Lamar Reviews: The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers (2011)


Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Screenplay by Alex Litvak and Andrew Davies

Logan Lerman as D’Artagnan
Milla Jovovich as Milady de Winter
Matthew Macfayden as Athos
Ray Stevenson as Porthos
Luke Evans as Aramis
Orlando Bloom as Duke of Buckingham
Christoph Waltz as Richelieu

Rated PG-13 for sequences of adventure action violence

Reviewed by Lamar Kukuk


There are two kinds of movies I love: those that give me tremendous intellectual stimulation and those that give me tremendous escapism. I feel bad for folks who “outgrow” their childhood love of adventure and daring-do:  far better to broaden the scope of what you appreciate over time than to simply shift from one ideological corner to another, I say. And so while there’s no question that the bulk of my favorite movies of any given year will now tend to be the kind that would have bored me to tears before adulthood, I’m happy to still have a place in my heart to sincerely love a movie like Paul W.S. Anderson’s 3D steampunk take on The Three Musketeers.

As much a Jules Verne-spiced remake of Disney’s popular 1993 Musketeers flick as a true reimagining of the Alexandre Dumas source material, Anderson’s movie delivers exactly what you would ask for from a 3D version of the classic story: unabashed crowd-pleasing action adventure fun. A large cast of familiar faces, most of whom you’ll know you know from somewhere, delivers the goods in the familiar roles, while Anderson’s effects team comes up with some crazy stuff that’s really worth seeing. Given that it includes Athos and Rochefort battling it out at the controls of flying pirate ships, The Three Musketeers has one of the most honest “You know who you are” trailers in recent memory. Take heed, and if it looks like your kind of thing, get ready for a really good time.

The Three Musketeers are challenged only by Robin Hood as the most durable of swashbuckling characters because their fun-loving camaraderie and “One for all and all for one” code are the epitome of what you want out of people who fight for justice with a sword.  Anderson and his writers Alex Litvak and Andrew Davies give them a dusting of modernization for our times, weary in equal parts of the divine rights of the powerful and the alleged glory of war. Macfayden, Stevenson and Evans do a fine job of balancing the swashbuckling heroism we demand with just a smidgen of weariness, while Lerman does what he always does so well, making what could be an annoying “give me a call when you’ve seen a little of life, kid” character fun. Waltz strikes the right sinister, superior notes as the Cardinal, Fox and Temple make a sweet royal couple in large part because he’s such a sympathetic buffoon, and Jovovich and Bloom are so cheerfully over the top, they own the screen whenever they’re on it. I’d be remiss not to mention Dexter Fletcher and Jane Perry, who have a single wonderful scene as D’Artagnan’s parents.

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