just wouldn’t fill the script with so many clich├ęs and muddle the predictable storyline then it might actually be good.

Fight sequences are elaborately choreographed and admittedly fun to watch, but they carry most of the weight here. The message of “being a musketeer is about being true to yourself” wears thin after a while, and  since there isn’t much else in terms of storytelling, the viewer eventually gets bored.

Overall, it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been, but it spends too much time trying to modernize itself and in the end, loses its heart and doesn’t properly reinvent the story that an adaption this recent should have.


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