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"The Three Musketeers" - (2011) - {Blu-ray}
Edward McNulty
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Release Date:
Special Features:

See Below


Of the four versions of Alexander Dumaís classic adventure tale readily available , Paul W. S. Andersonís will seem the most outlandish to lovers of the book or the earlier versions. He and his scriptwriters have done to (or ďfor,Ē as admirers of the film contend) Dumas what the makers of the new Sherlock Holmes films have done to Conan Doyle, jazzed the story up with James Bond-like gadgetry appropriate only for the 21st century, probably in an attempt to lure away young adults from their video games.***

The film starts out in Venice where the Three Musketeers, Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Porthos (Ray Stevenson), and Aramis (Luke Evans) are working with Athosí lover, Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich), in an elaborate heist to steal the plans of Leonardo da Vinciís airship. However, Milady double crosses them, making off with the plans and giving them to Englandís Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). Angered by their failure, Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) disbands the group.***

Jump to a year later when DíArtagnan (Logan Lerman), son of a musketeer, sets off to find the Three and become one of them. There are the familiar misunderstandings, with the youth winding up in back to back duels with the three (whom he does not recognize as the friends of his father), and the arrival of over 40 of the Cardinalís men bent upon arresting the four for violating the ban on public dueling. Only 40? Hardly favorable odds for the heroes of this preposterous fantasy.***

I have no intention of describing the complex story further except to mention that the airships are indeed built, our heroes stealing the one made by the Duke of Buckingham and then becoming engaged in an aerial battle with one built by the Cardinal. The special effects are indeed spectacular, especially when the two crippled airships land atop the Cathedral of Notre Dame. ***

Special Features:

Commentary with the director /Two behind-the-scenes featurettes: - Cast and Crew Stories - 17th Century Action/ Deleted/extended scenes/ Blu-ray exclusive Access: Three Musketeers featurette

Final Words:

This then is a version for those who judge movies by the amount of spectacular action and dazzling special effects. But so much is lost when this is the focus: in the earlier versions we feel the pathos of Athos at being betrayed by the woman whom he loves, and the scene in which they part forever is especially touching (my favorite is the 1948 version with Van Heflin as Athos and Lana Turner as Milady). There is none of this in the soulless new version, which ends with a set up for a sequel, one in which it appears that a sky full of airships will be more memorable than the three plus one Musketeers.***


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