Sunday, October 23, 2011

Review - The Three Musketeers (2011)

“There were four of us, against forty of them.”

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: Ray Stevenson, Orlando Bloom, Christoph Waltz, Milla Jovovich
Writing: Alex Litvak and Andrew Davies

I can remember watching the 1993 version of The Three Musketeers and just having so much fun with it. Crammed with awesome actors it remains a corner stone of my favourite childhood movies. Going into this movie I was hoping to have the same sense of fun captured. Say what you want about Paul W.S. Anderson but he has made some entertaining movies, and a genuine horror classic (in my opinion) in the form of Event Horizon. So this couldn’t be all that bad right?

Well I may be over selling this a little, but after two hours of this movie I wanted to claw my eyes out and erase any memory of this movie. Unless another movie comes along and craps in my shoes, I think I’ve got my worst movie of the year right here. The greatest shame is that there are some good things in this movie that tease at what could have been.

Starting with the acting I’m going to highlight possibly my favourite thing in the entire movie. Orlando Bloom plays one the villain Bukingham and he was my favourite thing in the movie. Never been that big a fan of Orlando Bloom but he is perfect as the moustache twirling British bastard. He engulfs his entire persona in this smarmy charm; it was just fun to watch him. Bloom beats out Christoph Waltz in the bad guy department, which is astounding as Waltz is a great actor. But Waltz just plays Cardinal Richelieu a little too seriously which doesn’t work in a fun adventure. On the hero side of things Ray Stevenson has a great time as Porthos and I would have loved if he was the main character. Logan Lerman as D’Artagan isn’t bad, and while wasn’t my cup of tea he at least tries, and is successful in giving the audience a hero to get behind. Everyone else is either really bad, or just seems bored of being in the movie. I could go into the individuals but honestly the bad acting was probably caused by the other problems.

This script is truly awful and the main reason why this movie is so bad. No matter the actors or director this thing was rotten at the core. The musketeer’s adventure doesn’t really kick in until maybe half way through the movie which leaves me scratching my head. Instead there seems to be a focus on Milla Jovovich’s character Milady and a lot of side stories that never really pay off. In the case of Milady there could be some great story work with Milady and the musketeer Athos. Yet the character conflict is paid lip service and when the story beat happens where the audience is supposed to care, there is no connection. It comes off pointless and a waste of time. Instead of any true story development the audience is given music cues. Every time the heroic music swell occurred I rolled my eyes as the moment was never earned. Sad music? Really? I don’t feel sad movie. There is some lazy movie crafting going on here.

Now this movie was filmed in 3D and it is one of the better 3D movies out there, it was never too dark, or blurry. It looked good, and some of the action scenes were exciting. Still there are some visual choices that just seemed like padding in a movie that is lacking focus. Directing wise the movie is as choppy and unfocused as the script. I also can’t help but feel that Paul W.S. Anderson might have put more focus on Milla because they are married, rather than finding the character interesting. The only reason I bring this up, as it might give some insight into the directorial choices of Anderson.

Overall this movie is a mess. There is no solid focus on the various stories happening, dialogue is awful with some lines sounding like they were stolen directly from other movies. Visually the movie looks good, but that doesn’t help the experience of watching this movie. Even if there were free tickets to this movie I would decline them, and instead go and watch the 1993 version.

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