Based on Alexander Dumas’ popular french story, this is at least the fourth cinematic venture. The previous ones had released in 1948, 1973 and 1993 and if this one were to succeed, it had to offer something unprecedented. Therefor, Director Paul WS Anderson relies on special effects to do the magic for him.
Following Dumas’ novel, it’s the story of a poor nobleman d’Artagnan who comes to Paris to carry on his father’s legacy by joining the famed musketeers. But don’t expect it follow the book. The film is actually an oversimplified version. While the plot intricacies have been guillotined, what remains is only stylized action.
On the brigher side, the special effects are very well done even in a 2D version. I’m sure the 3D may have been even more engaging. The Airships are extraneous to the story but manage to create a spectacle on screen. The duel on the Notre-Dame rooftop and the animated map of Europe for scene cotinuity are worth a mention.
The three musketeers played by Matthew Macfadyen as Athos, Ray Stevenson as Porthos and Luke Evans as Aramis look tired and practically didn’t have much to do except wearily accompany d’Artagnan and get their hands dirty in an occasional battle. Their weariness is explained by a failed mission, thanks to Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) who plays a double agent and Athos’ treacherous love interest.
About Jovovich, the lesser said the better. For one, she tries excessively hard to play sensuous. Her stunts are akin to Resident Evil series also starring Jovovich directed by Anderson. There are also stunts inspired by Mission Impossible and Entrapment after she shds her clothes atop a terrace, an unlikely event in 17th century Europe. Her prominence can be explained by the fact that she is the director’s wife.
Rather than Jovovich, it is the British model and actress Gabriella Wilde who plays Constance Bonacieux, d’Artagnan’s love interest who steals the show in the looks department. In the lead, Logan Lerman does well as the cocky but courageous d’Artagnan. Those that play the french king and queen are insignificant.
Among the other stars, Christoph Waltz who drew critical acclaim and an Oscar for his portrayal as Col Hans Landa in ‘Inglorious Basterds’ plays the scheming Cardinal Richelieu. But, it is his henchman Rochefort that grabs more screentime and action and is played by Mads Mikkelsen, the bond villain from Casino Royale (2006).
To put it all in a nutshell, ‘Three Musketeers’ has action, charm of a fictional historic tale, death defying stunts involving airships and occasional humor. If you are keen shut your mind to its pitfalls, it works well as a decent entertainer.
Rating 6/10: Relies more on special effects than storytelling, yet watchable