Friday, October 28, 2011

Reel To Reel: The Three Musketeers (2011)

All for one... and if they'd only stopped at one.

Going Rate: Worth matinee price
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Christoph Waltz, Logan Lerman, Matthew MacFadyen, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Mads Mikkelsen
Rated: PG-13
Red Flags: Ye olde swordplay, mild language

I keep waiting for somebody to come up with an 18th Century version of "steampunk," that Victorian flavor of science fiction. This umpteenth remake of Dumas' classic may be as close as Hollywood comes for awhile, with not one but two flying ships sporting 17th-century automatic weapons. Oh yes, there's swordplay.

Director Paul W.S. Anderson's Musketeers are three of France's finest swashbucklers who I gather would align themselves with the other 99 percent. They're out of work, without direction, broke and drinking liberally. But when they get a mission, they're as dangerous as the IMF. Along comes D'Artagnan (Lerman), a young hotshot with a sword, and before long, they're back in action to save France from the sinister plan of Cardinal Richelieu (Waltz). He's aided by Milady De Winter (Jovovich), a limber double agent whose first name leaves one wondering if a bow is required every time it purses the lips.

Enjoying this film requires the kind of suspension of disbelief necessary to enjoy a weekend at the Renaissance Festival, otherwise you'll be left puzzling over the following things:
  • Why is nobody bringing a pistol to a gigantic swordfight in the middle of the picture when we just saw one used a few scenes ago?
  • How can Milady [bowing] De Winter run in that heavy late-Renaissance gown?
  • Where on Earth are the French and English getting the helium for those flying airships? It has to be helium, because you won't see any Hindenburg disasters in this movie. Oh the humanity...
  • How do they steer those things so well without constantly reconfiguring the sails?
  • Why do all these Frenchmen speak with English accents? And why do the Musketeers sound the least French of anybody?
  • Did the French really give out citations for horse droppings?
The Three Musketeers keeps getting remade because people keep seeing it. Or Hollywood invariably thinks it does, notwithstanding its lousy box office take and Jovovich's complaint that the studio is failing to market it. The ending scene all but begs for a sequel. No doubt it will get made.

No comments: