First off, when you go to the cinema to see “The Three Musketeers”, you have to do it with the right expectations. If you want to see a historically correct movie that sticks close to the novel, you’ll definitely be disappointed. If you want to see an entertaining “popcorn movie”, you can spend 110 entertaining minutes at the cinema. This is what the movie wants to be, not more and not less.
Not being historically accurate, this action-laden approach at the story works as a movie universe for itself. While the explanation for the airships appearing in the movie is rather weak, it still is acceptable if you don’t strain your braincells too much when logic and laws of physics get strained. In the world of this movie, just take it as a fact that they managed to make them stay in the air in the 17th century.
So I bought a bag of popcorn and waited for the movie to start.
I’m reviewing the 3D version of the movie for you.
While Paul W.S. Anderson would not even come remotely close to being on my list of favourite directors, this movie is by far his best work. Most of the time, the 3D is used well, except for some scenes when too much is going on on the screen with too fast cuts which makes it hard to follow the action. Using 3D requires a different way of cutting than 2D. Too fast cuts make it hard to follow and stress your eyes. Especially when there’s much to look at, a longer shot at one scene is called for. Not having adapted the editing of the movie to 3D seems to be an universal problem still as it’s a fairly new technology that needs its time to become perfect.
The 3D effects however are very clean. It especially elevates the beautiful locations which have a great feeling of depth, like you’d actually be looking down that hallway. For some action scenes however, less would have been more. The slowdowns shown in the trailer weren’t used as much as I feared they would be and remained acceptable.
The plot is quickly told. D’Artagnan sets out to be a Musketeer like his father and travels to Paris. His major problem is that he frequently forgets to think before acting which gets him into trouble soon enough. He meets the Musketeers and they discover Cardinal Richelieu plotting against the king who is still more or a boy than a man. I don’t want to give away too much, but the story won’t be hard to follow.
The locations are beautiful, you will love to see those old castles in 3D. Also the costumes used in this movie are splendid and look really great. The extras used in the movie fill the scenes with life, probably a great experience for them to appear in the movie.
The characters are entertaining although the character of D’Artagnan remains a bit shallow and isn’t very likable from the beginning. He runs into trouble without using his head but at least keeps the story going. Portraying the Musketeers as characters who also have their flaws is an interesting approach. Some viewers might complain about the king being childish and naive, but that’s important for the story itself and what would you expect from somebody who never had a chance to grow into his title because he had to accept it at young age?
The character of Mylady might also be a source of complaint, most likely coming from male viewers. Yes, it wasn’t common for women in the 17th century to do that much, but does it matter for this universe? No. Mylady gets her share of action and that’s fine. I prefer female character that actually do something in action movies rather than being just a tool and subject for the male hero to be saved.
The Duke of Buckingham is funny and entertaining and Rochefort is what you’d expect him to be.
Of course, the most interesting character in the story is Cardinal Richelieu. Staying in the background, he plots against the king, aiming to get the crown, and lets others do the work for him. Whilst playing the king’s loyal adviser who only wants the best for France. He known when to act, when to keep quiet and when to retreat. Even though he is not doing all too much, you know that he’s dangerous.
Which leads us to the actors. Christoph is great in this movie. Although his character doesn’t get as much screen time as the Musketeers, his character lingers over them for the entire length of the movie. The way his character is dangerous without him doing much is awesome. He never uses violence himself but still you know that you shouldn’t joke with them. He has an aura of power around him that calls for respect and being really careful if it’s not your side he’s on. Although he’s always carefully working on his plan, he’s never showing emotions that could reveal him. This is exactly how I pictured Richelieu to be. An intelligent man of power who plots instead of just trying to kill the Musketeers in a profane duel. That would just be below his standards. I don’t want to spoil, but he’s a man with a smart plan.
Orlando Bloom surely orientated his character on Johnny Depp’s performance in “Pirates of the Caribbean”. His bad guy is entertaining rather than just being plain evil. You can tell he had a lot of fun shooting the movie.
Being married to the director probably helped Milla Jovovich getting the part of Mylady. The character suits her way of acting well though. Mylady can’t let her feelings betray her on her mission which helps Jovovich who isn’t that adept in displaying feelings in her acting.
Mads Mikkelsen as Rochefort does a good job as well playing him like you’d expect Rochefort to be.
Logan Lerman wasn’t given much of a character development for D’Artagnan, but makes a good job out of it. The juvenile way of acting before thinking is executed well.
The Three Musketeers with their actors Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans and Matthew Macfadyen are entertaining and have really good moments. Evans as Aramis has more options to development his character and makes a good job out of it.
The additional cast fit in well and add their share to the movie.
“The Three Musketeers” surely isn’t a cinematic masterpiece that will be remembered for centuries, but it is really good entertainment. If you can get into Musketeers mixed with airship battles, you won’t leave the cinema disappointed.
I for myself have enjoyed watching 3M, especially Christoph’s performance.