Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Three Musketeers. (Completed)

The Three Musketeers is a 2011 film by Paul W.S Anderson, of Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat, and Alien Vs. Predator fame. Considering that The Three Musketeers is one of my favorite pieces of classic literature, I would like to think I'd be a good judge of this movie. I saw the trailers when it was new and I thought it was going to be a good movie. Then after it came out I saw that it got fairly bad reviews. I figured it couldn't be that bad. One Sunday afternoon a few years ago nothing was happening, so I was flipping around on the TV and found something that was halfway decent right before I was about to turn it off. The Musketeer was just starting, and I loved the hell out of it. I then looked it up and found that it wasn't very well received. I haven't seen it since, but it was naturally what I was comparing this to throughout. Well, that and the 1998 film, The Man in the Iron Mask. That's another Musketeers' movie that wasn't very well received, but I liked.
So, moving on to this movie. At the beginning it starts out fairly strong, with some cool espionage and action with Athos, Portos, and Aramis. So far so good.
After being betrayed by their partner in espionage, the name unknown Femme Fatal, Milady.
Played by Milla Jovovich, Milady doesn't have any accent outside of the General American/midwest standard for newscasters. Given that they didn't bother with some of the accents in Iron Mask and that nobody really knows what accents sounded like back then that's not particularly annoying. Granted, d'Artagnan (Played by Keanu Reeves look, sound and act-alike Logan Lerman, famous for his role as Percy Jackson in the god-awful Lightening Thief adaptation) not having some kind of French or British accent is fairly jarring when his father has a vaguely European accent. It sounds really out of place against everyone else, especially since he seems to go into and out of a vaguely British accent every now and again.
Aside from Lerman, who seems a little out of place against the rest of the cast but has room for improvement, I don't have any problems with the casting of The Musketeers. They're good. I like them. Even Lerman is decent at it. I actually recognize a few of the people in the cast even though nobody's listed on the box aside from Milla Jovovich and Orlando Bloom, who plays the villain in the film.
It's kind of odd, especially considering that Luke Evans, who plays Aramis could be mistaken for Bloom. The irony of it all is that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides came out that same year. Granted that I did mention that the story of Will and Elisabeth was pretty much over with At Worlds End. The plot seems like part of it was taken from Alexandre Dumas' original book, and part from a rejected Pirates of the Caribbean script. The original three are looking to steal the plans for an airship from a vault in Italy and then get betrayed by Milady to Lord Buckingham, played by Bloom. Nothing to complain about there. It's entertaining. Granted that there's very little reason for him to leave them alive after they stole the plans. Then again, it was an espionage mission and three dead musketeers might have raised more questions then them arriving empty handed. Whatever.
A year later, d'Artagnan is headed off to Paris to become a musketeer. It gets a little weaker here, but nothing that's too terrible. It's decent. Not offensive, not great. Moving through the rest of the movie it gets stupider. It gets fairly tedious and unoriginal in the middle of it all.
And something else, there's a reason why the French are rude, because everyone portrays the men as weak and effete. Then again, if the portrayal of Louis the XIII is accurate then there's a reason that stereotype exists. Historical accuracy be damned, give him some manlier clothing! He looks like Boy George for gods sake! The Queen looks more masculine then him! He looks like a girl with a mustache and goatee!
Anyways, I know this was a lame summary so far, but here we go.
So after an awesome fight scene between the four musketeers and about forty of Cardinel Richelieu's men the movie gets significantly lamer. After some crappy character interaction they decide to get back to that which makes the movie interesting, the action and espionage. During character interaction there's a plot to make it look like the Queen is having an affair with Buckingham, one that was the brainchild of Richelieu and Milady. So one of the ladies in waiting tells the four members of the main cast about the plot, having overheard it apparently or the Queen having overheard it or something. The disc skipped four minutes because it was so scratched up. So they agree to go off on one last mission for their country and steal the jewels back that Milady planted in Buckingham's vault. I have to say that the movie really comes into its own about this time. They send in d'Artagnan to steal the jewels while they provide the distraction after having put together and thrown out a plan they knew wasn't going to work. It twists and turns a bit with the way they mislead the audience.
d'Artagnan gets captured by the British and rescued by the other musketeers with the ship that Buckingham showed up in earlier in the movie.
And about now we realize what it was trying to be. It's trying to be Pirates of the Caribbean. Especially ironic considering Orlando Bloom is in this and that it came out the same year as the last one. Speaking of which, why's it taking six years to get Dead Men Tell No Tales out?
Anyways, that's what this is. Diet Pirates of the Caribbean. And I didn't even realize this until they started with the ships and the swashbuckling action. Funny thing, the music sounds like it was actively trying to be composed by Hans Zimmer. It wasn't, but almost every bit of original music composed for it is almost note for note identical to Zimmer's Pirates score.
For a movie like this, it's not bad. Not great, but the way it ended makes me want to see a sequel to it, because I think that it has a lot of room to improve on it. Cut out all the lameness, improve the characters a bit (Aside from the initial Three Musketeers, those three are pretty good.) and amp up the action a bit and we'd have a good movie.
Then again it'd essentially be Pirates, but given that we're not slated to have another Pirates movie for another three years at least, this could fill the void nicely. Given enough time, effort and quality put into it and we might even get a good replacement. MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Anyways, I don't dislike it, but I don't particularly like it too much either. In the middle of the movie I was willing to dismiss it as the absolute worst adaptation of one of my favorite pieces of classic literature, but then I decided to watch it all the way through and found that it actually got better later on. It's a mixed movie. I don't know.... I really don't know. This movie is the first in a while that I've been kind of ambivalent about. I don't know much what to say. It's good, then bad, then gets good again, and I really want to see a sequel out of it. I think that it could really be made into a great franchise. I know they were trying to make a franchise out of it because of the ending, but I still support them making a sequel. So I guess I'm going to give it a....
6.5* rating. Not horrible, but the bad parts took a lot away from the good ones. I'd love to see a second one made correctly. So anyways, coming up next week is the reason why my review of this was kind of lame, Grave of the Fireflies.