The movie’s poster accurately sums up the movie. D’Artagnan front and center, with the shrunken versions of the heroes three, trying to fight the battle while D’Artagnan vogues. Milady DeWinter (Mila Jovovich) is overacting* in background, with Buckingham and Richilieu demonstrating their one facial expression. (*Jovovich somehow manages to overact while employing only three facial expressions: a leer, a sneer, and an eyebrow twitch. It’s rather amazing.)
The basic premise of the movie is this: Arthos (Luke Evans), Porthos (Ray Stevenson) and Aramis (Mathew MacFayden) are down-on-their luck Musketeers. D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) is the arrogant country boy who comes to city to be a Musketeer and have adventures. As soon as he arrives in Paris, he starts picking fights with everyone he encounters, including the Musketeers and the one-eyed villainous Rochefort (Mads Mikkelson). Soon after, the three Musketeers adopt D’Artagnan into their ranks because…why? I guess the part of annoying, teenage protégé hadn’t been taken yet.
The three and their idiot boy wonder soon uncover a plot by Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) and the Lady DeWinter to provoke a war with England. The dastardly plan is to plant evidence to suggest that Queen Anne (Juno Temple) is having an affair with England’s Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). This plot device is predicated on the hope that the viewer will believe that King Louise (Freddie Fox)–the foppiest fop in the history of fop–is heterosexual and that he gives a rat’s fuzzy little butt about Anne’s bed partners.
The race is on to recover the evidence and save France from an apocalypse. Yes, “apocalypse.” That’s the word used in the movie’s introductory voice over. The hyperbole, along with the theft of visual elements from other movies, is strong with this one.
The Three Musketeers is the kind of awful that leaves a viewer wondering if the director, W.S. Anderson (he of Aliens vs. Predator), watched Battlefield Earth, and thought, “You think that’s bad, get a load of this!” OTOH, this is another so-much-snark-so little time kind of movie.
For example, we are first introduced to D’Artagnan as he prepares to leave his lovely little French village. His parents send him off with a bag of money and a horse. “Your mount will be Buttercup,” says his dad. My DH and I had just watched The Princess Bride the night before, so you can well imagine the adolescent snickers that provoked. “The Dread Pirate Roberts will not be amused.”
Then there’s the bit where we learn that Aramis is a glorified meter maid, wandering the streets of Paris, giving horses tickets for shitting. Orlando Bloom’s pompadour earned a “The Stray Cats called, they want their hair back.”
Hubby and I also pondered imponderables such as why do the French speak with English accents? I mean, the two countries were at each other throats. You’d think the French might be disinclined to sound like they grew up in the seedier parts of London.
The best moment in the whole movie comes when D’Artagnan challenges Rochefort to a duel. He pulls out his sword and does a swishy thing to show that he knows where to direct the pointy end. Without any fanfare, Rochefort, a la Indiana Jones, pulls out a gun and shoots D’Artagnan. Winning!
The airships are, of course, really cool, and the overall look of the movie is just gorgeous, crafted from a vivid color palette and bold designs.
In fact, had this actually been a movie about The Three Musketeers, it wouldn’t have been half bad. When they’re allowed to speak, MacFadyen, Stevenson, and Evans, are amiable enough in their roles. Unfortunately, the script brings on the “twee” by making a boy-child the protagonist. Fifteen-year-old girls may be oblivious to Logan Lerman’s wooden acting–because, blue eyes!–but to anyone else it’s apparent that the poor lad is a graduate summa cum laude of the George Lucas school of acting. His romance with Anne’s lady-in-waiting is utterly tepid. Set two bottles of filtered water next to each other and you’d have more chemistry.
Oh, and the funniest point in the movie? The epilogue, which presumes to set up a sequel to this stinker.
The Three Musketeers is a beautiful disaster.