The Three Musketeers - 6/10
First off, the film isn’t faithful to the book, even though the basic plot elements are there. I don’t see anything wrong with this; The Three Musketeers has been done so many times, it’s nice to see something new in an interpretation of it. So don’t expect it to be the book!
Now, I feel that I liked this one, sort of... against my better judgement. It’s a silly one. Very, very silly. You could play a drinking game of spot the clichés. Almost all the characters manage to be annoying at one point or another. There’s a slightly steampunk element to the giant zeppelin airships, a hint of heist movies, a Mission Impossible style sequence involving Milla Jovovich, as well as a bit of an A-team style special ops feel to it. It’s so many madcap genres rolled into one. And then there’s Orlando Bloom’s hair. Did I mention the silly?
But, come on, doesn’t that sound fun?
It was. Right from the opening sequence, in which the characters are introduced A-Team style, with an action sequence and freeze-frame while their name triumphantly whizzes on screen, I knew I was going to enjoy it. Stupid and corny, yes, but with such a wink at the audience I felt sure this film was going to be fun – and completely nuts. It reminded me a little of the freshness of A Knight’s Tale, reviving a slightly tired genre, and I felt myself being on this film’s side, willing it to win out in the end.
Unfortunately, it didn’t quite hold on to the tongue-in-cheek energy it started with. Parts of it were ridiculously entertaining, but the bits in between, winding down to the slightly lacklustre ending, were, I hate to say it, a bit forgettable. The love story was lame, and, in the face of Orlando Bloom’s superior villainy (yes, I was surprised too), I’d lost interest in the ‘diabolic’ nature of Cardinal Richelieu’s plot by the end. At points the film also managed to descend into being too silly, turning it into some kind of farcical parody that was a little baffling.
Still, being the fan of cheese-fests that I am (not to mention my love of shows such as Charmed and Xena), my silliness tolerance meter is probably higher than most. Air ships that have giant cannon fights with each other and still manage to stay in the sky... bring it on! Milla Jovovich sliding down a corridor on her back to avoid the hair-thin wires that trigger a series of traps, Mission Impossible and Indiana Jones stylee? No problem. Exotic weapons in 17th century France? Great! Orland Bloom’s hair? Teehee, snort. Love it.
Besides, when the camera sweeps out to reveal an entire fleet of airships loaded with cannons heading out to take over France, I think we know we’re safely in the realms of fantasy/alternative history. And why not? It’s actually a fantastic concept... just a shame it wasn’t pulled off as well as it could have been.
The film has its faults. Many faults, if I’m honest. Strangely though, if you can switch off your preconceptions and any feelings of protectiveness for the book, you may just find yourself having a good time.