Originally published March 19, 2012
I didn’t have high expectations for this movie, even with an all-star cast of Christoph Waltz, Matthew Mcfadyen, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Milla Jovovich, Mads Mikkelsen, Logan Lerman, Orlando Bloom (in supreme supervillain mode, amped up to 11), or a cameo by Til Schweiger.
It was a fun romp nonetheless. It didn’t add any mystique to the Musketeer pantheon, but I don’t believe it took away any prestige. That’s all we can ask of our adaptations nowadays.
Compared to other Musketeer adaptations, this film wholly embraces the swashbuckling romance we come to expect from a Musketeer movie. But the action was very post-Crouching Tiger, East meets West, like “The Musketeer” in 2001 with Justin Chambers.
The filmmakers used Xiong Xinxin, one of Jet Li’s stuntmen as their choreographer in that film. I know this sounds like I see this as a detriment, but I don’t. If anything, it lends credence to the source material. We must fall back to the great literature for the stories, even with the advancement of the technologically improbable in period movies where ordinary people can run up walls and do it slow motion.
My only true complaint is with the dialogue, which was cliched. When Athos (Matthew Mcfadyen) says “anyone who tells you otherwise is either a fool or trying to sell you something,” my cheese antennae went off the charts. I felt it oversimplified the rage he truly felt.
It fit in the context of the film, but I almost felt it was a disservice to the source to make the language modern. It rubbed me the wrong way. On the other hand, with the action being so modernized, I suppose the language had to follow suit. I am torn, and have no outlet to reconcile my feelings!
Another thing about the story is how quickly we fall back to Leonardo Da Vinci as the go-to MacGuffin in adventure movies. Surely there must be another reason to propel a story without falling back to Da Vinci and the hope that his machines would bring. I honestly don’t care about him as a precognizant inventor anymore. Yawn.
The rivalry between Mads Mikkelsen’s Rochefort and Lerman’s D’Artagnan was hilarious to watch, although I didn’t really feel there was much there. Furthermore, the whole Indiana Jones introduction of Rochefort? Very funny. Shoot first, ask questions later!
I like how they explained Logan’s American accent away by saying he was from Gascon. I don’t think there was much chemistry between Logan and Gabriella Wilde either. She played Constance Bonacieux, one of Queen Anne’s (the lovely Juno Temple) ladies-in-waiting. She was a little dull for me.
You know me, I want the females in the movies I watch to push the boundaries, even if movies are a man’s world and they cannot write well for a woman. Luckily, Milla Jovovich as Milady nailed it for me. She chewed up every scene she was in and spit it out with glee. Again, I believe her dialogue could’ve been better, but her husband wrote and directed this movie. She looked beautiful, as only a loving husband could frame his wife. And damned if she didn’t sell me on her overall awesomeness.
The movie ended on a cliffhanger, opening the door for a sequel. However, I have to agree with Milla; Summit dropped the ball promoting this movie. It could’ve been much more than it was promoted as.
I want to see the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) and his fleet of ships and fancy new airships frolic about. Not quite sure if they could use Twenty Years Later directly, or if they’ll just stay within the first book to keep the story going, or go completely off the rails and have it be a truly historically accurate epic picture.
Also: Christoph Waltz for president! I wish he could’ve had more to do as Cardinal Richelieu. He’s so amazing, I’d buy an audiobook of him reading the phone book, no joke.