Friday, April 6, 2012

The Three Musketeers (2011)

Since first hearing about the making of this film I've been quite interested but not quite enough to see it in cinemas so I waited until it came out on DVD.
The interesting cast and the classic tale are what drew my interest but I wasn't sure about the modern updates they added.

First impressions are that The Three Musketeers (2011) is a beautifully filmed period film with quite a bit of action but it's not quite as good as I'd hoped.

Logan Lerman as D'Artagnan
Story: In Venice the three musketeers join Milady de Winter in raiding a secret vault and stealing plans for a military vessel but she betrays them and hands the plans over to evil Duke of Buckingham. In France young D'Artagnan leaves home to join the Musketeers but upon arriving in Paris his reckless behavior sets him at odds against the men he wants to join. When he meets up with Athos, Porthos and Aramis for their duels they are attacked by forty soldiers from Cardinal Richelieu's guard and a fight ensues in which the four beat the forty. During the fight D'Artagnan meets Constance, a pretty young lady-in-waiting to the Queen but although he is instantly enchanted she is not impressed by his clumsy country ways. When the musketeers are summoned to the palace to be reprimanded the Cardinal is angered by bratty young King Louis awarding their behavior. In Cardinal Richelieu's desire for power he plots with Milady to steal a diamond necklace from Queen Anne's collection giving it to Buckingham in the hopes that King Louis will think his wife was unfaithful to him, embarrass Buckingham and set Frances and England at war. The Musketeers uncover the plot and must act quickly to retrieve the necklace and foil the evil schemes.  

Constance watches D'Artagnan fight
Script: I'm really not sure how this follows the book but it seems to be very loosely based on Alexandre Dumas's original work. The biggest change is in the addition of the explosions, flying ships, gadgets, sword fights and other ways they've made the story more action packed. The language used is very modern and references are made to quotes and ideas that are not particularly historically accurate. There are several witty remarks and funny scenes though.
On a second viewing of the film: Co-written by Andrew Davies!?!?! How did I miss that? That actually explains a lot, haha!

Cardinal Richelieu and King Louis
Scenes: Brilliant indoor and outdoor scenes and amazing cinematography. I didn't feel like I missed anything not watching it in 3-D though. Some of the fighting scenes are slowed down to show off the swords and punches. Each scene was filled with rich color, textures and interesting objects.


Costumes: Amazing and extravagant costumes are worn by the rich and famous. There's a delightful running rivalry joke between the Duke of Buckingham and King Louis as to what color is the height of fashion and the two men try to best the other with their elaborate outfits! Queen Anne and Constance wear some pretty dresses and hairstyles. Milady wears gowns of exquisite fabrics but most of her gowns are very low cut. Milday also wears other immodest garments that fit her character but aren't really necessary. Her fake looking ringlets bugged me a lot. The Musketeers usually wear black but occasionally don disguises.

Queen Anne dances with King Louis
Music: Anyone who enjoys the soundtracks for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the Sherlock Holmes films will find many similarities in this soundtrack even though it was composed by a different person, Paul Haslinger. The songs are quite upbeat, catchy and perfectly suit the adventurous nature of the film. When I watched the DVD copy with my family the music was a bit annoying because it often overpowered the dialog, but that might have just been our television set because on my laptop it seemed to be fine. Listen to samples of the soundtrack at Amazon.

Actors In Their Roles:

  • Matthew Macfadyen as Athos - As the leader of the group Athos plans out their missions (which put me in mind of MM's previous role as modern day MI-5 agent) and is often their spokesman. His past relationship with Milady leads to a few kisses and some verbal sparring. He is a fairly serious character but does have some delightful dry witty comment. Matthew Macfadyen extremely brilliant as always and definitely made Athos my favorite character of the lot. 
  • Ray Stevenson as Porthos - A big man of great strength and humor who uses both in his fighting and escape techniques. He's fond of ladies' company and lets the rich ones buy his fancy clothes. I didn't think his character was give enough time to develop or as many witty lines as he should of had.
  • Luke Evans as Aramis - The priest turned soldier, Aramis is a curious mixture of swordsmanship and prayer. His character was quite interesting and on the whole I liked Mr. Evans portrayal of Aramis.
  • Logan Lerman as D'Artagnan - A cocky youth with a brave heart, D'Artagnan is the hero of the tale who gets by on the skin of his teeth and . Logan Lerman is an American actor and although he did a good job I wasn't completely thrilled with his performance. Like Constance at first I found him too reckless and the character development just wasn't there for me. 
  • Orlando Bloom as Duke of Buckingham - Well first of all I wasn't quite sure about Orlando Bloom being cast as a villainous character but a very few minutes served to change that opinion. Buckingham has a lot of rock star qualities: fashionable clothes, flashy transportation, charm for the ladies and a lot of swagger. Orlando Bloom added a lot of personality and humor in his portrayal which I particularly enjoyed even though he's a foe of the Musketeers. 
  • Christoph Waltz as Cardinal Richelieu - This Cardinal Richelieu surprised me a bit because I'm used to the character being the evil mastermind who also fights but this Cardinal is not a man of action at all and while he does engineer the plots against king and country he's not as villainous as in other films I've seen. Austrian actor Christoph Waltz didn't quite work for me in the role but he was okay.  
  • Milla Jovovich as Milady de Winter - In this film Milady is not only a temptress and a liar but she's also a double spy who does spy things like break into vaults, crawling through security lasers, shooting guns and wielding a mean sword. Not a favorite literary character for me and I didn't really like how they clothed (or didn't clothe) her in this film. 
  • Freddie Fox as King Louis - Young, spoiled, bratty, pompous, selfish, but insecure, leaning on the Cardinal's guidance and completely lost at how to get his Queen to like him. Actor Freddie Fox was perfect in the role (minus the strawberry blond wig they gave him) and actually made the character quite interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing him as Edwin Drood in the new adaptation! 
  • Juno Temple as Queen Anne - Pretty and regal but perhaps a bit too outspoken. To me Juno Temple was an odd choice for the role but she did an alright job.
  • Gabriella Wilde as Constance - As the heroine D'Artagnan's story this Constance is all sweetness and beauty but she also has a good deal of bravery and sense. She makes D'Artagnan work a bit for her affection but is a good friend and ally. I'd never seen Gabriella Wilde act before but she did a lovely job of making the character very interesting. I hope to see her in more period films in future. 
  • Mads Mikkelsen as Rochefort - As captain of Cardinal Richelieu's guard he is a great scoundrel complete with a scary black eye patch. Although he seems to loose to the Musketeers he always seems to have an evil plan that one-ups them. Mads Mikkelsen makes a very convincing villain and the sword fight between him and D'Artagnan is a very well done scene!
  • James Corden as Planchet - Every adventure film needs a little comic relief and Planchet is definitely it! As the Musketeer's servant he's the one who has to put food on the table, carry the bags and worry a little. He's made fun of a bit but in the end he does get to do some heroic deeds. But even though his character was funny he was also the one that used the most offensive language (see specifics below) that actually made the lines not as funny.

Constance & D'Artagnan
My Thoughts: There were a lot of fun things that I enjoyed about this film but some others things that I didn't like. Some of the characters were really good but others not as interesting as I'd hoped. Overall the action scenes with the guys fighting didn't bother me too much but Milady's fighting scenes really irritated me. The relationship between D'Artagnan and Constance, although cute, was fairly artificial and didn't have much time to develop so we understood why they liked each other or why they were kissing by the end.
The flying ships were a bit of a stretch for me and Milday's ending wasn't nearly as interesting as it could have been. There were definite funny moments but some of them were disappointing because the language used was a tad more blunt than was necessary. Overall I liked it well enough but it wasn't as interesting as I hoping. I want to like it more but it just fell sadly short in a few areas.

D'Artagnan, Aramis, Porthos and Athos 
My Recommendations: This film is rated PG-13 for good reason, sadly it's not as family friendly as it could have been. There is some language used in this film that I was a bit surprised by. Besides God's name being used in vain there are offensive words for poo, bosoms, bottoms and children born out of wedlock.
The ladies wear low cut dresses and at one point Milady strips to her underclothes for an entire scene. The sword fighting and explosions are similar to a Pirates of the Caribbean film in the violence rating but it's not too bad. Overall I'd only recommend this film for families if you have something like ClearPlay to cut out some of the questionable bits. Fans of the book might not like it because it does stray widely from the original. Period drama fans will enjoy the amazing costumes and scenery. Fans of Matthew Macfadyen will definitely enjoy this role. Not highly recommended or a must see but an interesting flick.

"All for one and one for all!"

Have you seen The Three Musketeers (2011)? 
What did you think of it?

Was this review helpful? Do you plan to watch the film?

Very Truly Your's,


Mary Beth said...

I have been wanting to watch it, but was a bit worried about the content, so thank you for the review.

Elizabeth said...

I am dying to see this move. Mathew Macfadyen!!!! My sister has read the book, but I have not, it is on my reading list. Have you seen the Disney version(not the Mickey Mouse)? It is really good, minus a few parts. It is a family favorite at our house. :)

Jemimah :-) said...

haha, okay, I admit that it made me laugh when I saw M. M. with LONG hair and a beard and moustache. They SO do not suite him. (In my opinion, that is.)

Mel said...

I've been wanting to see this for a while now. The costumes look absolutely stunning. Thank you so much for writing about the content of the film, I'll be sure to keep it in mind when I get the chance to see the film :)

Emily said...

I saw this movie recently. I love the role of Matthew Macfaden! He is my all time favorite actor! I agree with you that the costumes were not always modest and there was quite afew curse words,but my friend knew where they were and muted them all. Thanks for the review! Lovely blog!

Gabriela Salvador said...

I wrote a blog post on Milady's costume when she steals the diamond necklace, and I linked back to some of the pictures on your blog!

Anonymous said...

I saw this movie recently. I loved the mens costumes and the fight scenes but apart from that it wasnt so great. Actually I thought some of the acting was really good. Nothing like the book though. And the flying ships (though quite cool in a fantasy/si-fi setting) made me cringe. They realky didn't fit with the period.

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