Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

All for One. but How Many for This? Film of the Week

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

All for One. but How Many for This? Film of the Week

Article excerpt

Byline: David Sexton

THE THREE MUSKETEERS IN 3D Cert 12A, 110 mins SO HERE'S your half-term movie, if it pours. And freezes. The Three Musketeers, published in 1844, always was an appalling old warhorse of a story. It has been filmed before, at least 20 times. The most famous version probably remains the two-parter directed by Richard Lester (1973 and 1974), starring Oliver Reed, along with Frank Finlay, Charlton Heston, Christopher Lee, Raquel Welch, Faye Dunaway, Spike Milligan and Roy Kinnear. It might be still better remembered if it had, as originally planned, starred the Beatles.

This new version is a pretty straightforward attempt to pick up any slack left by the tiring Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. That's to say, it's preposterous panto for the kiddies.

Alexandre Dumas's basic story remains more or less intact -- the young Gascon toughie, D'Artagnan, comes to Paris and joins the three musketeers, Aramis, Porthos and Athos, in an adventure which involves getting the queen's jewels back from the Duke of Buckingham, thus frustrating a plot against the king masterminded by Cardinal Richelieu. But it has been supplemented by a daft subplot involving airships -- literally great big wooden boats, hanging beneath balloons, armed with flamethrowers and proto-machine guns.

Leonardo da Vinci invented them, you see. In the opening scene we see the three musketeers capturing his secret blueprints from a Raiders of the Lost Ark-style boobytrapped vault in Venice (me neither), only for them to be snatched away again by deceitful doubleagent Milady (Milla Jovovich, under the impression, surely mistaken, that being a manipulative monster is all it takes to be a thoroughly modern woman) and given to the enemy Buckingham (Orlando Bloom, beyond irritating as a mannered baddie).

Then it's a year later and Buckingham floats into Paris in a brand new airship. …

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