There are some tales you can bank on being adapted on a regular basis until the end of time, even if recent events have hinted that maybe Bram Stoker’s Dracula should take some time out from its repeated live-action reinventions, something that could also arguably be leveled towards Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers.
The literary classic had already been the subject of 27 feature-length adaptations before Paul W.S. Anderson decided to deviate from making substandard video game movies to focus his attention on making substandard historical epics instead. And yet, another film based on the exact same story was released earlier this year, and it’s only the first half of a two-parter.
That’s without even mentioning the multitude of TV shows or other content derived from the sequels, either, but the star-studded and deliberately anachronistic steampunk spin is by far the most expensive after coming in at a cost of $75 million. Was it worth the investment? Based on nothing but a lukewarm box office haul of $132 million and reviews that could very generously be described as unenthusiastic, “no” would be the operative word.
There’s lashings of visual splendor and a couple of memorable set pieces sprinkled throughout, but all in all The Three Musketeers with the biggest budget is well-placed to state its case as the most forgettable, hardly ideal considering the enormous sums of cash funneled into what was clearly intended to be the beginning of a franchise.
This sort of far-fetched escapism always has a shelf life on streaming, though, which helps explain why Anderson’s dud is currently buckling swashes as one of ViaPlay’s most-watched efforts, per FlixPatrol.