8 nov. 2011

My Review: The Three Musketeers (5/10)

¨All for one and one for all¨

Here comes another adaptation of Alexandre Dumas`s famous novel of the same name, this time directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (the guy responsible for bringing us the Resident Evil franchise game to the big screen). I have to admit I was a fan of the Resident Evil movies, but that is about the only films I enjoy coming from Anderson, and with The Three Musketeers that only makes my position even stronger. This film was totally massacred by Alex Litvak and Andrew Davies, the men responsible for adapting the screenplay. It`s really hard to bring such a famous novel to the big screen and most films have failed in doing so, but I have to admit this is one of the weakest efforts. Anderson really takes his work lightly here and tries to give us a modern version of the Three Musketeers, but despite all the special effects he does nothing to make these characters interesting. They are all entirely one dimensional with no exceptions. There are several talented actors in this film, but not even Christoph Waltz as the infamous Cardinal Richelieu seemed to fit the part. Being a musketeer is what every boy dreams of, but after watching this film my guess is that very few will feel like being Athos, Aramis, Porthos, or D`Artagnan because the film focused on the special effects, flying ships, explosions, rather than on the great characters that Dumas created in his novel. The Three Musketeers should focus on the characters, not on the special effects. Anderson tried to approach this novel in a much lighter way, but it didn`t work at all. The film felt empty, the characters had a huge void, and the best performances actually came from the villains than the heroes.    

Everyone who is familiar with Dumas`s novel or that has seen any of its numerous film adaptations knows the plot. We are first introduced to our main characters: the three musketeers; Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Aramis (Luke Evans), and Porthos (Ray Stevenson) who serve as King Louis XIII (Freddie Fox) of France`s personal guards. However there seems to be no much more need for the three musketeers since Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) has everything under control with his special guards who serve under the leadership of Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen). The King is too young and naïve to control the country and the Cardinal wants to take advantage of that and take over the kingdom. The three musketeers spend most of their time getting drunk and starting fights with Richelieu`s guards. Their descent began a year ago when Athos was deceived by his lover Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) who stole some secret plans from them containing information on a powerful weapon, and gave them to the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) so now England can have the advantage over France if a possible war ensues. This is exactly what Richelieu wants: to provoke a war so the people of France rely on a much stronger leader, himself. This is where D`Artagnan (Logan Lerman) enters the scene; the son of a former musketeer himself sets out to Paris in order to become one himself. Despite being hot headed and young, he inspires the rest of the musketeers with the values they have long lost: courage and fidelity to the King.  

A film about the Three Musketeers should focus on the characters, but this movie like most of its predecessors fails to do so. Logan Lerman, known for his work in Percy Jackson & the Olympians doesn’t have the charisma that his character, D`Artagnan needed. The three musketeers aren`t developed really well either as the movie decides to focus more on the special effects and the action rather than on the characters. One would also expect a lot more sword fighting in this movie, but there are actually more explosions and gunshots than anything else. The heroes aren`t done justice in this film and I was disappointed despite not expecting much from it either. I have to admit it`s always a difficult task to bring a highly loved novel to the big screen, and Anderson isn`t the right guy for the job as he is mostly known for focusing on the action rather than on the characters. The Three Musketeers isn’t a terrible film; it just doesn’t do the story justice. Some people may enjoy this light film since it is nonstop action, but it just wasn`t what I was expecting. There are some funny scenes however involving Orlando Bloom`s character and his discussions about fashion with King Louis. Those were the highlights of the film for me, and that is about it. I didn’t have a terrible time either, I just don`t think the three musketeers were made justice.

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