The Three Musketeers
It seems a bit unusual for a movie like this to be released in Germany seven weeks before it comes out in America (where it opens October 21). But then again, it shot in Bavaria and is chock a block with big European actors. So there’s that.
Anyways, THE THREE MUSKETEERS is pretty awful all around. It’s a very loose, almost steampunk adaptation of the story with a lot of visual flair, but is overwhelmingly hollow.
Paul W.S. Anderson is a terrible filmmaker. Absolutely terrible. He’s yet to make anything halfway decent. So while I was intrigued by the trailers, seeing his name there led to some very low expectations going in. And his usual problems are all there. Wretched dialogue (and I mean wretched), flimsy story, odd performances, and action that while competent, is just so-so.
Each time these characters open their mouths things just get worse and worse. There are some of the usual action movie eye-rolling one-liners, but in Anderson’s hands they’re just punishment instead of being par for the course. I can’t imagine what he does with his actors, but they all deliver all their lines just…wrong. Oddly said, poorly timed, and almost non-human. Some of their dialogue wouldn’t be so bad if it had been delivered more naturally, or by actors with personality.
There are a lot of actors here who speak English as a second language. That’s not an automatic problem of course. Milla Jovovich and Christoph Waltz both do fine when speaking English. But the rest. Wow. There’s a reason they haven’t broken through into English speaking movies. Odd voices and no grasp of how to properly pace the words. Til Schweiger especially (he’s sort of the German George Clooney, he’s huge here).
As I said before, the action is so-so. It’s certainly not as awful as the rest of the film. It’s not jarring or choppy or hard to follow (which is always a plus in 3D), like so many other films. Chris thought, as far as swashbuckling goes, the action was pretty damned good. I felt it’s certainly watchable, but lacks any real tension or oomph. It has all the excitement of a theme park stunt show. Everything looks carefully and painstakingly choreographed and executed. Which of course it has to be, but usually you can stage it and edit it so that you’d never know.
The film is, however, gorgeous. Really fantastic art and production design. The locations, costumes, and props are all amazing to look at. I still can’t tell if they actually shot at Versailles, or just had really great sets/matte work. I know most of it was shot in Bavaria and Potsdam, but it sure looked authentic. The special effects as a whole are pretty good, save for a couple of shots here and there that are pretty terrible. There’s an explosion near the end that’s downright laughable.
But, man, is this movie just terrible. And it never approaches the so bad it’s good neighborhood either, which is a shame as those are few and far between these days.
So when it does come out, just skip it. Please.