The Three Musketeers: A Belated Review

With all of the great movies that came out in 2011, the release of The Three Musketeers came and went in a blur and before I could see it, it was already replaced by yet another blockbuster movie. So, halfway through 2012, I am glad that I finally saw Orlando Bloom in full villain mode in a movie that features Milla Jovovich rocking her Alice moves in a corset.

The Three Musketeers is loosely based on Alexander Dumas’s classic novel of the same name. I say loosely because this new version seemed like a composite of The Italian Job, Entrapment and several other double cross movies, all set in 17th centry France, when the country is ruled by a young, shallow king by the name of Louis, and his beautiful wife Anne. Unbeknownst to the King, the cardinal is plotting his downfall in order to seize power and go to war with England. To do this, he employs the help of double agent Milady De Winter, whose romantic involvements with both the musketeer/mercenary Athos, and England’s Duke of Buckingham allows her to secure what the cardinal needs to topple the monarchy — a war machine (skyship) invented by Leonardo da Vinci, as well as an elaborate plot to poison the mind of the King against his queen by planting evidence of her supposed affair with the Duke of Buckingham. In order to save the queen, her lady in waiting Constance enlists the help of the Musketeers and a skilled swordfighter from a small town, D’Artagnan.

There have been several versions of the Three Musketeers released in film and even in cartoons in the past years and I should say this for the most recent take on the classic — its different. The movie proceeds at a much faster pace than most of its predecessors and employs a much more modern technique in terms of setting, costumes and even stunts. While the plot is pegged on parts of Dumas’s work, it is hardly recognizable because of all the razzle dazzle incorporated into the approach. On the one hand, this works well to keep the film entertaining but on the other, the speed in which scenes were executed caused the film to lose some momentum as sequences failed to get audiences involved in what was happening.

The script was smartly written, and Logan Lerman as the young D’Artagnan was a smart choice to bring the role to life. He has the charm and the swagger to pull the character off . (I’m looking forward to his movie Perks of Being a Wallflower in September). Ray Stevenson also did great as the ladies’ man Porthos but he has always been awesome in all his roles. The Immortals’ Zeus Luke Evans returns to the screen this time as scholarly and compassionate Aramis, and Matthew Macfayden, who played the Sherriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood checks out what is on the other side of the law as the protagonist musketeer Athos.

Of all the cast members, I would have to say that I was most disappointed with Orlando Bloom’s portrayal of the villainous duke and only one word comes to mind to describe him — smarmy. I liked him much better as the dreamy elf Legolas. Maybe being a villain isn’t for everybody.

All in all, The Three Musketeers held its own, and by the looks of it, they were gunning for a sequel. But with its lukewarm reception from the critics and its lack of connection to the audience, I doubt that it would get a green light from the studio.