‘The Three Musketeers’ Review


Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Cast: Matthew McFayden, Milla Jovovich, Luke Evans, Ray Stevenson, Orlando Bloom, Mads Mikkelsen, Christoph Waltz

Plot: ‘The Three Musketeers’ is about four Musketeers who have to stop the ‘apocalypse’ of a war between two countries.

Review: If it wasn’t clear from the plot description, this is as dumbed down as Dumas’ work will ever, ever get (we can hope). This is the classic of French literature by the man who brought us four increasingly awful Resident Evil movies, two terrible Aliens vs Predator films and various other crap and this could possible be the worst movie he has ever made. Let that sink in.

The movie begins in Venice with Athos dressed as a ninja, Aramis impersonating Ezio Auditore de Firenze, Porthos being the ‘comic relief’ and Milla Jovovich playing the love interest/partner-in-crime/backstabber/villain. They carry out a major heist, get betrayed and are faced down by their rival, Orlando Bloom, who steals the da Vinci blueprints for flying boats that they’d just stolen themselves.

At this point we’re twenty minutes into the movie so it is a logical time to put all that aside and introduce the main character, a transgendered youth named D’Artagnan who suffers from a mental disability providing he/she from functioning as a normal part of society. This condition manifests itself is anti-social behaviour such as making ludicrous threats, taking offense at imagined slights and making inappropriate sexual advances. He leaves his idyllic home in the country where he’s being raised by Dexter Fletcher and heads to the big city to become a Musketeer. By amazing coincidence he promptly meets each of his three heroes in turn, doesn’t know who any of them are and challenges them to a fight as a result of said imagined insults to him. When they all meet up to fight the misunderstanding is cleared up by an attack by another person D’Artagnan picked a fight with (because he didn’t apologise for insulting his horse), afterwards they all became friends.

To the Clubhouse!

We then get introduced to Planchet, who is also the comic relief. He hangs out with the Musketeers while they shovel shit on him. Almost literally as they force him to sleep underneath a bird that craps on his face, for which he thanks them. In case you couldn’t tell, this is comedy. A running joke, in fact. The guy D’Artagnan threatened because he didn’t apologise to his horse hangs around as a villain, then we get introduced to a cardinal who is also the villain and Orlando Bloom returns to fulfill his role as the villain. Also the king, who is another comic relief character.

The Musketeers then take a back seat to the story as the four different villains – who don’t seem to have anything do to with each other – go about their convoluted evil plots. If only the four of them managed to get around a table and put their heads together they couldn’t won the day in short order. After the bad guys finally get their evil schemes under way the ‘heroes’ get out of bed and start contributing to the story. According to the introduction this is an ‘apocalypse’, but it’s just a bunch of douchebags being douchebags with flying boats. None of the villains can be taken seriously, even though we’ve got Le Chiffre from Casino Royale and The Jew Hunter from Inglourious Basterds here. Their performances here are so hammy and awkward they actually cancel out their previous good work. Among the other two we have Milla Jovovich staring at the screen with a startled expression like she’s been unexpectedly slapped with a trout and the other…well…it’s Orlanda Fuck’n Bloom, who their right mind could take him seriously as a villain?!

Rawr.

None of the good guys are the slightest bit likeable. They sit around muttering to each other or abusing their servant/fan/whatever he is. With lines like the implied rapeyness of “women have dozens of ways to say no…and only a few of them mean yes”, there’s nothing to like about them. They’re shallow, gimmicky and don’t get enough screen time to justify any development. Even more perplexing is the amount of time the script dedicates to the King, an extremely annoying fashion obsessed prat who has an entire sub-plot about not being able to work up the courage to ask the Queen to dance. I’m not kidding when I say that this ‘plot’ takes up more time from the movie than any development afforded to the title characters.

"Mine hat 'tis the floppiest."

When we’re done with an hour of the bad guys talking to their henchmen and the Musketeers being assholes we get ‘treated’ to the characters chasing each other on flying boats equipped with flame-throwers and gattling-canons. While this sounds pretty radical, it’s terribly dull. Director Paul W.S. Anderson is the last B-Grade action director to cotton on to the idea of ripping off 300 and attacks this notion with gusto. The exact same framing and mise-en-scene is used, even parts of the choreography. The only notable moments from the movie are the ones that one obviously copy shot set-ups from other movies including the heist planning scene from Mission: Impossible 2 and the map room scene from Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

The absolute nadir of the experience is the editing. It’s almost remarkable how badly this is done. Almost every cut goes to a shot of the actors starting in a completely different pose than the previous shot, and the fight scenes are sometimes obviously cut in the wrong order with the placing of combatants and surrounding bodies changing from shot to shot. The whole thing looks like it was cut by a blind panda using a butter knife.

By the end of the movie one villain has been blown up, one has been chugged off a flying ship, one has been stabbed with the line “you should’ve apologised to my horse” and the big, big bad…has been arrested without a fight. Then it turns out that two of them are actually alive and have a giant army of flying ships (where previously it was a one-of-a-kind device) heading straight for a sequel. Shoot me when that happens.

At one point a character insults another by telling them that they read to many books. Oh, the irony.

Terrible on every level.

Score: ONE outta TEN