'Three Musketeers' movie has lots of action but not much substance
'The Three Musketeers' is a fun over-the-top spectacle, but don't look for anything more.
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Did I mention there are airships involved?Skip to next paragraph
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This “updated” adaptation of Dumas’ work is pretty flimsy, but the actors playing the characters seem to know this, and rise to the challenge of making it all light and fun. They accomplish this by throwing themselves into their roles with a shoulder shrug and a sense of hammy abandon. Stevenson, Bloom, and Lerman all play their characters over the top (Evans is good in the straight-man slot), and thankfully the script is mostly a string of action sequences punctuated by scenes of the characters trading quick one-liners and sarcastic jokes. Freddie Fox provides visual gags via the flamboyant (and ridiculous) costumes worn by the silly King Louis, and you almost feel pitty for James Corden as the Musketeers’ mistreated (downright abused) squire, Planchet.
Jovovich looks like she’s having a ball working with her hubby (Anderson), and once again puts on her Resident Evil action persona to get down and dirty with the boys. Christoph Waltz, on the other hand, once again plays a weird and offbeat villain, as he has done famously in Inglourious Basterds and not-so-famously in Green Hornet. The only two actors who seem to take things seriously are Mads Mikkelsen as Rochefort and Mattehew Macfadyen as Athos. Macfadyen is handed the only dramatic weight in the film (Athos is in a state of melancholy since Milady broke his heart), and the actor has the skill to carry it. Mikkelsen is playing the sort of badass warrior he did in Valhalla - the type you wouldn’t want to mess with, instead of wanting to giggle at.
Anderson has been a big proponent of 3D since James Cameron’s Avatar came along, and here uses the effect in a much smarter, more effective way than he did in the much-hyped Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D. Instead of “pop-out” gimmicks, Three Musketeers uses the draw-you-in immersive 3D effect that Cameron employed so well in Avatar. Granted, shots of old European architecture and landscapes aren’t exactly a thrilling use of 3D, but many of the film’s set pieces are truly spectacular and the 3D helps to accent all the gorgeous details in every shot.
In terms of action scenes: sword fights and fancy acrobatics aren’t any more exciting when filmed in 3D, but things are bound to go over-the-top in an Anderson film, and that point in Three Musketeers comes when the “airship” battles start to ensue during the movie’s climax. You have to give 3D ticket buyers some kind of bang for their buck, and when dealing with a story set in the 17th century, Da Vinci-designed airships are about as much as you can get away with, I guess… All in all, this 3D film is more than a cheap gimmick, but is far from mind-blowing.
The Three Musketeers is a good remedy for anyone looking for mindless-but-harmless 3D action movie fun. Whether or not there’s an audience looking for mindless-but-harmless 3D action movie fun in a period setting is another question altogether…
Kofi Outlaw blogs at Screen Rant.
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