The Three Musketeers (Paul W.S. Anderson, 2011)Posted on the 02 November 2011 by Jake Cole
The only outright serious moment in the film is its dolorous opening narration, recounting some half-assed play at historical accuracy before immediately cutting to Athos (Matthew Macfadyen) rising out of Venetian waters like Capt. Willard from Apocalypse Now. This exposes even the 10 seconds of seriousness as part of the gag, the first of many in a film that makes goofy fun of both sex and violence. And period costumery. Mustn't forget about that.
The basic plot kinda sorta follows Dumas' novel, with D'Artagnan (an almost endearingly terrible Logan Lerman) heading for Paris to join up with the musketeers and finding himself embroiled in a web of intrigue spun by the young king's chief minister, Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz, who looks vaguely annoyed at having the only continental accent in the film). But then Athos' conniving love interest Milady (Milla Jovovich) steals stolen schematics for an airship designed by Leonard da Vinci and sells them to England, allowing the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) to get to France within mere hours, allowing him to insult the child king Louis XIII (Freddie Fox) over outdated fashion choices with greater ease.
Oh, right, and wage war. That too. Buckingham wants military superiority over France, while Richelieu pulls strings behind the curtain to ensure that the war will elevate him to open power. Richelieu seems to think that people vote on the whole king thing—maybe he should watch a certain Monty Python film to clarify this—but whatever. The end result is: fighting airships!
Anderson may make some tacky films but he is a competent shooter, and I confess that some shots here were positively delightful in their combination of spacing, rhythm and, when one considers the use of European architectural landmarks for steampunk swashbuckling, visual irony. A crack CGI team seamlessly adds in such garish, striking sights as those dueling man-of-wars within well-composed frames, and the epic action here comes off more formally austere than the muddled, artless orgies of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels and Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, films that exert a clear influence here. But even the more conventional swordfights are a blast, the musketeers fearlessly set against waves of sad-sack guards who look as if they just scratched out the next day's events in their planners and wrote "DEAD" before engaging our four heroes.
Various other intimate delights also caught my eye. Juno Temple steals the show with her marvelous facial acting as Queen Anne, always half-smiling with affection for her hapless but well-meaning husband and later in fear at Richelieu's plot to bring about war by shaming her. Her nervous, charming chemistry with Fox proves a damn sight more entertaining than Lerman's boorish entreaties to the comely handmaiden Constance, a romance so repellently dull and chauvinistic I half-expected D'Artagnan to just point at his crotch and raise his eyebrow expectantly. And for all the clever CGI and half-decent 3D, the best special effect in the film is Milla Jovovich, who is so impossibly limber in corsets and period dresses that she simply cannot be real. Also worthy of props is James Corden as the put-upon musketeer servant Planchet, the only comic element in the film to actually earn genuine laughs.
So yes, the plot is ridiculous, most of the intended (dialogue) humor hits a brick wall, and the climax can be hard to take even for those who surrender to the film's delirium. But it's a clever piece of fluff, and more successful at being mindless entertainment than the vast majority of pompously dim films that come out any given summer. I'd rather watch The Three Musketeers again than most of the movies it rips off, and it's the first Anderson film since Event Horizon that makes me curious to see what else he can do. Far from the best piece of escapism in a year already thin on good examples of blockbuster filmmaking, The Three Musketeers is nevertheless a surprisingly solid piece of work built out on the world's flimsiest foundation. It could collapse at any second, but that only makes it more exciting, doesn't it?
These articles might interest you :
The directorial team behind 2006′s Little Miss Sunshine, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris , are finally back with Ruby Sparks. Zoe Kazan wrote the... Read moreThe 20 April 2012 by Impsndcnma
Directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton had huge success with Little Miss Sunshine, a film showcasing family in a journey to a beauty pageant. Read moreThe 26 March 2012 by Impsndcnma
NIIA covers the 2011 favorite, Jai Paul’s BTSTU. The song is a personal favorite and I have to admit that the name NIIA is unfamiliar to my ears. Read moreThe 25 March 2012 by Csanders12
So GRAMMY's just happened hours before and they really rocked,that Deadmau5 mask was ubercool,the only thing i doesn't liked is that they just announced the nam... Read moreThe 13 February 2012 by Rover
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, the 2012 Republican ticket. Photo from CNN. Mitt Romney may get a nice bounce in public opinion polls from announcing 42 year-old... Read moreThe 11 August 2012 by Kena
CULTURE, HISTORY, POLITICS
When I stopped at Trotter's Cafe in St. Paul's Merriam Park yesterday morning they were sold out of fresh cinnamon rolls! With tables filled with groups and... Read moreThe 26 February 2012 by Homesmsp
BUSINESS, HOME, HOME IMPROVEMENT, REAL ESTATE
Hey Everyone, Like most girls, I love getting my hair done. I love the whole feeling of being pampered and leaving the salon feeling like a new woman. Read moreThe 01 February 2012 by Beckysmakeup
HAIR & BEAUTY, LIFESTYLE
MOST POPULAR FROM ENTERTAINMENT
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) by Newguy
- Decades in Music; Part 12 – The 2010s: A Golden Age – guest blog post by @Rosbif65 by Music Vstheworld
- Hanging by a Moment with Jason Wade of Lifehouse by Hendrik Pape
- Comedian and former plant Dec Munro says there is “Nothing Happening Here” by Thejohnfleming
MOST RECOMMENDED IN ENTERTAINMENT
- Cheers Elephant Return With Power Pop For The Ages on Track ‘Airliner’ [Premiere] by Thewildhoneypie
- Russell Brand supports Comedy Cafe owner Noel Faulkner’s ‘secret’ charity by Thejohnfleming
- Psycho CA Day 2: The Heaviest Day Of My Life by Indiemusicpromo
- Talking Vivien Leigh and The Future by Kendrajbean
ON THE ENTERTAINMENT FORUM
- Top 10 Makeup Brands Reviewed by Lea Trumper