Tuesday, July 31, 2012

All for fun, no fun for anyone


                "Les Trois Mousquetaires" by Alexandre Dumas is probably one of the most frequently adapted novels and inspiration for numerous movies throughout the last hundred years. With so many adaptations, one gets suspicious when there's another one in the works. It must show something new, take an original approach to the story, and be great at it, to justify another adaptation. And so came "The Three Musketeers" from director Paul W. S. Anderson, known mostly for his Resident Evil movies. The approach he chose is an action-comedic one. Action, humor and CGI, those seem to be Anderson's musketeers. As the fourth one we can put in Milla Jovovich's (Anderson's wife) décolleté. But the musketeers disappoint.

                Watching this movie I thought of Guy Ritchie's recent Sherlock Holmes adaptations. They are very similar in their intention, with Musketeers a little bit more of a parody, but are worlds apart in their execution. While Holmes movies manage to be an intelligent fun, Musketeers fall short. What should be humorous turns out not so funny, mostly because of the script which sees characters in already seen situations and gives them bad lines. Most of the characters turn out to be caricatures and it rarely hits the mark (Bloom's Duke of Buckingham). The action relies heavily on CGI and fails because of it. CGI is as bad as I've ever seen, making scenes look like they're taken from a poorly done video game, and completely unnecessary slow-motion sequences don't help.

                You noticed I didn't say anything about the plot, and I won't say much. That's because there's no need to. Once again Cardinal Richelieu plots to overthrow the king, this time with help from Milady de Winter and inevitable Rochefort. There's also Duke of Buckingham who gets double-crossed and seeks revenge. Of course, the musketeers are here to save the day. Oh, and there's the dumbest ending ever (for a movie which doesn't have a sequel already in the works).

                As I already said, the idea isn't that bad, but it's ruined by shallow script and bad direction. With those things as bad as they are things that usually impress in a period piece, like costume design or music, just don't catch your attention. Although, you can't say the movie looks bad (minus the CGI). One thing that's positive about the movie is the acting. While most of the actors do an average job, we can highlight performances by Mads Mikkelsen who makes Rochefort a parody of his Le Chiffre character from "Casino Royale", and Orlando Bloom who clearly enjoys his over the top Duke of Buckingham. It's a shame they aren't in a better movie.

                I never wanted to watch the new musketeers movie in the first place, but we were at a friend's house and he likes his movies new and filled with visual effects, so we took a chance. As it is, we would've been better off watching "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" again. In the end, it seems better to let the musketeers rest, at least until someone with a great idea and the ability to pull it off in style comes along.

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