Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast: Logan Lerman, Matthew Macfadyen, Orlando Bloom, Milla Jovovich, Christoph Waltz, Ray Stevenson, Mads Mikkelsen, Luke Evans, Juno Temple
RunTime: 1 hr 50 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG (Some Violence)
Official Website: http://www.threemusketeers-movie.com/
Opening Day: 26 October 2011
Synopsis: The hot-headed young D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman) joins forces with three rogue Musketeers (Matthew MacFadyen, Luke Evans and Ray Stevenson) in this reboot of Alexandre Dumas' story. They must stop the evil Richlieu (Christoph Waltz) and face off with Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) and the treacherous Milady (Milla Jovovich). The action adventure is given a state of the art update in 3-D.
Like a car wreck, there's a constant fascination about the dazzling "The Three Musketeers" that defies critical logic. Visually anachronistic and with a penchant for narrative whiplash, director Paul W.S. Anderson is in his truest element as a filmmaker that knows the value of fracturing the attention span of audiences for maximum distraction. There's no denying the visual energy on display here as the story purposefully eschews Alexandre Dumas' classic narrative and instead relies on a reimagining of its characters and their quest. This is not altogether sacrilegious given the novel's scores of adaptation throughout the years (hitting its creative peak in a 1973 iteration by Richard Lester) and Anderson does make the most out of creating something organically viable in the story's 17th century setting by introducing a steampunk element.
Its story does do its solid allusion to its namesake throughout its first act when it introduces its trio of heroes -- Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Aramis (Luke Evans), and Porthos (Ray Stevenson) as they eventually team up with the young country bumpkin, d'Artagnan (Logan Lerman). Then it veers off into something quite different. Still somewhat keeping with the book, there's a necklace that needs to be recovered from Da Vinci's vault. And In its most showy and repurposed role, Anderson employs his muse, his wife and star of his biggest franchise, Milla Jovovich of the Resident Evil films as the sensational Milady De Winter -- her best role in quite some time. The musketeers team up with the duplicitous De Winter who promptly runs off to the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom), who is in cahoots with the Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) building warships with plans stolen from Da Vinci's vault.
Anderson does set the pieces up for a film tailor-made for his sensibilities (as well as taking the pulse of many a teenage boy around the world) to provide a visceral thrill. Technologically impressive, his latest film makes full use 3D to create a compelling feast for the eyes while keeping its characters notably 2D. It's a beautiful movie to look at -- its frame is busy and creates a sense of substance even when there's nothing substantial about the story or characters. It supplants what it lacks with a wanton verve and an emphasis on action set-pieces. But it has to be said, this can only endear it to certain audiences looking for mindless weekend beguilement and immediately repulse those looking to recapture some sort of nostalgia from its classic tale. There's a sense that Anderson anticipated this expectation and makes a good go of giving audiences quite decently choreographed scenes of swashbuckling tempered with the requisite amount of airship battles to complement his directorial brand of "action first, story later".
Anderson is one of the most commercial of directors working today and by that logic, one of the most important filmmakers in the industry. There's a sense of cinematic tone and a visual ballet that he nails in his films. He works from genre and concepts rather than labour his particular talents with emotional and intellectual idealism. "The Three Musketeers" is overly ripe at times and unmistakably absurd but there's more to this film than just the sum of its parts, it's a work of showmanship that edges closer to a filtered dreamscape than a jaunt through classicism.
(A superior time-waster -- if that's what you're looking for that is)
Review by Justin Deimen