Wednesday, 12 October 2011

239: Review - The Three Musketeers

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

The Three Musketeers 2011 poster

The Three Musketeers
12th October 2011. Location: Cinema

The only thing that surprised me about this film is how much I didn't detest it.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I didn't like it. At its best, I found it to be astoundingly average. A bit like 'Pirates of the Caribbean' without the pirates. Or the Caribbean. Or the fun. There is humour in here, but a lot of it consists of James Corden channeling his best Ricky Gervais impression, and then making a face.

Yes; in my quest to remain spoiler free, I hadn't visited the IMDB page and noticed James Corden's face there. In fairness to the funster, once I'd gotten over the shock of seeing him and expected nothing from his presence, he was mostly just being himself. More painful was listening to the audience's guffaws as he delivered his sitcom-like lines. Then made a face.

But let's move on: There are things I want to say about the film, whilst spending as little time as possible reliving it. As has becoming a habit for this year, I'm not familiar with the original source text of The Three Musketeers. Neither the book, nor the previous incarnation of the film. Mrs Blackout is, and she rated this version more lowly than I have, so that probably tells you something.

So, Paul W.S. Anderson prod-directing, and this has his stamp all over it. No appearances from Colin Salmon or Liz May Brice, but we get scene transition courtesy of a re-locating map, and he's even managed to squeeze a laser-dodge sequence in (well barely; the mechanics behind it don't work) without any lasers. I'm not opposed to that, by the way, I actually liked Resident Evil and Alien vs Predator. But unlike those movies, there's no tension here. No blood and no death. Yeah, I know it's only a 12A, but they're clashing swords every two and a half minutes, for crying out loud. Apart from the one token (off camera) death at the end, everyone lives to badly deliver their lines another day.

Oh yeah, the dialogue. I expect better from Matthew Macfayden, I really do. When it comes to Athos' heartfelt speech to D'Artagnan at the height of the final act, he just flatly trots out some embarassed-sounding shit about 'following your heart'. If that is the best take they got of that shot, I can barely imagine how appalling the others must have been. Christoph Waltz isn't given that much to actually do, so his scenes are somehow less cringe-inducing, but everyone seems to be having a hard time of what they've been handed here; with the possible exception of Orlando Bloom, who seems to be having enormous fun as Buckingham. Arguably more fun than the audience, it has to be said.

And I know how this is going to sound, really I do, but Milla Jovovich is getting too old for this shit. She's capable of better, it's time to move onwards and upwards.

The Three Musketeers is essentially a very expensively-made pantomime for people who haven't seen that many movies. Your kids are going to love it. For some reason.

I can't find it within myself to hate it outright, though. Its worst crime (for me) is just how monumentally dull it all is. At no point was I actually engaged in the story. I spent the duration thinking about the special effects and references/homages to other films. None of which are that badly done, they're just more noticable than what you're meant to be watching.

Oh, and can someone tell me how you fire an exploding projectile into a helium-filled balloon without it exploding all to shit, please? I don't even mind that they managed to mine/condense enough helium to fill the airships, I'd just like the physics to work.


...and then James Corden made a face.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.


  1. Helium doesn't explode. It's an inert gas. That's why they put it in those balloons you give children at fairs and let you buy kits to fill them at parties.

  2. Fair play, I stand educated :)
    Many thanks.

  3. Is there some post modern navel gazing social life circle mechanic dealio going on here ?
    "More painful was listening to the audience's guffaws as he delivered his sitcom-like lines. Then made a face."
    Funny. And I can understand that. But it makes me wonder if someone doesnt then read
    "Oh, and can someone tell me how you fire an exploding projectile into a helium-filled balloon without it exploding all to shit, please? ..."

    And then tip tapper into their blog to make a similar comment about being in pain when people say things like that.
    And then no doubt 5 seconds later saying or doing something that makes someone else wince in pain. And then blog about it.

    Where does it all end ?!

    What goes around comes around it seems. . .