There is no denying it: The Three Musketeers is a terrible movie. I feel that this knowledge should be delivered, from the very beginning, to anyone fond of the fiction of Alexandre Dumas. This is not The Man in the Iron Mask. That said, if you don’t take the film too seriously, seeing The Three Musketeers on the silver screen can be a damn good time.
The film is directed by Paul W.S. Anderson — the same man who brought us Death Race, the Resident Evil series and Event Horizon. The lead is Logan Lerman, as a young D’Artagnan — the fact that the star of Percy Jackson and the Olympians is our protagonist should tip you off to the type of movie this will be. Orlando Bloom plays the sinister Duke of Buckingham (the English bad guy), Christoph Waltz — you know, that guy who won an Oscar for his role as an evil Nazi in Inglorious Basterds — plays Cardinal Richelieu (the French bad guy) and Millia Jovovich plays the double-crossing, ever-mysterious Milady de Winter (the bad guy who is only in it for themselves).
Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans and Ray Stevenson round out the cast playing Athos, Aramis, and Porthos, respectively — the down-on-their-luck three musketeers.
The plot begins simply enough. A young, cocky D’Artagnan leaves home to find the legendary muskeeters. He finds his heros a bit under the weather, and after a scrappy fight scene, Athos, Aramis and Porthos take the young fighter under their shabby wings. D’Artagnan soon developes a crush on a beautiful blonde, Constance, who happens to be a lady-in-waiting to the current queen of France. With pesky forces on both the French and the English front scheming to take over France, D’Artagnan embarks on a dangerous mission as a favour to this new blonde beauty, hoping to save the country from certain war.
Many, many sword fights ensue. And then there is a battle of two war balloons.
There is nothing logical or compelling about the story in this film. There are more holes in the plot than are in the pillow of a porcupine prone to nightmares.
The thing that makes all of this nonsense disappear is that the cast, especially Bloom, know the writing is terrible. The self-conscious way that almost every character delivers their lines turns The Three Musketeers from a dreadful drama into a hilarious comedy.
Twenty minutes into the film, one realizes there is nothing left to do but laugh.
The music swells without shame — the orchestra coming to life during every moment that is even remotely romantic or mildly dramatic. The young King of France and the poor servant boy of the musketeers act as refreshing comic relief. There is no way to explain the magical lapses in time, or the unexplained reparations to an airship totally massacred one shot prior. Laughter, in this film, is definitely the best medicine, and the only way to enjoy The Three Musketeers.
There are many issues within the film, however, that should be addressed.
First and foremost, why does the lovely, but still hopelessly untalented Jovovich get so many lines? Oddly, the three musketeers themselves are probably the least important characters of the film.
Second, in a battle of flying war balloons, why does no one think to shoot a hole in, you know, the balloons?! There is a lot of intense battle, where the crew of each opposing ship blasts dozens of holes into the wooden hulls floating beneath the huge pockets of hot air. It should not take 20 minutes of intense cannon fire to deduce this simplistic logic.
Third, why on Earth was a sequel written into the ending? I won’t spoil it for you, but really, after 110 minutes of eye-watering nonsense, how on Earth could one hope for the money to produce a The Three Musketeers II?
The Three Musketeers is a terrible film. There are, however, a lot of good things about this bad movie; if you are feeling fickly and are willing to be “in on the joke,” this movie is definitely worth the $13. Even discussing the films countless flaws, I am always half smiling.