There are certain movies that should never be referred to as “films.” They are a disgrace to the medium, and seem to me like a waste of money for both the financier and the theater-goer. It’s a waste of money for the financier, because although they might rake a profit, the movies are nothing to be proud of, and are in fact downright shameful to produce. It’s a waste of time for the theater-goer, because the movie probably makes them dumber. I’ve seen two of Paul W.S. Anderson’s, ‘Three Musketeers,’ director’s, movies. The one I saw last year, ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife,’ should never be referred to as a film, and neither should this year’s ‘The Three Musketeers.’
Going into the movie, I thought that because it was based on a classic book by Alexandre Dumas, maybe it wouldn’t be as awful as Resident Evil. But alas, the movie is not an adaption, but an odious and loose “reinterpretation.”
The plot is convoluted to the point of ludicrousness, so much so that I could spend all the space I have trying to explain the various facets of it. It stars Matthew Macfadyen, Ray Stevenson and Luke Evans as the Three Musketeers—Athos, Porthos and Aramis, respectively. After the Musketeers are disbanded by the King’s minister Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz), the Musketeers try to win back the favor of the teenage King Louis XIII (Freddie Fox) of France. They are also trying to seek out revenge upon Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich in her typical wooden fashion) and upon the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom always with a sword in his hand) musketeers’ plan is to steal back the diamonds that Milady stole from Queen Anne (Juno Temple) and gave to Buckingham on Richlieu’s orders in the hopes that it would provoke war between England and France as a result of the fabricated affair between the Queen and Buckingham.
I told you it was convoluted.
In place of actual character development, or any good performances, Anderson has each character proclaim their reasons for actions. None of the actors even appear to be trying. Especially Matthew Macfayden, who seems to be delivering his lines as if he was the stand-in for the actual Athos. Academy Award Winner Christoph Waltz’s performance didn’t seem awful, but it was hard for his talent to shine while uttering the abhorrent dialogue.
The movie indulges in over-the-top fantasy. I found myself saying “that would never happen” so often that it was impossible to suspend my disbelief. There is a scene where Milady limbo-skates through Leonardo Da Vinci’s booby-trapped vault with hundreds of spiked metal balls shooting from the walls and not one of them does as much as graze her dress for the 25-yard-long slide.
‘The Three Musketeers’ is very clearly just a tent pole movie–a movie that is made primarily for profits—like 2010’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ where the producers attempt to draw the audience in through spectacle and gimmicks like 3D, and forget about the things that actually matter: good writing, directing and acting.
The most evident shortfall is that ‘The Three Musketeers’ never builds to a climax, and will assuredly have the viewers finding their eyelids a little heavier than when they stepped into the theater. It is an action-filled yawn-fest of horrendous performances and cheap thrills.