Latest ‘Musketeers’ butchers Dumas

Fans of French novelist Alexandre Dumas’ high-flying adventures will be sorely disappointed by the latest remake of “The Three Musketeers.” The film borrows heavily from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” playbook — even going as far as borrowing one of its actors. Unfortunately for audiences, it wasn’t Johnny Depp.

Over-the-top special effects and bloodless fight scenes try to cover the fact that the plot of “The Three Musketeers” is paper-thin. The screenwriters obviously weren’t after historical accuracy or literary wit, since most the dialogue uses modern-day slang.

For those looking for two hours of escapist nonsense and nothing more, “Musketeers” fits the bill.

The story is familiar — country boy D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) journeys to Paris in hopes of joining the three musketeers, Athos (Luke Evans), Porthos (Ray Stevenson) and Aramis (Matthew MacFayden).

Meanwhile, the Richlieu (Christoph Waltz) is plotting to seize the French throne from  King Louis XIII (Freddie Fox).

The down and out Musketeers must unite to defeat double agent Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) and her employers — the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) and Richlieu.

The plot is an excuse for special effects-laden adventures like flying battleships and Kung fu-infused swordplay.

Unfortunately, the Musketeers themselves fall flat. The Musketeer-to-be D’Artagnan spends more time fawning over himself that it’s a wonder he had any time to fight. Director Paul W.S. Anderson (“Resident Evil”) doesn’t take the time to develop the Musketeers’ characters, which leads to a disconnect between them and audience members,

The most engaging character is the femme fatale Milady de Winter, who possesses the agility of a martial arts master and the grace of a gymnast while acrobating through a maze to steal a diamond necklace.

The Musketeers’ servant, Plancet (James Corden), serves as comic relief in the film, except he fails to coax out any laughs. Instead, Fox as the fashion-forward King Louis XIII steals the comic spotlight as he bickers with his tailor about the season’s “in” color.

“The Three Musketeers” promises to be the first film in a mega-movie franchise, evident by a final scene showing a villainous character on his way to extract his revenge on the musketeers “with interest.” But just because there was a teaser for a sequel, doesn’t mean it should be made.

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. 110 minutes.


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