#268/ 365 – ‘The Three Musketeers’ – 110 mins
Cinema Challenge #108 / 115
Young D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) is thrilled to encounter the legendary three musketeers – Porthos (Ray Stevenson), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Athos (Matthew Macfadyen). But the warrior trio have become disillusioned after the failure of their latest mission. However, a new challenge presents itself in the form of a treacherous plot dreamed up by evil Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz). To prevent the French monarchy being overthrown, the musketeers must take on beautiful-yet-deadly Milady De Winter (Milla Jovovich) and caddish Brit the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom).
Alexandre Dumas’ fabulous mix of romance, swashbuckling adventure, and intrigue in Louis XIII have proved an irresistible draw to filmmakers, as there have been more than 20 film adaptations of Dumas’ novel ‘Les Trois Mousquetaires’, plus several animated versions and TV series since 1903. So in this new imagining what does director Paul WS Anderson (‘AVP: Alien vs. Predator’) bring to the table? Think of a crossover of ‘The Matrix’, ‘Tomb Raider’ and ‘Assassins’ Creed’ spiced up with some out-of-place flying airships and all in predictable 3D.
Visually the film is stylish and does have some energy, and Anderson does pull off one terrific early scene of swashbuckling action. Unfortunately spectacular as the effects are, the film does then become one large-scale novelty sequence after another underneath a resting heartbeat of a story which left me completely tiresome early on.
Of some of the casting, Matthew Macfayden, Luke Evans and Ray Stevenson are our three musketeers who aren’t outstanding, but get the job done. Christopher Waltz plays Cardinal Richelieu and does that villainous performance from Inglorious Basterds, yet again, albeit this is a slightly diluted Hans Landau on show here. Orlando Bloom unconvincingly smirks and hams his way through as Buckingham. Even James Corden manages to nab a part as the musketeers wise-cracking servant who just comes off as annoying.
In the end then with its pantomime plot, awful dialogue and little in the way of characterisation, it seems with the exception of ‘Resident Evil’ Anderson still cannot pull anything off in the way of a half decent movie, as this adaptation is a sorry case of “All for one and All for nothing” – and should be hung, drawn and quartered in Louis XIII court.