The Three Musketeers Starring Milla Jovovich, Logan Lerman, Matthew Macfadyen & Ray Stevenson Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
PG-13, 110 min. Release date Oct. 21, 2011
What do Mickey Mouse, Charlie Sheen, Gene Kelly, and Barbie have in common?
They've all been featured in movies based on The Three Muskeeteers, Alexandre Dumas' enduring 1844 yarn of "one for all, all for one" French swordsmen on an international mission requiring both heroism and heart. A rousing tale that resonates throughout the ages, it's been adapted into more than 30 different film versions over the past 100 years.
And, well, here's the latest one.
This new cinematic riff keeps the novel's 17th century setting and premise but juices up the requisite swordplay with a ridiculous sideline about flying warship dirigibles, which eventually end up as a warships-kabob impaled on a cathedral spire.
"I hate air travel!" notes one character, puking into the clouds.
That line is but one example of the movie's feeble stabs at what passes for humor in the clunky, overly contrived script delivered by mostly unfamiliar, mostly European actors with British accents scampering around in fluffy "period" costumes on enormous, palatial sets and reacting to all sorts of computer-generated mayhem.
Moviegoers will spot a couple of familiar faces. Oscar winner Cristoph Waltz is the duplicitous Cardinal Richelieu, and former model Milla Jovovich plays Milady de Winter, a double-crossing superspy with a few tricks up her flounced petticoat.
Jovovich looks voluptuous in a torso-squeezing bustier, and director Paul W.S. Anderson (also her husband, how about that!) creates more than one opportunity for her to jiggle in slow-mo, cartoonishly acrobatic espionage sequences. Seeing the way Milady outfoxes and outmaneuvers all sorts of booby-traps, you can only surmise her character must have access to a Renaissance invention that somehow plays Matrix, Mission: Impossible and Kill Bill DVDs.
The rest of the actors seem to have been cast for their resemblance to other, better-known stars who all had the good sense to steer clear. One bears a passing resemblance to Robert Downey Jr. Another favors Dewayne "The Rock" Johnson, if Rock was a bit smaller and sported a bejeweled eye patch.
And over there-that guy could pass for Orlando Bloom in a poofy pompadour wig as the power-hungry Duke of Buckingham. Wait a minute… that IS Orlando Bloom in a poofy pompadour wig as the power-hungry Duke of Buckingham! How'd he end up here? Maybe he was jonesing for some Pirates of the Caribbean action after deciding to exit that successful franchise before the fourth movie set sail.
Bloom, and the rest of the actors, however, should have remained dry-docked instead of shipping out on this big, bloated Three Muske-mess, which, unfortunately, is primed for a sequel next year.
All for one, one for all–but no second helping for me, thanks.