The Musketeer – Alexandre Dumas week

Time for Alexandre Dumas’ most enduring creation, The Three Musketeers.

Sadly Richard Lester’s definitive version from 1973 is not available. Neither is the 1948 version starring Gene Kelly, Lana Turner, and Vincent Price. Heck even the groan inducing (though Oliver Platt made a good Porthos) Disney version from 1993 is missing.

The Musketeer is currently available on instant Netflix.

The Musketeer

The Musketeer (2001) – PG-13

In this rollicking adaptation of the Alexander Dumas classic “The Three Musketeers,” young D’Artagnan seeks to join the legendary musketeer brigade and avenge his father’s death — but finds that the group has disbanded.

“We’re drunks, not fools.

One Line Review: The tagline “As You’ve Never Seen It” is a warning, not a boast.

Well I suppose there is some truth in advertising. Don’t expect this to be about the three musketeers – it really is all about D’Artagnon. The movie is doubly miscast. Aramis is really Athos but that’s okay because the three musketeers are just window dressing. Most of the part the musketeers played is handled by Planchet, D’Artagnon’s manservant. Count Rochefort is present but his character traits are actually given to the mysterious Man in Black, including his eye patch. Constance Bonacieux is renamed Francesca Bonacieux.

The three musketeers don’t hold a candle to young and somehow incredibly experienced D’Artagnon. Honestly, after seeing D’Artagnon in action, the Three Musketeers look incompetent. They even, embarrassingly, come to D’Artagnon proverbial hats-in-hand for aid. D’Artagnon turns them down of course because this is his film, until he needs aid in the final act.

The man in black believes himself more powerful and wiser than Cardinal Richeliu. He threatens the Queen and Captain Treville. He is so evil that he kills his own men (one of my least favorite tropes). The plot is so eye-rollingly ludicrous that I am still suffering from whiplash. All of this is before the final act, which I assure you is far worse though shall remain spoiler-free.

The fights are the only real reason to watch this. There is a lot of good fight choreography but if we don’t care about the characters (and we don’t) then it all seems rather pointless. Costuming and set design are quite nice but go somewhat unappreciated. The acting is wooden pretty much across the board including stars who know better like Mena Suvari. Stephen Rea and Catherine Deneuve are wasted here. Tim Roth is entertaining but does not have much to do and his character is essentially a transplanted Bond villain.

Very mild spoiler alert: The climactic battle is completely ripped off from an episode of Xena and actually makes no logistical sense. I will say though that it makes more sense than the scene immediately preceding it where a character has a choice of two weapons.