The Three Musketeers isn’t a great or even innovative movie but still somewhat entertaining. Director Paul W.S. Anderson “borrows” different styles done in better movies yet it still works while the cast is well done and mostly give adequate performances even if some of the characters are paper thin. As it stands, if you’re not a stickler for the source material, you might get something out of the movie; otherwise you’d be better off skipping.
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Summit | PG13 – 110 min. – $34.99 | March 13, 2012
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer(s): Alexandre Duman (novel); Alex Litvac and Andrew Davies (screenplay)
Cast: Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans, Ray Stevenson, Logan Lerman, Milla Jovovich, Mads Mikkelsen, Christoph Waltz, Orlando Bloom
Theatrical Release Date: October 21, 2011
Features: Commentary, Picture-in-Picture, Deleted Scenes
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: NA
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.25/5
Second only to Shakespeare, Alexandre Duman p?re has had a number of his novels adapted onto the small and big screen including The Count of Monte Cristo, The Man in the Iron Mask and, of course, The Three Musketeers. This latest, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson of Resident Evil infamy, has been lauded by critics and audiences the world over and admittedly… it actually wasn’t that bad.
The story awkwardly begins, with little energy, introducing us to the Musketeers on a mission: regal Athos (MATTHEW MACFADYEN), pretty boy Aramis (LUKE EVANS) and tough guy Porthos (RAY STEVENSON). Their latest mission involves taking designs for an airship from a high-tech vault, owned by Leonardo da Vinci, with the help of sultry Milady de Winter (MILLA JOVOVICH), who is also Porthos’ lover. But she betrays them and takes the blueprints and gives it to the Duke of Buckingham (ORLANDO BLOOM). Due to their failure, Cardinal Richelieu (CHRISTOPH WALTZ) disbanded the Musketeers.
Fast forward one year later and we meet the young, ambitious and overly confident D’Artagnan (LOGAN LERMAN) who leaves his home in a small village heading for Paris to meet and possibly join his idols: the Three Musketeers. Along the way, he runs into Captain Rochefort (MADS MIKKELSON), leader of Richelieu’s guard, who ran afoul of D’Artagnan after he insulted his horse. The two fight it out with Rochefort coming out victorious (gee, I wonder if the two will go toe to toe again?).
Back on the road, D’Artagnan arrives in Paris, runs into the beautiful Constance Bonacieux (GABRIELLE WILDE) who we later learn is the Queen’s lady-in-waiting. Also, quite by happy accident; he separately encounters Athos, Aramis and Porthos, challenging each, not knowing who they were, to a duel. Despite knowing who they are, the duel happens anyway but is soon broken up by Rochefort and his guards. Together, the four take on dozens of the guards and manage to escape only later to be summoned by King Louis XIII (FREDDIE FOX). But rather than being sentenced to death for their insubordination, as suggested by Richelieu, he instead is impressed by their actions and, especially at the request of Queen Anne (JUNO TEMPLE), their lives are spared.
Meanwhile, we are re-introduced to Milady as she’s now working for Richelieu who hatches a plan to force war upon Britain by having Milady break into the Queen’s apparently not so secret or impenetrable vault, steal a special diamond necklace given to her by the king, and plant it in the Duke Buckingham’s place. Upon discovering her necklace has been stolen, the Queen enlists the Three Musketeers, plus D’Artagnan, to recover the necklace before a gala to which the King has requested she wear it (as the Cardinal suggested to the King as proof that she perhaps is having an affair).
In between the various loose/messy plot points, we get some cross technological elements between past and present not unlike what Guy Ritchie has done with the Sherlock Holmes movies. Similarly, producer/director Paul W.S. Anderson utilizes (i.e. steals) much of the same both with in terms of style (some of the fights are done in slow-mo) and old style modern weaponry. That alone might turn some off, for me, it might not have been innovative by any stretch, but it didn’t offend me either.
Casting wise, I felt the Three Musketeers were well done with Ray Stevenson providing the more memorable performance followed by Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans delivering well enough and Logan Lerman is OK, though a bit obnoxious, in his role. Orlando Bloom and (Oscar winner) Christoph Waltz are fine but unremarkable as the film’s antagonists while Mila Jovovich wasn’t as bad as she has been in the past, but she’s still not exactly a outstanding actress either. I guess if there’s one thing you can count on in a Paul W.S. Anderson movie… performances that don’t exactly burn up the screen.
The Three Musketeers is definitely weak in terms of the story even if the consequences are large. Also, although I did enjoy this movie, it does take a bit of time for the film to get going with an awkward opening/character introductions. Still, I didn’t think this was that bad. Sure, Paul W.S. Anderson isn’t by any stretch a great filmmaker but at only 110-minutes, this is passable entertainment so long as you’re not a fan of the original books.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.75/5
This set comes housed in a standard Blu-ray case with a glossy, title-embossed slip cover.
Audio Commentary – Producer/Director Paul W.S. Anderson & Producers Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzer sit down for an informative track talking about their influences on the movie and trying to reinvent the source material. It’s a fairly strict track (i.e. not overly laid back) as the trio (with Anderson taking a good chunk) fills just about every moment relaying different bits of trivia.
Access: Three Musketeers (2:21:02; HD) – Similar to Warner’s ‘Focus Points’, this picture-in-picture feature (which includes about 30 minutes of extra material) opens up interviews with members of the cast and crew, give insights into the production (via mini-featurettes that interrupt the movie) and other bits of trivia and information. There are different categories available: “Ultimate Access”, “Cast & Crew”, “The Look”, “Fight Meter” and “Did you know?”. You can turn off any or all of these, which is a nice touch. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Paul W.S. Anderson’s Musketeers (2:29; HD) – This short featurette just has comments from Anderson explaining why he wanted to make the movie.
Orlando Bloom Takes on the Duke (1:59; HD) is another short featurette where Anderson and Bloom talk about playing the film’s bad guy.
17th Century Air Travel (2:20; HD) briefly examines the design and special effects for the blimps, integrating the effects with the real on-set filming.
Uncovering France in Germany (2:14; HD) takes a look at filming the movie in Germany but finding locations that look French (and Italian for the opening sequence).
Deleted & Extended Scenes (14:18; HD) include 12 scenes that, for whatever reason, did not make the final cut. None of them are particularly special but nice to see them in this form at least rather than further padding the movie.
Previews – Man on a Ledge, The Darkest Hour
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Summit Entertainment releases The Three Musketeers onto Blu-ray with a brilliant looking 1080p high-definition transfer. The movie, shown in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio, is bright, colorful and finely detailed throughout. Given this was most likely shot digitally; you’re not going to get flaws such as artifacting and such. Also, the color array is well balanced without seeming punched up (since it was originally released for 3D).
Speaking of which, the 3D element also looks good even on the smaller screen with minimal amounts of ghosting and some decent levels of depth. I’m not sure it’s the best use of 3D but it’s certainly better than some of the more mundane/substandard stuff out there.
AUDIO – 4.75/5
The disc contains a fantastic 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track which takes advantage of the numerous action sequences giving this lossless track some great depth. Even the low range elements such as dialogue sound crisp and clear.
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, The Three Musketeers isn’t a great or even innovative movie but still somewhat entertaining. Director Paul W.S. Anderson “borrows” different styles done in better movies yet it still works while the cast is well done and mostly give adequate performances even if some of the characters are paper thin. As it stands, if you’re not a stickler for the source material, you might get something out of the movie; otherwise you’d be better off skipping.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.