Alexander Dumas's classic novel ‘The Three Musketeers’, for all those who didn’t know already, is sort of an epic tale about a young peasant eager to join the Kings' three musketeers Athos, Porthos and Aramis. He falls foul of the scheming Cardinal Richelieu and his men while attempting to save the Queen from public scandal, which could lead to an impending battle between France and England.
Hollywood had always had a tendency to alter plots and characters from adventure stories to fit them into adrenaline driven, action packed screenplays, sometimes not so successfully. The 2011 incarnation of The Three Musketeers created by Paul W.S. Anderson is no exception to that propensity.
To begin with, the three musketeers Athos, Aramis and especially Porthos have undergone massive transformations, from being legends to being superheroes. The most inedible transformation however is seen in Milady de Winter, from a villain to ahem, a Ninja, particularly when she pulls of Mission Impossible -like bungee stunts, but of course, if it’s Mila Jovovich portraying Milady, she’d simply do what she’s good at, kicking ass. It would have certainly helped if her stunts were toned down to suit the nature of a woman of that era. Nevertheless, her pretty face and sexy thighs are always a treat to watch.
Another totally pointless alteration was putting a pirate inspired patch on Rochefort, when according to the book he had a scar in his cheek. Christopher Waltz and Orlando Bloom try to salvage their underwritten parts, but it was Luke Evans as Athos who should be credited with adding some substance to the film.
On the brighter side, The Three Musketeers comes as a pleasant surprise after the epic fiasco of the much hyped Resident Evil-Afterlife. Instead of pop outs (like we’ve seen in Transformers), the movie has an Avatar like effect where the onlooker becomes a part of the scene. The fight sequences are decent; the violence is casual and humorous, although some sequences accompanied by the background music appear like a cocktail of Bollywood/Matrix/Sherlock Holmes rip offs. The flying airships forced into the script seem to serve no purpose except the obvious increase of 3D usage.
The plot and the twists are predictable from the very beginning while the accent of the cast dangles somewhere between British and French. The costumes and the sets, well, go unnoticed. Precisely a costume drama meets tried and tested Hollywood action, The Three Musketeers suffer from the familiar malady of being all glitz and no soul. It’s certainly possible to sit through one watch, but feel free to give it a miss, if you will.
-by Parmita Borah