The story of The Three Musketeers, based on Alexandre Dumas’ novel, has seen a fair share of updates over the years. The most recent before this one being quite some time ago in the compelling story of The Man in the Iron Mask, which was released almost 15 years ago. It was clear that a re-development of the characters was in order, but this film may have missed a very viable mark in potential film history.
In this version of the classic tale, we meet a trio of weathered musketeers (Matthew MacFadyen, Ray Stevenson and Luke Evans) that are at their wits end with the French government. They remain loyal to the crown but under the young monarchy they are cast aside by sinister forces trying to control the king. When a young boy named D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) arrives in Paris, they experience a renewed sense of duty and heed the call to once again protect the country from war.
The Three Musketeers has quite a loyal following and if the film was developed properly it could have been a successful endeavor. However, the plot consistently felt like it was lacking the spirit which has been most often inflated with the characters Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D’Artagnan.
Some of the updates implemented here serve to exponentially differentiate the film from the source material, but that’s not always a bad thing. Using a female villain was a splendid choice although, she deeply resembled another female protagonist in contemporary film based on historical literature, Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) from the recent update of Sherlock Holmes. While Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) makes an excellent bad guy, she doesn’t hold a torch to the Adler character and I couldn’t help but to keep comparing the two.
As for a love story, the case of the young King Louie (Freddie Fox) and Queen Anne (Juno Temple) adds a sweet touch to the material. The outrageous nature of the king and his frivolousness is balanced nicely by his desire to connect with his wife on a deeper level. Her mutual desire to love him is adorable. That being said, this love story is not to be outdone by a young D’Artagnan and his encounter with a stunning blond that steals his affections – also adding a bit of romance to propel the plot. Alternately, the betrayal that Athos experiences at the hands of Milady creates this dynamic level that actually adds significantly to the underbelly of the story.
One thing that I’d like to point out is that while Orlando Bloom makes a delightful villain, his character seemed underdeveloped as it was difficult to despise him. He actually exhibited some very charming personality traits that override his evil ways. I found him particularly amusing – especially his over-the-top mustache and grin.
All in all, the film feels underdeveloped, both in plot and characters and in the succession of Three Musketeer films, it is unable to compete with those already established in the minds of audiences.
The Blu-Ray is scant when it comes to special features. It includes the standard commentary with the director Paul W.S. Anderson option, some deleted scenes, and an picture-in-picture documentary titled ‘Access: Three Musketeers.’
The documentary is quite entertaining and makes up for the lack of other special features. You can watch the movie while pop-ups direct you to behind-the-scenes action that add to your experience. There are settings for this extra to customize for your viewing pleasure: Ultimate Access, Cast & Crew, The Look, 17th Century Action, Fight Meter, and Did You Know? The best option of course is the ultimate access one, but if you are looking for a specific angle on the material you have several choices.
If you are looking for a disc with stunning visual qualities, look no further. The movie is shot beautifully and every scene takes on a quality that outdoes the previous one. The colors and costumes work hand-in-hand to draw you in and almost makes you forget the poor plot development. On the flip side, the sound was something to be desired. The score was overwhelming in comparison to the dialogue, which was often muffled.
Overall, the disc is pretty good but the film is not a whole lot more than mindless action. It’s pretty to look at and often entertaining but the plot is flimsy and characters are poorly developed. This may be a different re-telling of the classic novel but it’s not the certainly not the best one.
While the film is visually appealing it can't quite make up for the plot, which consistently seems to lack.