Look at the poster to the left. See what a mess it is? How many people can they cram into a poster? It's like a bad Star Wars poster. Oh, on a related note, they showed the trailer for The Phantom Menace in 3D, but as this wasn't a 3D screening, the trailer's benefits were pointless. Good job Lucasfilm! I'm getting off track...
So the poster is a mess, right? Well, so is The Three Musketeers! Look at it! Who's the lead? Orlando Bloom at the top? The girl in the middle? Oh wait, that's a dude. Sorry about that. Mila Jobovovavich, or whatever her name is? Nope. That's part of why this is a mess: There's no lead character as far as I'm concerned.
I was close to walking out of this within the first 15 minutes of this. Let me chronicle why:
- You have French characters speaking with English accents.
- In the first three minutes, there's a blatant ripoff of a line from The Princess Bride. Fortunately, it did not get a laugh.
- Mila Jovovich speaking with neither a English or French accent. She really is a terrible actress, but you can blame this on the director, Paul W.S. Anderson, who's her husband, so of course he shoehorns her into this.
- An ineffectual villian yelling, "I want them dead!" Let's get more cliched!
- Mila Jovovich's plays "Milady" and she apparently has superpowers. She's basically playing 'Alice' from Resident Evil in the opening scene. You could argue that I'm nitpicking, but then she does it again later in the movie.
- There's a really bad effects sequence in the beginning that was likely meant for 3D audiences, but again, I didn't see this in 3D. Even if I had seen this in 3D, I imagine it still would have looked like shit.
- A miscast Logan Lerman playing D'Artagnan, also apparently incapable of speaking with any kind of accent. His character was raised in France, so the lack of accent really made it hard for me to take him seriously. A stronger actor would have helped here.
- D'Artagnan's horse is named 'Buttercup'. The Princess Bride strikes again. There were one or two more references to The Princess Bride, but at this point, I'm too buzzed to remember them.
- D'Artagnan inexplicably picking fights with at least 4 different people despite only training with his father. He was an arrogant shit, but at least the other characters called him out for being cocky or it would have been much more annoying.
Okay, so that's the first 15 minutes. Do you understand why I almost walked out?
The good news is that it's not all bad. There are several action sequences that are well done. The fight scenes don't feature lots of quick cuts, so you can actually tell what's going on. There was a lot of Zack Snyder-ish slo-mo though. Overall, the effects after the opening sequence looked good.
The cast was actually pretty strong. The "Musketeers" were played by Matthew Macfadyen (Athos), Luke Evans (Aramis), and Ray Stevenson (Porthos). I thought they worked pretty well together. I think the movie would have been better if it had focused on them more or been more of a story about their earlier adventures or something. Stevenson, in particular, I thought was really enjoying himself, but 'Titus Pullo' is always awesome in any movie. Christolph Waltz I thought was good as the Cardinal. Even Orlando Bloom as the Duke of Buckingham wasn't a block of wood for a change. Bloom seemed to be enjoying playing a bad guy.
The Three Musketeers seems like a movie that they wanted to turn into a franchise. They even hinted at a totally implausible sequel at the end, but I don't think it's going to happen. You never know with sequels these days though. Anyway, it looks like they tried to attract the same audience that enjoys the "Pirates" franchise. It has a similar look and feel to those movies and they even got Orlando Bloom to be in it. The big difference between The Three Musketeers and Pirates is that you don't have an interesting character that grabbed you like 'Jack Sparrow' and you certainly didn't have anyone with the on-screen charisma of Johnny Depp.
As I said at the beginning of the review, this is a mess of a movie as far as the story. The writers (I'm not even going to mention them by name) just didn't seem to know what to do with the material. They also appear to have been watching The Princess Bride while they wrote the screenplay. A good share of the blame falls on director Paul W.S. Anderson. Anderson is probably one of the biggest hack directors working today. He's basically Uwe Boll with a bigger budget and slightly more style. I'll give him credit for making movies that usually look nice, but they are all essentially the same film.
I'd say The Three Musketeers is on par with the last Pirates movie as far as overall quality, which is to say that it's bad. There were some things I liked about it, but not enough to really recommend it to anyone. The action sequences are entertaining and the movie looks nice, so I didn't feel like I completely wasted my time here though. I think that if you rented this you'd probably enjoy it enough, but it's a waste of money to see in the theater.