The Musketeers must foil a plot by Milady (Milla Jovovich) and the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) against the French king and queen. Also stars Logan Lerman and Ray Stevenson.
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Director Paul W.S. Anderson’s 3D take on The Three Musketeers is unlike any other adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas classic. Other takes may have emphasized the comedy or the action, but this film takes the interpretation to a whole other level. Anderson’s Musketeers is outrageous, silly, historically inaccurate, loud, and totally preposterous. It is also incredibly entertaining, an impressive guilty pleasure if there ever was one.
Anderson has been widely criticized as a director for his over-the-top films, but you cannot deny that they are fun to watch. The Resident Evil films, starring his real-life wife Milla Jovovich, are evidence of this, even if RE purists hate the lack of resemblance to the original games. This is exactly the case with Three Musketeers; it bears only a passing resemblance to the novel past the characters. Instead, we get one action set piece after another, each one meant to top the one before, ending with a climax that will leave you laughing (yet entertained) with its audacity.
Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans, and Ray Stevenson are all serviceable as the Musketeers, while Logan Lerman makes for a decent D’Artagnan. Christoph Waltz is slumming it in this film as the Cardinal, put at least his performance is fun. Milla Jovovich is lovely as Milady, but the script doesn’t give her much to say (but plenty to do), so her character development is paper thin. Orlando Bloom, God bless him, seems doomed to play period characters who swing swords for the rest of his life. He is not bad here, so hopefully someone will give him in a film set in this century.
What really makes this film work, in theaters and on Blu-ray, are the 3D effects. I must admit that I am not the biggest 3D fan, but the effects here are actually very good, if not great. Watching the film on an HDTV, I found myself saying “wow” aloud several times. The effects reminded me of the old ViewMaster 3D viewer I had as a kid, in a good way. The presentation is much better, of course, but I marveled at the images I saw like I was a kid again.
As mentioned before, the film only lifts the characters and certain elements from the original novel, the rest is pure overblown fantasy. The finale includes a pair of pirate-type ships tied to dirigibles. It was like an LSD mashup of Pirates of the Caribbean and The Hindenburg, with multi-fire cannons thrown in. There is even a sword fight atop the Notre Dame cathedral. It sounds silly, and it is, but it looks great and Anderson knows how to shoot an action scene.
Film snobs and critics will turn their nose up at it, but The Three Musketeers 3D is more fun than most of the bloated summer blockbusters we saw this past year. Just do not expect a masterpiece like the literary work that birthed it. Besides, you get Milla Jovovich in 3D. How can you not like that?
VIDEO AND AUDIO
The Blu-ray image presented on this disc is nothing short of fantastic. The video is super sharp, and colors are natural but vivid. The 3D, as mentioned before, is among the best I have seen. It features both the “wow” effects you expect, along with the smaller, nuanced effects that give the image more depth. I particularly enjoyed the “map” sequences that transitioned from one location to the next. It features miniature soldiers and settings that really look great in 3D.
The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1, and sounds excellent. It has a deep, immersive quality with nice surround effects. It is surprising that the film does not follow the current trend of offering a 7.1 mix, but unless you are a serious audiophile, you will not miss it one bit.
The Blu-ray features some satisfying extras. The best by far is the “Access: Three Musketeers” feature, which inserts short “making of” featurettes and interviews into the film as you watch it. Factoids pop up on screen as well, as does a running count of all the violent acts the Musketeers commit. Viewers can even choose which types of special features you can view. The feature provides a thorough look into the making of the film and it is great fun to watch, even if you find the film itself less interesting.
The audio commentary by director Anderson as well as producers Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzeris is actually very informative, providing some nice insight into the movie. I actually found my opinion of Anderson as a director elevated by listening to him talk about the film.
Stand alone featurettes include “Paul W.S. Anderson’s Musketeers,” “Orlando Bloom Takes on the Duke,” “17th Century Air Travel,” and “Uncovering France in Germany.” Twelve deleted and extended scenes are included, and even though the packaging states filmmaker commentary is included with these scenes, it is not included on the disc.
THE BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT OR REDBOX IT?
Overall Grade: A-
The Three Musketeers 3D is far too silly and over-the-top to win any awards or be a classic, but it is far too fun to ignore. Forget about the lack of faithfulness to the novel. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. I strongly suggest a rent if you have not seen it. If you like it, the 3D blu-ray offers enough special features to make it worthy of a buy. If you want to show off how good 3D can be at home, then absolutely pick this up.
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Running Time: 110 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Stereo 2.0 (Special Features only)
Subtitles: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Spanish.
Special Features: “Access: Three Musketeers” in-movie feature, Four featurettes, Twelve deleted and extended scenes.
Audio Commentary: By director Paul W.S. Anderson and producers Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzer.
The Three Musketeers 3D will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on March 13, 2012 from Summit Entertainment.