The Three Musketeers (2011)

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Paul W.S. Anderson may be the director with the highest number of utterly awful movies on his resumé. In fact, after the extreme disappointment of last year’s Resident Evil: Afterlife, I had pretty much sworn that I’d never watch another movie of his ever again. Lucky for him, then, that I went into The Three Musketeers on impulse, not realizing it was one of his. He has one of those common names that are hard to remember.

Anyway, The Three Musketeers has been done in many versions, and you’d have to do something pretty different to justify yet another incarnation of it. I thought the trailers looked pretty fun, and (like Anderson, it almost pains me to say) I have a thing for Milla Jovovich. So I thought I’d give it a go, despite, and because of, my having really disliked the previous couple of musketeer movies. I felt that they could only keep doing abysmal musketeer movies for so long; eventually sheer probability should favor a good one.

And the wonder happened: it was pretty good. Of course, much of it was sheer nonsense (and no, the three musketeers still did not actually have muskets), but for a comical fantasy/action movie, that’s okay. What, you want a summary? Let’s see. Well, there’s this diamond necklace. Milady de Winter is an all-round duplicitous cat burglar and self-employed Mission: Impossible operative, and in a nefarious scheme thought up by cardinal Richelieu, she steals the necklace… and things get complicated. The English king is involved, and a charge of infidelity, and the necklace is sort of the key to it all. So, a lady-in-waiting to the French queen asks D’Artagnan and his musketeer mates to retrieve the necklace, which involves flying to England in a commandeered airship, aaand… Action! The big finish include the Notre Dame, great sword-fights and crashing airships. More 3-D zaniness than you can shake a stick at. Pretty good stuff.

The movie, being fantasy adventure with a touch of parody, does have several nods to the Resident Evil movies, and with airships based on Da Vinci designs it was actually almost as entertaining as I’d hoped it would be. The acting, by everyone involved, was better than the material warranted, the effects and situations were truly spectacular, esp. at the climax, and what we end up with, therefore, is a great romp filled to the brim with heroes, fools and luscious ladies. Some of the dialogue was good fun, while other parts were the usual tired sitcom clichés. The plot was neither really simple nor complex, but it threatened to overrun itself, what with nefarious schemes being thwarted by other nefarious schemes, and then derailed by even more nefarious schemes before said schemes could play themselves out. After it had been across the channel a few times, I began to lose track of what the hell the big political significance of the diamond necklace was.

But I’ll say this: I was entertained. The comedy subplot with the young French king and his romance and wardrobe problems was very effective, and all the plotlines wrapped up very nicely by the end. Being the eternal optimist, I had hoped for something even better, but what I got was actually very, very close to my expectations. Despite the hated director. As they say, even a blind hen sometimes finds a grain of corn.

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Matthew Macfadyen, Orlando Bloom, Logan Lerman, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Christoph Waltz, Mads Mikkelsen, Juno Temple, Gabriella Wilde, Carsten Nørgaard
Runtime: 110 min.
Country: Germany / France / UK / USA

Film Rating: ★★★½☆

4 Comments
  1. Kevin Matthews says

    That’s how it starts, he’s worn you down. Just like he wore me down. I now own the Resident Evil movies, Event Horizon and Death Race. And I always was quite a fan of the Mortal Kombat movie.
    🙂

  2. Tue Sorensen says

    I hate ’em all. Well, I think the first RE movie is kinda okay. And as a sci-fi freak I have grudgingly bought Event Horizon (pretty terrible movie) on DVD, and, if it ever arrives, I will probably check out the Director’s Cut that Anderson has so far failed to deliver, to see if it would be any improvement, which I doubt.

  3. Kevin Matthews says

    Yeah, I’m starting to doubt the very existence of that director’s cut (unless we’re on about literally seconds trimmed here and there). But Event Horizon is probably my favourite of his films and when I first saw it I was quite creeped out by it. Of course, I love horror movies with that kind of ghostly atmosphere. A lot of his detractors allow that one to stay separate from the rest but if you dislike it then I’m sure not going to change your mind on it. I will check out The Three Musketeers at some point, though it may lose a point without all of the 3D bells and whistles (as the last Resident Evil movie did IMO).

  4. Tue Sorensen says

    For Event Horizon, whether you’re a horror fan will make a big difference. I’m not, so the thing doesn’t make a lick of sense to me. I rate it 3 out of 10, mainly for the good actors.

    Is there *any* 3-D movie so far, other than Avatar, where the 3-D effects have added anything at all of memorable substance to a movie? I haven’t seen any yet. The Three Musketeers will be just as good in 2-D. The only 3-D scene that impressed me a bit was a brief shot of a lot of candles at the bottom of the screen, where it looked like they were almost actually in front of the screen. That was kinda nice.

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