By: Lawrence Foster
Rating: 7 out of 10
If you wanted to watch a movie that wasn’t in theaters you had to actually go to a store, interact with the cashier and rent it.
So 2002 I know, but one of the best things about the old way of renting movies was the $1 guaranteed-to-be bad section. They were movies that were so bad that they actually warranted being watched for their wretchedness. Although, it could be argued, 95 percent of the films on Netflix’s instant queue would fit right into that section of awfulness.
One director who would be a mainstay in the section would be Paul W.S. Anderson (formerly known as Paul Anderson). Anderson has directed masterpieces like “Mortal Kombat,” “Event Horizon,” “Resident Evil,” “AVP: Alien vs. Predator,” “Death Race” and “Resident Evil: Afterlife.”
Those films have an average score of 29.83 at rottentomatoes.com (RT). While none of the above films set the industry on fire, I enjoyed each one of them and was able to appreciate them for what they were: Mindless fun.
While a majority of people became turned off of “The Three Musketeers” (TTM) when it was announced that Anderson would be at the helm of the film, I was pleased with the decision and looked forward to another enjoyable adventure. After viewing the film, I was surprised with how much I enjoyed the film. Even though, predictably, the film tanked at the box office ($8.7M) and with critics (26% on RT).
What reviewers failed to realize is that if they actually appreciated what was on the screen as opposed to what TTM didn’t do, they would have had a much better time.
The film focuses on, spoiler alert, the three musketeers, Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Porthos (Ray Stevenson). The opening sets the tone for the film right away as we are introduced to the trio one-by-one and get a glimpse at what makes each one unique. Athos, Aramis and Porthos are joined by Athos’ love interest Milady de Winter (Mila Jovovich) as they seemingly accomplish their task, but a surprise twist leaves the trio on their knees.
After the early plot twist, the story jumps forward a year, where the audience is introduced to D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman), who leaves home in hopes of joining the famed musketeers. D’Artagnan’s path to the musketeers, who have given up their heroics after the opening segment, offers some laugh-out-loud moments as he schedules each one of them for an “appointment.”
Before the brash youngster can fulfill the appointments, however, D’Artagnan and the musketeers are surrounded by Richelieu’s (a poorly cast and used Christoph Waltz). After an extended and well-choreographed sword fight, the musketeers invite D’Artagnan back to their house.
At the house, the musketeers reveal that they are “retired” because there aren’t any more noble causes to fight for.
The four are summoned by King Louis XIII of France (a scene-stealing Freddie Fox). Richelieu wants them punished for beating his guard, but the “punishment” is anything but, as Louis orders them new outfits and gives them gold.
Wanting to see France go to war, Richelieu hatches a plan to frame the Queen (Juno Temple) for an affair with the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). With war on the horizon because of the alleged infidelity, the beautiful Constance (Gabriella Wilde) convinces D’Artagnan to go after the jewels that the Queen supposedly gave the Duke as a token of her affection. D’Artagnan in turn convinces the musketeers that this is the noble cause they have been waiting for.
I won’t get into any more about the plot, but special effects and sword fights are aplenty over the final half of the film.
Where TTM succeeds is its well-crafted sword fights and humor. The CGI was a bit over the top, but didn’t detract from the film.
While TTM won’t redefine the action genre or shatter box office records, it is nonetheless an enjoyable film that offers variety.