The 19th-century French novelist Alexandre Dumas might be puzzled if he could somehow see the latest movie adaptation of
The new script for "The Three Musketeers" also lacks the substance and wit to anchor another sequel. It just barely gets by on noisy spectacle amidst 17th-century French palaces, parks and taverns that look like a cross between a theme park and a video game.
Historical accuracy and literary fidelity obviously are not concerns here. Otherwise, how would you account for dialogue that so freely mixes period stiltedness and 21st century slang? Or a balloon-hoisted battleship that's a nifty special effect, but whose literary inspiraton is probably closer to
Crassly directed by
Where those swordfights are concerned, it's also odd that these squabbles owe as much to Hong Kong-style martial arts as to any European tradition of swordplay.
The musketeers are not as fully individualized as one might want, but for the record they are
The would-be fourth musketeer, D'Artagnan, is played by
Also chipping away at this character's credibility is that D'Artagnan spends so much time preening that his actual courtship of a lady at court, Constance (Gabriella Wilde), only exists in a few fleeting and unconvincing scenes. He loves himself so much, who has time for anybody else?
There is a semblance of a plot, but it's mostly just an excuse for special effects-laden adventures. France and England are in a tense state of near-war, meaning that double-crossing characters and crossed swords are the order of the day, and the Musketeers are destined to be brought in to do the French king's bidding.
It's such a ridiculously over-the-top story that there's actually some fun to be had in watching the foppish young French King Louis (Freddie Fox); his devious advisor, Cardinal Richelieu (
Their scene-stealing acting would be more enjoyable if there were scenes worth stealing, but they're shamelessly determined to entertain you — or at least themselves. They're romping through an anything-goes French court in which kung fu-inflected swordplay and battling airships are the norm.
Put on those 3-D glasses and prepare to be bombarded. Also brace yourself for a sequel. Grade: C