Another Three Musketeers movie. The producers were having a brainstorming session one day and one of them jokingly said, “You know what we haven’t had in a few years? A Three Musketeers movie!” Then another one chimes in with “Oooh, and this time there will be maximum CGI and make it in 3D so we can up the price on the suckers who actually see this thing in a theater.” Or, perhaps Paul W.S. Anderson got tired of making Resident Alien 12 and wanted to take a break.
For this new iteration of a very old story, Hollywood didn’t even break a sweat this time. The Three Musketeers, Athos (Matthew MacFadyen), Porthos (Ray Stevenson), and Aramis (Luke Evans) are down on their luck and drinking heavily in Paris after they were betrayed on their last job by Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) and the dastardly Duck of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) breezes into town from the countryside ready for adventure and there you have it, everyone is ready once again to go through the motions of the Musketeers.
Poor Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz). In history, he is credited with creating the modern nation-state and truly putting France on the map as a world power. Unfortunately, whenever a Musketeers movie comes out, he is the sinister wizard behind the curtain pulling the strings of the young King Louis (Freddie Fox). What is Christoph Waltz doing in this movie? He won an Oscar two years ago for Inglourious Basterds and could pick his next scripts. He picked this one? I know actors say it is also more fun to play the villain, but why a cartoon character?
Most of the cast in this film play their characters as cartoons. Orlando Bloom, Logan Lerman, and Freddie Fox are the worst offenders. Just because the script is horrible and the dialogue is atrocious does not give you license to pretend you’re in a pantomime theater. The relentless overacting, menacing scowls, and campy one-liners from these three are appalling. The Musketeers themselves actually play their characters with purpose and a level of seriousness, except for Ray Stevenson. MacFadyen and Luke Evans are actually quite good as Athos and Aramis and it is a shame their talents are weighted down with the rest of the cast who are taking a break from their careers here.
Most of the action and movement in The Three Musketeers is special effects laden and every now and then the script allows for an actual scene of dialogue or a sword fighting scene which appears to have not been shot in front a green screen. These are very brief though and then are interrupted with ridiculous looking air ships which have the world’s first air to air engagement on top of Notre Dame. As the film dragged on, I became thankful for these preposterous action scenes just to take the screen away from D’Artagnan, the Duke of Buckingham, and the worst offender of them all, the young King Louis.
Also, because The Three Musketeers is intent in failing in every single aspect it can, it ends with one of those horrible scenes which set it up for a sequel; that is if this one makes enough money the first time around.