There’s a moment in Paul W. S. Anderson’s “Three Musketeers” where one of titular characters bemoans the way new technologies made swordsmen obsolete. I guess this was meant to made us sympathize with our heroes but it’s actually quite ironic: although there’s lot of weaponry used in “Three Musketeers” there’s very little actual swordplay.
Same could be said about the movie’s cast. This is a film with some really cool actors: Christoph Walz (Ingluorious Basterds), Ray Stevenson (Rome), Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Valhalla Rising), Matthew Macfadyen (Spooks) and, yes, even Milla Jovovich (who is admired by many, but not necessarily for her acting abilities). All of these actors try their best – Walz as Cardinal Richelieu is an especially inspired choice – but they are all swept aside to make way for bland, smirking, Justin Bieber-esque visage of Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) whose lack of charisma is then compensated by CGI wonders.
Like many modern blockbusters, “Three Musketeers” often feels like a compromise: it wants to depict Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel on screen while simultaneously trying to tell its own adventure story. It could’ve worked as either one of those but not as both. When trying to follow plot from the novel, Anderson’s movie feels stifled and overly complicated. When it invents scenes of its own – like the movie’s opening – it becomes a cheesy sort of fun gamers will love.
Well, maybe one day we’ll get to see “Milla Jovovich: Female Musketeer” film. I doubt it will be any better, but at least it will be much prettier to look at.