Sand and I went to see The Three Musketeers because ... well, in point of fact I can't think of really any good reason. Prurient interest is the most apt description of our reasons. Yes, it is based on the famous French works of the famous French writer Alexandre "Frenchie" Dumas, but clearly indicated in the previews was the presence of a flying boat equipped with flamethrowers and automatic, rapid-fire cannons. The presence of flying boats with flamethrowers and automatic, rapid-fire cannons ought to have cued viewers of this movie that liberties may have been taken with Dumas story.
In fact, liberties were taken. As it turns out, delightful liberties. This is a fun, funny movie, a kind of Dumas-meets-Monty-Python. The main characters are here, and some of the elements of the original story, but retold tongue-in-cheek as an episode of the A-Team or Mission:Impossible. There is D'Artagnan, the upstart kid trying to be a Musketeer; there are Athos, Aramis and Porthos, the out-of-work King's guard; there is Milady, the cunning, beautiful mercenary; Cardinal Richelieu, the Duke of Buckingham, and the rest, all embroiled in political intrigue in Louis the Thirteenth's Court.
But don't worry about a story, it's all silliness anyway. Instead, let yourself be entertained with the slapstick swordfights, the outlandishly clever spy gear and antics, and the spectacular costumes and sets. (I understand that the interior shots of Versailles were actually filmed at a palace in Germany, and it was spectacular.)
The Susquehanna River passes through Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania. As it passes the capital, the river is nearly a mile wide, and looks magnificent, yet you can walk across the river and never enter water over your head unless you fall into a hole. This movie is a mile wide and about an inch deep. It is all pretty pictures and silliness, but I really don't believe that it was intended to be anything else. It never takes itself seriously, and as a result succeeds in being very pleasantly entertaining.
I can't really say "don't miss this one," because it's just not that kind of movie. But I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and it was certainly worth the price of admission. So go ahead if you want, go giggle and roll your eyes, and have a good time.
In the first scene of the movie, I thought that the action was flagrantly unlikely. In the second scene, I thought that the action was goofy as a spoof. In the third, I wondered if The Three Musketeers was actually a Marvel comic book. And then I saw D'Artagnan's horse and thought, "That is the most improbably hideous portrayal of a horse I have ever seen in my life."
Duh. If you are thinking about viewing The Three Musketeers and think it is a seriously-attempted launch of Dumas' book, you are misled. This movie has not a serious bone in its body, and never intended to.
I didn't know that walking into the theater, and even the synopsis I saw on IMDb.com gave no indication that this was a comedic representation of the characters from Dumas' story. Honestly, I don't think that most of the audience of the first showing here knew that either.
Nevertheless, I can't say exactly when I caught on. Was it Milla Jovovich's sidelong glance with an inappropriate-for-serious twinkle in her eye? Was it Christopher Waltz as Richelieu striking a pose designed to appear the epitome of slapstick evil? I can't remember, but after that moment, I was able to sink into hardcore silliness, and let the guffaws out.
Make no mistake, I went to see this movie mostly because Milla Jovovich was in it. She won my heart in Fifth Element and The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, and I haven't been repulsed by her Resident Evil series, either. She's not fantastically pretty, but I love her face, and her penchant for taking on crazy projects. She's beautiful.
The costumes and settings are also absolutely beautiful, so elaborate and rich that you wish people still dressed that way. (Well, maybe once in a while.) The characters were easily recognized, both by their looks and their actions.
Most notable to me was Orlando Bloom as the Duke of Buckingham. If ever a character deserved a very big beating, Bloom was able to create him -- but not so evil that the viewer wants him destroyed. On the contrary, let's cheer him on into a sequel so we can see him take another thrashing. He certainly begs for it.
So overall, this is a thoroughly preposterous movie, both in story and characterization. Its silliness knows no bounds.
I was reminded of the opening scene of Toy Story 3, in which Andy is telling the story of the trainload of orphans headed for disaster, while the Evil Dr. Porkchop and the PotatoHeads double-cross and cause mayhem for Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear; but instead of troll dolls and a piggy bank, we have the Dumas characters being wielded by the hands of Alex Litvak and Andrew Davies. Both results are tossed about with gaiety and glee.
Would I go see this movie in the theater a second time? No, because we have no income, and there's another movie coming out this Friday that I want to see. If I had the income? Yes, and this time, I'd laugh my ass off right from the very beginning.
Silly, silly, silly: Enjoy.