The classic measure to the Musketeer movie is, of course, the 1973 version with Michael York, Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, etc. That one gets 10 for 10 for following the storyline, great casting, great pacing, and wonderfully choreographed sword-play.
Since then, there have been several excretable versions of this classic tale, most of them having nothing to do with the original.
The Three Musketeers (2011) is not a bad little version. I wouldn’t want to see it with literate friends but it’s fun enough. Its a rather steampunky affair (the 1973 version had a spring dagger in the hilt of a sword and wonderful glass daggers filled with acid). Now we have underwater armored suits, multi-barrel pistols, amazing spring-loaded, tumble spinning locks, and airships. Yes, airships.
I’ll give that it was entertaining – Porthos, Athos and Aramis all looked and acted like I would expect them to be (I actually prefer this Athos (described by Dumas as a giant of a man) against his foppish 1973 version). D’artagan comes off a little too cocky (I suppose he is the character the teens in the audience are suppose to relate to, and you can’t have him as the shy version of legend and 1973). Milady is an action figure. Lord Buckingham comes off as a greasy pompadoured villain. The jury is still out on Cardinal Richelieu – he looked the part, but how can such an ordained figure say, “Yep”?
It was interesting, though. They vaguely followed the plot – I found myself thinking that if the book (and ’73 film) were filet mignon, this was like a stew with chucks of that meat floating in it. The diamond studs? Yes. The frenzied ride to London? Yes. The wonderful meeting of the four (where their duel is interrupted by the Cardinals’ guards). Yes. But for that last scene, instead of eight guards against three musketeers (“Nay, four, for I am a musketeer in heart!”), this time it’s forty mooks who get polished off embarisingly fast.
The swordplay (especially the end battle between D’artagan and Rochefort) was very well staged and placed far enough back to allow us to appreciate the action. Points for that.
I had to smile at the blatant Star Trek II rip-off – a small airship is being chased by a larger one into a thunderstorm. Athos looks back as they exchange chasers. “I’ll give him this: he’s persistent”. The good guys actually use the “Z vector” to beat the villians.
Anyway, overall, fun flick, but give up the idea that this one is going to add anything significant to the Musketeer legend. This is just a Sunday afternoon flick – just toss your memory of it into the trash with the popcorn bag and drink cup.