Reviewed by: Timothy Flick
historical fiction—The Three Musketeers (Les Trois Mousquetaires) by Alexandre Dumas
Review: “The Musketeer” (2001)
swords in the Bible
bravery / courage
If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer
|Featuring:||Milla Jovovich … M’lady De Winter
Logan Lerman … D’Artagnan
Ray Stevenson … Porthos
Juno Temple … Queen Anne
Orlando Bloom … Duke of Buckingham
Matthew Macfadyen … Athos
Luke Evans … Aramis
Christoph Waltz … Cardinal Richelieu
Mads Mikkelsen … Rochefort
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|Director:||Paul W.S. Anderson|
|Producer:||Constantin Film Produktion
Nouvelles Éditions de Films
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“For every legend there is a new beginning.”
The Three Musketeers is a beloved literary classic that tells the story of a peasant boy living his dream as a Musketeer. Film adaptations of the story, on the other hand, have been hit miss over the decades, with various interpretations. For those who know the story as they watch the film, there will be little surprises. The film remains fairly loyal to the original storyline, with only a few deviations (Da Vinci’s war machine being the most noticeable) by writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson.
For those who are not familiar with the entertaining tale, The Three Musketeers is the story of a youthful fellow D’Artagnan and his journey to Paris to follow in his father’s footsteps of being a Musketeer. The moment D’Artagnan enters Paris, his troubles begin. His father had told him, “Look for trouble”—and D’Artagnan did, beginning with a confrontation with Rochfort, the leader of the cardinal’s guards. A failed duel between the two, leads to D’Artagnan seeking another chance to redeem himself, but, during his quest, he runs into Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, the famous three musketeers. During his attempts to duel the musketeers, the local French guards attack the four men for breaking the law. This leads to a very stylized sword fight that really kicks the film off and prepares viewers for what is to come.
The other side of the story follows M’lady De Winter, a con artist whose betrayals inflict the majority of problems in the film. M’lady betrays the love of Athos to plot with Cardinal Richelieu to betray the Duke of Buckingham. Cardinal Richelieu has his own agenda: becoming the king of France. He finds the teenage King Louis XIII to be inexperienced and unequipped to run the country. His scheming with M’lady is purely out of his own selfish desire,, and he even tells her this offhandedly. The two conspirators plot to destroy the relationship between the king and queen by manufacturing an affair between her and Buckingham.
When the four musketeers are notified of this treachery, they make it their swashbuckling duty to put an end to it; after all, they are warriors for the king and their duty is to bring justice to those who betray him. (Side note: In other adaptations, the Cardinal has been the main antagonist, so for those familiar with the story, I feel that should be pointed out in order to steer away from any confusion.)
Redemption and restoration is the central theme in the story. The musketeers are washed out drunken men deemed obsolete. D’Artagnan, who dreamed of becoming one of them, surprisingly does not lose his spirit and is an encouragement to the men lacking in desire to return to their former lifestyle. The plot to make Richelieu king, however, stirs them up and gives them a cavalier return to glory, while also bringing that sense of wholeness back.
The violence in the film is no surprise. There are multiple sword fights (one shows a character bleeding), character deaths, a pretty intense air ship fight, and characters being shot by guns and crossbows. The violence is not graphic, by any means, and is expected of films set in this era. Regarding language, there are a few expletives, here and there, with 3 or 4 s-words and no f-words. I did not notice any use of God’s name in vain, but the cardinal as a villain can be seen as negative toward the church; also, one of the warships bears a skeleton with a cross and sickle, representing the judge of life and death.
A positive is that Aramis was a former priest and prays for every one of his victims, a plot point that is enhanced in previous adaptations. I was pleased that it was not an oversight, but I do wish it was more fleshed out, as it is important to the character.
There is no sex in the film, but there are a few scenes with passionate kissing, and many scenes with female characters in period outfits revealing cleavage. Another scene shows M’lady removing her dress, but she is still clothed in a corset.
Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Musketeers in this story are servants, performing their deeds for the sake of others and not for personal gain. The same is said of Christ. He died so that many shall live. His life was an eternal sacrifice for humanity, in the way that Athos, Porthos, and Aramis see themselves sacrificing their well-being to correct a treacherous deed against their king.
“The Three Musketeers” film, with little marketing, seems to be a film that is being shoved out to the public because the money was spent on it. “The Three Musketeers” is not bad, by any means, but the most important question is why it exists. It seems like a simple cash grab aimed towards the “Pirates of the Caribbean” crowd, but surprisingly fulfills those moments of exciting swashbuckling that many enjoy watching. “The Three Musketeers” film is an entertaining—albeit unnecessary—adventure that will probably be forgotten about as soon as it’s watched once, but in this period of slow time at the theaters, it is worth taking a look.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.