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Marina Antunes [DVD News 03.12.12] action adventure family

Year: 2011
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writers: Andrew Davies, Alex Litvak, Alexandre Dumas
IMDB: link
Amazon: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 6.5 out of 10

It tickles me pink that the great Andrew Davies, best known for his work adapting classics for the BBC, has a hand in the script for Paul W. S. Anderson's The Three Musketeers. The language certainly feels like Davies', there's a sense of quiet comedy and flourish, but I'm fairly certain that Alex Litvak is the one to credit with the outrageous action sequences of which there are many.

From the start its clear this isn't your father's Musketeers. Air ships, diving suits, Milady (Milla Jovovich, ever the action star though this time in splendid period garb) dropping into the Queen's suite in her undergarments...she's a little bit Ethan Hunt complete with cool gadgets and double crosses which land her in the middle of a nasty fight.

The French King is young, stupid (his idea of important is finding out what colour is currently the rage in London) and managed rather poorly by Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz hamming it up). The Cardinal has a plan to steal the Queen's jewels and frame her of having an indiscretion with the King's nemesis the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). The Queen (Juno Temple) discovers the jewels missing and being smarter than anyone gives her credit for, puts two and two together, tells Richelieu she knows what he's up to (a plot killer in any film that cares about plot) and then asks the Musketeers for help retrieving the missing jewels before the King finds out and takes France to war.

Misadventure ensues as the Musketeers set off to find the jewels and end up fighting not only the English but the French troops led by Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen) who are, at the Cardinal's behest, trying to stop the Musketeers from saving the day. Enter the ludicrous action sequences including over the top sword fights (4 against 40 - or was that 400?), air ship battle fights and midair explosions. It's ludicrous and occasionally laughable and overly long but not completely boring. Admittedly, I cared less for the action sequences than the fast paced dialogue of which there isn't nearly enough but the bits tucked in here and there are delicious. Orlando Bloom and Christoph Waltz have a much too shot exchange, part comedy part battle of wits and though everyone is quite good, no one is really given an opportunity to shine.

I mean Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans and Ray Stevenson are the Musketeers! They not only look their respective parts but they embody them beautifully! And then you have Logan Lerman as D'Artagnan, obviously an appeal to a younger demographic that simply doesn't work. He's bland and uninteresting and yet the story focuses a great deal on him and the part he plays in this adventure. Yawn.

Admittedly The Three Musketeers isn't great. The action sequences drag on longer than necessary and most of the film's acting talent is overlooked in favour of servicing the action but The Three Musketeers retains a sense of fun and like The Pirates of the Caribbean movies, a similar charm. Fans of Dumas will find little to like here but those willing to overlook that for a bit of entertainment need look no further.

The Three Musketeers is available on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, March 13.

Blu-ray Extras: Director's commentary, making of featurette, a huge collection of extended and deleted scenes and a “Did you know?” option.

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