Entertainment, Personal

Review: The Three Musketeers – 2011

Three MusketeersI usually don’t post reviews of books and movies, mainly because I find most reviews written by other people to be unhelpful, so why bother other people with what I think? I rarely have the same opinion about a book or a movie as anyone else I know. Even my closest friends and I frequently disagree on what we’ve seen or read. (Although my daughters and I are usually pretty compatible.) 

When I compare my opinion with that of America at large, I often wonder if I live on another planet. For that reason, I rarely read reviews and ignore tweets from other watchers as I’m viewing something on TV. 

But tonight, I’m watching the most recent film version of The Three Musketeers (released in 2011, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, and starring Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans and Ray Stevenson), and I’m so disappointed, I feel the need to say something. 

We’re Musketeer aficionados in my family. I’ve read the book a couple of times and I think my oldest daughter has seen every incarnation of the story adapted for movies or TV since she was born. We know how it’s supposed to be done, and we know how it’s been done before. We appreciate the humor and the subtle nuances found in many of the screen versions, and the novel itself is a classic for a reason. 

You all know the story, right? Aramis, Athos and Porthos are three of the King’s Musketeers (former Musketeers, I should say) who join forces with brash, cocky D’Artagnon, son of a former Musketeer, to defeat a ruthless double-agent and Cardinal Richelieu, who is attempting to overthrow the throne. 

The first problem with this version was that Milady de Winter, played by Milla Jovovich, comes across as only mildly interesting–and that’s being generous. What makes the real Milady so ruthless and dangerous is that she’s wickedly intelligent and subtle. Jovovich’s Milady is certainly neither of those things. I wondered why anyone would cast her in the role until I looked at the cast and crew on IMDB and realized that she’s married to the director.  Mystery solved. 

In the original novel, Dumas brilliantly creates characters loaded with multiple layers of personality that keep them interesting. The director of this film version seemed more interested in special effects and action sequences than in characterization, losing much of what makes The Three Musketeers a classic in my opinion. I wonder whether the director has ever actually read the book, or if he used other movies to create his version. 

Definitely not destined for my keeper shelf. I won’t bother with it again. 

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