The hot-headed young D’Artagnan along with three former legendary but now down on their luck Musketeers, must unite and defeat a beautiful double agent and her villainous employer from seizing the French throne and engulfing Europe in war.
There are more than a dozen English language versions of this story built on Alexandre Dumas’ famous adventure novel. A fresh version of this tale is presented to a new audience every decade or so. The story is virtually bulletproof.
The impulsive young D’Artagnan leaves rural Gascony to become an heroic musketeer. When he arrives in Paris he accidentally causes separate offenses to Athos, Porthos and Aramis (the trio of the title) and ends up involved in three separate duels. However, before these can occur, he and the musketeers battle Cardinal Richelieu’s guards. After this they join forces to help protect Queen Anne’s honour when she falls victim to one of Cardinal Richlieu’s plots.
The 1993 Generation X version gave us a rather dull D’Artagnan in Chris O’Donnell. 1973 audiences fared better with Michael York in the role and in 1948 filmgoers had one of the best movie D’Artagnans of all in Gene Kelly; no one swashed a buckle quite like the athletic dancer. The D’Artangnan du jour is Logan Lerman (3:10 TO YUMA, PERCY JACKSON AND THE LIGHTNING THIEF). Lerman is a minimally charismatic fellow for whom young girls might momentarily eschew Justin Bieber.
Questionable casting abounds in this movie. Orlando Bloom plays the villainous Lord Buckingham without any discernible interest on his behalf. Sadly, the-lovely-to-look-at Milla Jovovich is merely adequate in the role of the duplicitous and manipulative Milady. For an idea of how much fun Milady can be, see Faye Dunaway’s portrayal of the part in Richard Lester’s 1973 version.
Serious students of history had best stay home because inaccuracies and anachronisms are the norm for this picture. The film’s gadgets and mechanisms have a steampunk feel about them in a setting that predates the Industrial Revolution by a century. This is a declaration from the filmmakers that nothing you are about to see is to be taken in the least bit seriously.
THE THREE MUSKETEERS appears to be aimed at the audience the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise attracts, but without any of that series’ wit or supernatural high jinks. What this version of THE THREE MUSKETEERS does achieve is a high level of action and slam-bang entertainment. It is fun more often than not and never remains still long enough to overstay its welcome.
Director Paul WS Anderson is responsible for bringing the Resident Evil franchise to the screen. The ingredients and techniques he employs here are glossy and used to present a bright fantasy world that is different from the gloomy sci-f tropes Anderson usually works with. He has serious chops in the making of flashy, kinetic cinema violence. His new feature is a slight deviation from his body of work rather than a complete departure from it. The 3D element is well-handled.
If you’d like to be pleasantly diverted with 110 minutes of feather-light entertainment, you will find it with this version of story of D’Artagnan and the Musketeers.
THE THREE MUSKETEERS is playing in Australian cinemas now. I rated it 2.5/5