Friday, March 23, 2012

The Three Musketeers (2011)

There comes a time, every once in a while, when you are watching a film and you have a moment of clarity. It's a moment that truly puts everything in perspective for you. My moment for "The Three Musketeers" came when a scene from "Pirates of The Caribbean" was reenacted with blimps.

I think it was right around the time in this movie when the two steampunky-wooden-battleship-zeppelin-thingys were battling over 17th century Paris, only to end up being impaled on one of the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral, looking not unlike two giant pancakes with cannons while dudes in poofy shirts swashbuckled all over the place that I realized "You know what? This is pretty silly."

Ok that last statement was not entirely accurate. I was saying "This is pretty silly" after the 35 second mark. It really hits the ground running in that respect. The blimp part was when I simply said it aloud, since at that point, it really needed to be noted for the official record.

So yes, "The Three Musketeers" is hereby award the official mark of Silliness.

"Now bugger off."

I have a confession to make: I've never liked any Musketeer movie. I remember seeing the one with Keifer Sutherland back in the day, and I didn't like that one either, even at the time. They just have this over-the-top ridiculous nature that irritates me, maybe because I just don't get it. It's not because it's over-the-top. Not at all. You're talking to a guy who loves Nicolas Cage and Reb Brown. I can handle over-the-top.

I think the big issue for me is that it seems all the Musketeer movies have tried to "modernize" the story in an effort to make it more "awesome." The action is filmed in such a way that you can tell it really desperately wants to be a Michael Bay or John Woo style explosion fest. The problem is that back in those days, there weren't bazookas or grenade launchers or Uzis or convenient barrels of gasoline to shoot and blow up. There also wasn't Arnold Schwarzenegger.

For that reason, things blow up that really have no business exploding, people seem to have super-human acrobatic abilities, and this really bizarre, unsettling "old-world-super-tech" exists that is clearly the result of the filmmakers having played WAY too much "Assassin's Creed." Zeppelin Battleships aside, there's some pretty ridiculous steampunk inspired weaponry in this movie that is the closest they could get to modern weapons, but it quickly gets stupid.

Why is this is the Queen's closet? How do her servants get in there? Do they take it down every time the Queen needs another pair of shoes? Who puts it back up? Wouldn't a locked door work better? How about a guard? Does Paul W.S. Anderson really need to rip off scenes from "Resident Evil?"

All I'm saying is that when you have Ye Olde Laser Trappes...just break down and give Athos a laptop complete with GPS tracking capability already. Just say Da Vinci invented it and satellites. That's your excuse for every other piece of absurd tech they have.

It's clear that the reason for all of this is to make the 17th century as "awesome" as the 21st. Because apparently, the filmmakers don't think just plain old swordfighting is cool. I got news for them: it is. Swordfighting is cool. It's always been cool. It doesn't need your help, nor the 21st century's help. And I can prove this in three syllables - Errol Flynn.

Pictured above - Awesome.

You see, in a movie about swordfighting heroes, I want to see swordfighting...not silly gadgets that read like someone's Jules Verne/"Mission:Impossible" fanfic. Is that so much to ask?

At some point I feel I should talk about such trivial matters such as the plot, but what's the point? Why should you care if the movie doesn't care? I you are wondering if the plot is like the book, no it's not. Next silly question, please.

I can't say that the main cast was entirely noteworthy for me. Logan Lerman is the main character, D'Artagnan, which I always thought was weird that the unofficial fourth Musketeer is the main character in a story called "The Three Musketeers." Anyways. Logan was Percy yeah...real excitement there. Luke Evans and Matthew Macfadyen as Aramis and Athos were essentially unknown to me. Ray Stevenson was the only one of the Musketeers I recognized, having taken over for Tom Jane in the second "Punisher" movie.

That isn't to say that the supporting cast wasn't made up of talented people - Milla Jovovich, Christoph Waltz and Madds Mikkelsen play the bad guys and they are all decent, although Milla seems like she's still playing Alice from "Resident Evil" at times. I like all these people...and then there's Orlando Bloom. He plays what I guess is supposed to be the "Big Bad" of the film, but ends up just kind of being...annoying and faffs about a lot.

The funny thing is that I had NO IDEA that was Orlando Bloom. Oh, I knew he was in it, but I thought he was Aramis! I saw Luke Evans and thought it was Orlando Bloom. For the entire movie. It wasn't until the credits were rolling that I saw his name under "Buckingham" and I was stunned. It made his character that much more ridiculous when it was revealed that annoying piece of crap with a 17th century mullet was Orlando Bloom. That's hilarious.

He looks like Danny McBride in Tropic Thunder.
Did I have a point here? Was this just a rambling diatribe with no real goal other than to say something -- anything -- about a movie that was just so loud and obnoxious that I honestly have a difficult time remembering specifics other than loud noises and poofy shirts? Not really.

THE BOTTOM LINE - "The Three Musketeers" is silly. Very silly. Absurdly silly. But you probably knew that from the trailer. It's just as silly as you thought it was. There is big, dumb, loud, stupid entertainment to be had if you dig that kind of thing, and there is one (1) good swordfight at the end between Lerman and Madds Mikkelksen which is admittedly really, really good. Other than that, stick a pot on your head and have a friend bang it with a hammer for two hours. Same effect. Skip it.

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