Judge David Johnson is all for himself.
Our reviews of Literary Classics Collection (published April 5th, 2007), The Three Musketeers (1966) (published September 20th, 2006), and The Three Musketeers / The Four Musketeers (published June 1st, 2010) are also available.
All for one, and one for all.
Paul W.S. Anderson's take on the legendary tale of fencing and boots involves flamethrowers, anachronistic fighter blimps, and Milla Jovovich downshirts, making Disney's 1993 adaptation look like an AFI Top 100.
Facts of the Case
Sidelined by The Prince while he deals with political instability, The Three Musketeers—Athos (Matthew Macfadyen, Death at a Funeral), Porthos (Ray Stevenson, Rome), and Aramis (Luke Evans, Immortals)—have been out of the musketeering business for a while. But the boys get back into the game, when a spirited young buck named D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief) joins their ranks and leads them to the discovery of a threat: an incoming attack by the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End) and his killer airship.
Swordplay, slow-motion mortal combat, and an endless supply of painful line reads ensue.
My fleeting memories of the trailers and marketing for The Three Musketeers revealed a potentially interesting action movie; low-impact with elements that could make it fun, specifically those crazy death blimps. While I've found Anderson's previous efforts to be universally lamentable, I'm willing to wipe the slate clean if a good time is delivered.
It wasn't. This movie is terrible.
Frantic, yet boring; stylized, yet dull. I didn't matter how many times Jovovich leapt through the air in slow motion, I couldn't conjure a molecule of interest. Not only is the action disappointing, but the lameness is oh so lame. A character actually says "I would challenge you to a battle of wits but I see you're unarmed"…and that's not event he worst dialogue uttered.
D'Artagnan is the focal point, with the other Musketeers relegated to support duty. The only problem: D'Artagnan is a supreme dink. Logan Lerman plays him like a cocky hotshot a-hole who'd get kicked in the balls by a donkey in a Disney movie, and it's hard to not vigorously root for the little snot to get impaled with a rapier. Amazingly, he's out-douched by Orlando Bloom who, as the villain, opted to swap "malevolent and sneering" for "preening and punch-worthy." Seriously, this performance is so bad it nukes all that Legolas goodwill in one swift move.
The Three Musketeers is a movie that should have a lot of action, but there are only a couple sword-fightings and some CGI-laden airship battles which are more surreal than thrilling. Of the two blade-centric outings, only one is noteworthy: in a well-choreographed bout, The Musketeers murder a couple dozen royal guards and get off with a wrist-slap, natch. Point awarded. Then there's the final fight between D'Artagnan and the Big Bad…atop a church steeple? About as believable as the Anakin/Obi-Wan fight on the lava planet, and just as steeped in CGI. Point removed.
The movie might be tough to swallow, but The Three Musketeers (Blu-ray) is a winner. The 2.35:1/1080p (AVC-encoded) transfer is gorgeous. Anderson might make dumb movies, but he fills them with eye candy and lush period detail, allowing the HD treatment to flex its muscles. Special effects work suffers from the enhanced clarity, but it's not like you can make flying sailing ships look real so whatever. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is suitably noisy, loud, and engulfing during the big moments.
Bonus features are impressive, starting with a robust in-movie experience that serves up interviews, a running body count, trivia, and behind-the-scenes footage. Featurettes follow, focused on Orlando Bloom's ridiculous character, the modernization of The Musketeers story, the effects (Anderson laughably claims to love shooting with as much practical elements as possible), and location shooting (Bavaria). Lastly, some forgettable extended/deleted scenes and an audio commentary from Anderson.
The Three Musketeers (2011) is as empty a calorie experience as a Three Musketeers candy bar.
Guilty. Run them through!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Summit Entertainment
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