Image Courtesy of Alliance Films
Legal Line (C) 2011 Constantin Film Production GMBH, NEF Productions, S.A.S and New Legacy Film LTD. All Rights Reserved By Constantin Film Verleih GMBH. Distributed Exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.
Dir: Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Death Race (2008), AVP: Alien vs Predator)
Cast: Logan Lerman, Milla Jovovich, Matthew Macfadyen, Mads Mikkelsen, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Christoph Watlz, Orlando Bloom, Freddie Fox, Juno Temple, James Corden
Reason to see: 2011 Book to Film Club Selection plus it was on my list of Most Anticipated Films of 2011 (#21)
I wasn't quite sure what to make of The Three Musketeers (2011) before heading in, as it's a highly noted classic adventure story that has been adapted in to so many films over the years and then to have the man who brought us the Resident Evil films, Paul W.S. Anderson directing, I was even more dumbfounded. But the trailers looked fun and I adored the cast (Mads! Milla! Ray! Oh my...), so I picked it for the Book to Film Club and said I was going to give it a chance.
Now, I do have to admit that getting through the book The Three Musketeers was a HUGE challenge. It was the hardest read (but I didn't dislike it) and the biggest challenge of the 2011 Book to Film Club because it was so long and so dense. Thankfully, the film is a lovely adaptation trimming away oodles and oodles of things I didn't miss and keeping all the adventure, including main story and the spirit of all of the characters. Before reading the book I was mostly excited because of the casting. I'll see anything that Mads Mikkelsen (After the Wedding / Efter brylluppet, Valhalla Rising) & Ray Stevenson (King Arthur, Kill the Irishman) are in, especially together, and I continue to love Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief) , Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil Series) & Luke Evans (Tamara Drewe, Immortals). Plus, now I have to know where the heck Matthew Macfadyen has been hiding (period films?) because he in instantly going on my to-watch list as he is an excellent actor.
I know that is a lot of names, but that is because the film has so many delicious characters from our young protagonist D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman) who is off to prove himself and quickly becomes entangled with the Three Musketeers of Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Porthos (Ray Stevenson) and Aramis (Lucas Evans) who although highly skilled are not really needed anymore and come to odds with the Cardinal's (Christoph Watlz) guards lead by Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen) and pretty much rule the place even though it's in the hands of a very king Louis (Freddie Fox). And then of course we have Milla Jovovich as the cunning Milady, whom is highly skilled in many ways.
How they flushed out all of the characters so well is a huge feat in it of itself, I'm a big fan of ensemble casts in action/adventure films and they are able to create and hone the characters including their own unique set of skills, they interpersonal relationships, histories and motivations all without feel like it's being telecasted to you. And I didn't go in super knowledgeable reading the book - I could barely tell the Musketeers apart! But here, it was easy and delightful to know who was who; and what trouble they are getting into. And there is a lot of trouble to get into, the film is full of plots and trickery and the mystery of solving your counterparts motivations and the meticulous planning to work on and through the deception. Honestly, the planning won me over more than I anticipated. But the art direction and styling was also gorgeous, although they certainly took some liberties with devices which gave it a fun vibe and you really just have to go with it.
I loved watching The Three Musketeers, it is literally one of the most fun out of all of the movies I have seen all year. It's outrageous, outlandish and over the top but it's backed by a solid plot, a fantastic set of characters and a brilliant cast. I really enjoyed the performances of each and every person in the film who breathed in the joy, romance, adventure and life into the film. Absolutely wonderful!
- Feature Commentary with director/producer Paul W.S. Anderson and producers Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzer discussing the draw to the film, the influences which run the gambit from classic Hollywood to current games, a fair amount of character & character dynamics especially in reference to how close they tied them to how they are depicted in the book including the age of D'Artagnan, lots of detail on the locations especially the amazing amount of real locations (including a private castle) as well as what (if anything) was changed/altered/enhanced by visual effects. They also chat the sword work including the fact almost everything is done by the actors with real swords and the individual fighting styles, the elaborate costumes, the influences that developed the look and feel of the film, the different romance stories in the film, the conscious choice to ensure the characters and struggles were relatable to a current day audience, the appeal of the film to a large audience, challenges (and luck) with the weather and the authenticity of many of the weapons and creations at least conceptually to the time. It's quite an informed and entertaining commentary, and I loved how well they know and note the book, and share which moments are straght from the book as well as reasons behind changes made - it was great to hear their perspective.
- Cast and Crew (20 minutes) behind the scenes, film clips and interviews withdirector Paul W.S. Anderson, producer Jeremy Bolt & on the actors and their connection to their character; the actors discussing bringing their characters to life and also the connection of the characters to the book and the different takes they took to other ways the characters have been portrayed in other Musketeer films. Really great character bios on each of Althos (Matthew Macfadyen), Milady (Milla Jovovich), Aramis (Luke Evans), Porthos, (Ray Stevenson), D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman), Richelieu (Christoph Watlz), Buckingham (Orlando Bloom), Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen), Planchet (James Corden) & a look at them as Paul W.S. Anderson's Three Musketeers.
- Achieving the Look (15 minutes total) 4 Featurettes on the Costumes (5 minutes), Production Design (4 minutes), A New Dimension of Musketeers on the film being in 3D (5 minutes) and Uncovering France in Germany (2 minutes) with behind the scenes, concept art, on set & on locations footage, film clips and interviews with director Paul W.S. Anderson, producer Jeremy Bolt, costume designer Pierre-Yves Gayraud, production designer Paul Denham Austerberry, stunt coordinator/2nd unit director Nick Powell and actors Matthew Macfadyen, Orlando Bloom, Mads Mikkelsen, Freddie Fox, Gabriella Wilde, Milla Jovovich, James Corden, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Logan Lerman.
- 17th Century Action (10 minutes) 5 Featurettes on different action elements of the film from Fencing to specific fight & action sequences and new concepts/combinations used for the film including re-invisioning Milady. Includes interviews with director Paul W.S. Anderson, stunt coordinator/2nd unit director Nick Powell and actors Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans, Logan Lerman, Milla Jovovich, Mads Mikkelsen, plus behind the scenes on shooting, rehearsals with fencing instructor Imke Duplitzer, plus discussing individual styles of the fighting styles of the different characters, the fact that the actors trained & did their own fights,plus the huge sets and amazing locations for the and the impressive amount of actual sets over green screens which are used more for enhancement
- Deleted & Extended Scenes (12 scenes, 13 minutes) really interesting added footage, and I absolutely loved that they added an 'extended footage' watermark for the extended scenes to indicate what had been added.
Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it; I grin from ear to ear for the entire time, every time I watch it
I'll own it
I highly recommend it to fans of adventurous and fun-spirited films
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(Left to right) LOGAN LERMAN (white shirt), LUKE EVANS, RAY STEVENSON (back to camera) and MATTHEW MACFADYEN star in THE THREE MUSKETEERS, an Alliance Films' release.
(L-R) CHRISTOPH WALTZ and MILLA JOVOVICH star in THE THREE MUSKETEERS 3D, an Alliance Films release
(L-R) ORLANDO BLOOM and CHRISTOPH WALTZ star in THE THREE MUSKETEERS 3D, an Alliance Films release.
© Shannon Ridler, 2011 - 2012
Originally reviewed for Theatrical Release - November 28, 2011