The Three Musketeers is reminiscent of The Prince of Persia: there’s more action than plot, and no one really cares about the alleged time period the film is set in. In this case, the period is 17th Century Europe, and the plot is that the musketeers must stop the French Cardinal’s schemes to provoke a war, blah blah blah, there’s a fight on a couple airships. With explosions.
If you like mindless action movies, you’ll probably like this one, but don’t hold out any hope for character development or dialogue.
Athos quotes a line from The Princess Bride (the “anyone who says otherwise is selling something” one); the Duke of Buckingham quotes Sherlock Holmes with “the game is afoot”; and the King of France even drops one of the most famous movie lines ever when he calls the musketeers the “usual suspects.” Blatant references to movies that won’t exist for another two hundred years are anachronisms, and unlike the airships, they aren’t even cool ones.
Aside from the stolen bits, most of the dialogue is of the clichéd variety, with lines like “look at what the cat dragged in.” I didn’t notice anything that was both original and clever, and this lazy writing was the most annoying element of the film.
The music, in contrast, is excellently swashbuckling. It accompanies the terrible dialogue so well that it makes the dialogue seem even worse.
D’Artagnan, the young hero of the story, comes across as a bit of a jerk at the beginning, when he meets each of the musketeers by challenging them all to duels for various minor insults that any gentleman would brush off easily. D’Artagnan then proceeds to receive no character development, just like everyone else in the movie.
The actual plot, except for the failure to develop its characters, isn’t bad. It’s certainly suitable for an action movie which mostly exists in order to package up as many explosions and fight scenes as possible. Just don’t expect the original source material to be honored. As one critic, Anders Wotzke, puts it, “Alexander Dumas isn’t merely turning in his grave, he’s half way through re-enacting ‘Thriller’.”
There are some glaring mistakes, like a scene with a chess game that manages to break a rule of chess despite only showing three moves. Chess doesn’t even have many rules to break: it would be harder to get it wrong in real life. This is probably due to shoddy researching on the writers’ part.
The acting really isn’t great, with one exception: Arthos, the leader of the Musketeers, is played with aplomb by Matthew Macfadyen. His lines are constantly delivered with an air of sarcastic amusement much needed in the film. Sarcasm makes everything better.
Also deserving a mention is Orlando Bloom’s role as the Duke of Buckingham. He’s an evil fop, a role that Orlando Bloom appears born to play. I hope he continues looking for villain roles in the future.
The Three Musketeers’ official facebook page recently posted a quote:”As a lover and connoisseur of high-quality productions, I rejoiced!” It’s from a facebook fan. The fact that the movie has turned to random people on the internet for praise points towards its true audience: anyone who isn’t a movie critic. The film has a 24% on Rotton Tomatoes, but it should be noted that one of the positive reviews is actually a mislabeled review of Paranormal Activity 3. But to be fair, the Facebook page is still selective enough to pick someone who can use the word “connoisseur” correctly, so that’s impressive.
Alternate titles for this review:
The Three Musketeers: Action and Dialogue Could Have Been Written by 12-Year-Old
The Three Musketeers: All Action, Little Intelligence
The Three Musketeers: It’s Hollywood, Guys!
The Three Musketeers: Staying Home and Clipping Your Toenails is Also an Option
The Three Musketeers: No
The Three Musketeers: At Least Orlando Bloom is a Villain This Time
The Three Musketeers: All the Action of a Caffeinated Steampunk Monkey And All the Intelligence of One, Too.