THE thought of director Paul W.S. Anderson, known for his impressive repertoire of horror productions, such as the Resident Evil and Death Race films, getting his hands on the classic Alexandre Dumas novel, The Three Musketeers, for a 2011 remake made me feel a little nauseous. I envisioned a fast-paced, American-style action film, with chopped up body parts flying about in the fencing scenes.
The style, however, couldn’t be more different from Anderson’s usual. He closely follows the storyline of Dumas’ original, as he reunites the down on their luck musketeers, Porthos (Ray Stevenson), Athos (Matthew MacFadyen) and Aramis (Luke Evans) with the young d’Artagnan (Logan Lerman).
It’s d’Artagnan’s dream to be part of the mighty Musketeers and so he travels to a seventeeth century Paris by horse (or is it a cow?) to (really) force his way into the Musketeer group. He is baffled to find that these once oh-so-mighty men are now barely scraping by, drinking far too much wine and looking scruffy, as to which Athos replies: “We all suffered from budget cuts.”
Athos’ dry humour introduces us to the modern jab of this adaption. Throughout the film, little one-liners and deadpan expressions, referring to the current economic climate and other contemporary ongoings, make this version surprisingly funny. On the other hand, the film’s steampunk sub-genre was baffling. It transpires in the form of huge flying boats, or zeppelins such as in Pirates of the Caribbean… Paul W.S. Anderson, why?
The main captain of these laughable war ships is the dastardly Buckingham (Orlando Bloom), flying over from London to engage in an evil plot to bring down the Musketeers, seize the French throne and engulf Europe in war with Milady the Winter (Milla Jovovich) and Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz).
The Duke of Buckingham, Milady’s paramour, is despised by all and in particular by Milady’s former lover Athos and King Louis (a fashion feud) and according to Orlando Bloom, “a little bit of a rat. He’s a rogue and a rascal… and he was a lot of fun to play”. The true nature of Buckingham is apparent in his dark physique – including the ‘bad guy’ moustache. Producer Paul W.S. Anderson: “I had no idea that Orlando Bloom could rock such an outrageous and devilish ‘70s moustache, but it worked.”
But Bloom’s sex appeal was insignificant next to Milla Jovovich, who looked stunning in all of her costumes and was complemented by a red amber, softly curled hairdo. Jovovich: “I absolutely adored all of Milady’s outfits, all of which oozed glamour and femininity, but while jumping through lasers and swaying of flying boats, I kept tripping!”
Together they decide that bringing kerfuffle to the entire continent can be done very easily, by stealing the Queen’s (Juno Temple) diamond necklace. The Queen finds out in time, partly because of the flamboyant and marvellously portrayed King Louis (Freddy Fox). She then sends the Musketeers to the rescue of the French throne, resulting in half an hour of fencing on flying ships.
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