‘The Three Musketeers’ duels to stand out

By Jeff Mitchell

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The action adventure release “The Three Musketeers” introduces us to another film adaption of the classic adventures written by Alexandre Dumas. The film is directed and produced by Paul W.S. Anderson, director of “The Resident Evil” series and films such as “Death Race.” Upon hearing these titles, it might seem easy to cast this movie aside as a tawdry action film with no heart. While this assumption may be partially true, “The Three Musketeers” encompasses several qualities that set the film apart from standard action movies. From the beginning, this movie attempts to capture a Guy Ritchie – Sherlock Holmes feel, but fails to sustain it.

The acting stands fairly well. Matthew Macfadyen (Athos) Luke Evans (Aramis) and Ray Stevenson (Porthos) all deliver convincing performances. Macfadyen’s acting definitely proves to be the strongest and while the actors work well together, it is questionable whether the chemistry is sufficient enough for them to be seen as part of the iconic brotherhood. Orlando Bloom (Duke of Buckingham) portrays a lavish villain. It is very refreshing to see Bloom step into this role and differ from the squeaky clean protagonist with a heart of gold that he usually plays. Logan Lerman (D’Artagnan) is one of the weaker links in this film, as his character is written into a type casted role of a young, naïve, brash warrior who finds himself striving to impress a young woman he falls for. Though it is not quite Lerman’s acting that is the issue, but instead his linear and constricting character development.

Scenery is a shining factor in this film. From the costumes, to the vistas, lighting and music, this film easily immerses the audience in the setting and atmosphere. The audio is also well done, as it includes everything from the sound of horse hooves on the cobblestone to the clinking of swords against belts. Costumes appear true to the time period, adding to the characters’ believability and creating a vibrant contrast to the scenery. The scenes which include everything from castles to airships are grand in scale and highly detailed, forcing the audience to take notice.

The plot is also deeper than expected and includes classical themes of loyalty and camaraderie. While this is more than a commonly themed revenge action film, it is not exactly a political thriller either. However, there are a fair share of cheesy one-liners in the film that remove the audience from the adventure and remind viewers that it is still a Hollywood film. Most audiences are not expecting a complex plot with this film, but it would not have been too difficult to at least include some character development. As the movie does stand to be nearly two hours, the film makers definitely did have the potential to flesh out character involvement more than they did.

The fighting scenes are the highlights of this film. The choreography is very tight and the action sustains the viewer’s attention. The roaring of colossal airships and wild sword fights add to the action and excitement of the scenes. The fighting is not generally gory, as it is geared for a younger audience, but is still compelling none the less.

“The Three Musketeers” proves to keep the audience’s interest through its use of action and rich environment. The storyline is not too poor when compared to other adventure films, but it falls into cliché pitfalls that hinder it from rising above the rest. With expectations for a light hearted adventure movie, “The Three Musketeers” hits the mark, but fails to transcend the stereotype of high quality action adventure movies.

Jeff Mitchell can be reached at [email protected]