Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday's Overlooked Movies: The Three Musketeers (2011)




I think a movie that is universally critically reviled, bombs at the box office, and disappears from the theaters in the blink of an eye qualifies as overlooked, especially when I think it's a really good movie, to boot. Sure, re-imagining THE THREE MUSKETEERS as a steampunkish, James Bondian action/adventure movie was a big gamble, and it didn't pay off for whoever came up with it, but that doesn't mean the movie is bad.

Actually, this version is a fairly accurate adaptation of the first half of the novel. Well, uh, if you don't include the airships, the aerial dogfights, the machine guns, the scuba gear, and things like that. That's where the steampunk part comes in. But there's also plenty of swashbuckling adventure, and the fantastic elements mesh with it pretty well.

The cast is decent, too, and any movie with the great Ray Stevenson in it is worth watching, as far as I'm concerned. He plays Porthos in this one. Throw in the fact that the action scenes are staged and edited so that you can tell what's going on, with none of that flash-cut garbage, and I had a great time watching this.

Yes, a few things are a little too silly and over the top (but you know my motto: "If you're going over the top anyway, you might as well go 'way over."), a few lines of dialogue are a little too anachronistic, and a little of that MATRIX-style slow motion goes a long way as far as I'm concerned, so I could have done without some of it here. Also, the final scene in the movie should have come after the closing credits rather than before them. (I'm a big believer in after-the-closing-credits scenes.)

Those are my only reservations about this latest screen version of THE THREE MUSKETEERS. The version from the Seventies directed by Richard Lester remains the best, but this one is well worth watching. I thought it was one of the most entertaining movies I've seen in quite a while.

6 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

The only version I have seen is the one with Rachel Welch, I think.

Fred Blosser said...

Except for a clumsy rather than clever steal of dialogue from a Sergio Leone movie in an early scene, I thought it was an entertaining movie. We're going to be stuck with the MATRIX/300 style until the next big gimmick comes along, much like most of the action movies in the early/mid-'90s cribbed from John Woo until MATRIX came along. I rather liked the scenes of d'Artagnan advising the king on his love life, and the indications that the king had more smarts than the Cardinal gave him credit for.

Jack Badelaire said...

I'm also a fan, and I agree that if you're going to go OTT, don't just climb a ladder, use a jetpack.

I also agree that, if you pay close enough attention, it does use many elements from the novel, albeit in different ways. I compare this to the two Sherlock Holmes movies of the past few years, where at first glance they seem to use little but his name, but if you dig deep enough, you'll find strong roots.

Bill Crider said...

I got a huge kick out of this one, though I went in not expecting much. It was more fun than most movies I saw last year.

BISH said...

One of my favorite movies from last year. Just fun all the way ...

Duane Spurlock said...

Saw a lot of bashing about this movie based on the trailer. Never met (face-to-face) anyone who saw it. I'm a big fan of the Richard Lester movies. And I really love Dumas' novel. So sign me up, I'll be taking a look at this one.