The Three Musketeers (Blu-ray)
After THE THREE MUSKETEERS came and went last year, living up to the expected flop predictions, actress Milla Jovovich famously made mention that the studio didn’t market her husband’s, director Paul W.S. Anderson, film properly. While that may or may not be true, the fact remains THE THREE MUSKETEERS quite simply isn’t very good.
THE THREE MUSKETEERS starts off strongly introducing our Musketeers by freeze framing on each character in a striking pose with their name just before or following some wicked cool action moment. As they convene for an OCEAN’S ELEVEN type heist into Leonardo De Vinci’s vault, I quickly began to think this might actually be pretty cool. But the film quickly falls into conventional action scenes and thin plot points. Throughout the film we are never told the plans just the outcome using a lot of uneventful MATRIX style slow motion through running, fighting and firing of weapons.
Other than some comic relief provided by the King and the reliance of over the top blockbuster type action, the story is mostly the same we’ve seen a dozen times over with D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) as a young hot head who wants to be a Musketeer. Unfortunately, the Musketeers are disbanded save for three, Porthos (Ray Stevenson from KILL THE IRISHMAN), Athos (Matthew Macfadyen) and Aramis (Luke Evans) all whom with D’Artagnan accidentally picks a fight. This has always been my favorite part of the story but since it has been told time and time again it now comes off boring. Basically these four are in opposition of the Cardinal Richelieu.
But oddly the film isn’t about the Musketeers so much as it is about the three villains who are constantly double crossing one another to gain money and power. The Cardinal Richelieu played by Christoph Waltz who was mentioned before is quietly undermining the young inexperienced King Louis. The Duke of Buckingham played by Orlando Bloom who has double-crossed The Musketeers once already has built a war machine and might possibly be an instigator for England and France going to war. Finally Milady de Winter played by Milla Jovovich who also happens to be the love of Aramis before she betrayed him is working all the sides for her own benefits.
Although it was fun to see Bloom against type as a bad guy, these three characters are the only actors with names that have some star power and they all play it with one note, while great performances by the Musketeers never get much credit. But I don’t blame the actors I blame the director. The villains are all over utilized at the beginning making the story more about them rather than the Musketeers and then underutilized at the end when we were actually curious what was going on. When the film comes to its climatic battle these three are nowhere to be found and instead we have a flying ship battle between the Cardinal’s men led by his head one-eyed henchmen and our Musketeers. Even our Musketeers don’t get much play, dwelling mostly on D’Artagnan who is a character I’ve personally never liked much besides in THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK. Then right before the credits they foolishly bring back some of the villains for an exciting sequel setup that will hopefully never come to pass.
To be fair the film isn’t completely terrible it’s just very middle of the road average that in my opinion coupled with unoriginality in many aspects, marks a bad movie. The production, costuming and overall look of the film is beautiful. However if you’re not filling that wonderful space with character development or plot substance it just feels empty. And that is exactly what THE THREE MUSKETEERS is – an old story using dated techniques that simply feels empty.
Video: (1080p High Definition 2.35:1) For the most part this is where the film exceeds however some of the green screen special effects are noticeably unblended.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) Again, the film excelled in the sound department.
Audio Commentary: Director Paul W.S. Anderson and Producers Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzer give an honest commentary explaining their thoughts and processes. No matter how misguided I think they are, they seem to truly believe in the film and the story.
Access: Three Musketeers: This feature allows you to gain access about cast and crew stories and insider information about the making of the film while watching the movie.
Featurettes (9:31): Four very shorts segments that include Paul W.S Anderson’s Musketeers, Orlando Bloom Takes On The Duke, 17th Century Air Travel and Uncovering France In Germany. Thankfully there is a play all button.
Deleted & Extended Scenes (14:18) Twelve scenes from THE THREE MUSKETEERS that add a bit of stagnant humor that I’m sure were decidedly cut to keep room for special effect shots.