The busts and bullets of The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers is an aging tale, which most everyone already knows the basics of, even if they’ve never seen or read an adaptation before now.

Athos, Porthos, and Aramis are the remnants of the French king’s Private army, mostly disassembled by the Cardinal.

Young D’Artagnan comes to Paris to join the musketeers, but finds the three of them disillusioned and disenfranchised. It is his courage and spirit which bring the remaining musketeers back into the life of heroes.

This time it has Mila Jovovich as the beautiful, probably evil, double (triple?) agent, Milady.

The films overture is some of the best 3D effects I’ve seen this year. The ‘here’s what’s been going on in France lately’ intro sequence is composed of really great looking 3D maps, and partially animated, interestingly styled ‘miniatures’ as if it were a battlefield plan.

The film then wastes no time jumping immediately into the action, as the heroes work their way into Leonardo DaVinci’s vault to steal plans for his airship/war machine, which become a major part of the plot. 

Of course, the 3D is easiest to appreciate during fight scenes – which are mostly well-choreographed and appropriately slow-motioned – and when seeing the characters work with neat Renaissance-style gadgets and traps, but the jewel of the 3D animation was the airship to airship combat sequences, which make up roughly the third quarter of the film. 

I’ve decided that from now on, all 3D films must have airship combat. No exceptions.

Jovovich is barely recognizable in this role. Much of her action in the film leaves one saying things to oneself along the lines of “You can’t fight like that in that kind of dress!”, but she shows her experience and chops as an action heroine, and while it seems at first that she was given all the best lines, it’s really that she’s just the best with delivery. 

Relative newcomer Logan Lerman plays well the inexperienced, impetuous youth, delivering the part with wit and vigor.

D’Artagnan’s development is rushed to save time, and makes one wonder, at points, why they bothered to develop him at all, but Lerman does what he can with a hackneyed script.

Juno Temple as the young queen is a shining gem who gets not nearly enough screen time. Each scene she is in, she dominates. It’s a kind of screen presence rarely seen, especially in an explosive action flick.

The rest of the cast including the popular Orlando Bloom only give fair performances at best, but this is not unexpected in a Paul W. S. Anderson film, as he’s always been much better at directing action than drama, so I don’t blame the actors.

Although, being honest, part of my issue with Orlando Bloom and Luke Evans being cast in this film is that they look too much alike, which was confusing at points. It was only made worse by their sporting of very similar facial hair.

Overall, the film is a fun, and visually outstanding adventure.

If you decide to check it out in the theater, spring for the 3D version, the great action and CGI scenes are well worth it, and since it was filmed in 3D, it won’t give you the headache that you get from a post-production 3D film.

The Three Musketeers is in theaters now.