Today’s Prayer Focus

The Three Musketeers

MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for sequences of adventure action violence.

Reviewed by: Timothy Flick

Moral Rating: Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Teens Adults
Genre: Action Adventure Romance 3D Adaptation
Length: 1 hr. 50 min.
Year of Release: 2011
USA Release: October 21, 2011 (wide—3,000+ theaters)
DVD: March 13, 2012
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Summit Entertainment

historical fiction—The Three Musketeers (Les Trois Mousquetaires) by Alexandre Dumas

Review: “The Musketeer” (2001)

swords in the Bible


bravery / courage

ROYALTY of the Bible: kings / queens / princes

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

SUICIDE—What does the Bible say? Answer

If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer

Featuring Milla JovovichM’lady De Winter
Logan Lerman … D’Artagnan
Ray StevensonPorthos
Juno TempleQueen Anne
Orlando BloomDuke of Buckingham
Matthew Macfadyen … Athos
Luke EvansAramis
Christoph WaltzCardinal Richelieu
Mads MikkelsenRochefort
James CordenPlanchet
See all »
Director Paul W.S. Anderson
Producer Constantin Film Produktion
Nouvelles Éditions de Films
See all »
Distributor Distributor: Summit Entertainment. Trademark logo.Summit Entertainment, a division of Lionsgate Films

“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.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—I should start out by saying that I’m not sure I could honestly recommend this film as a whole-family-including-the-youngsters film. It depends on each family’s standards. That said, I’m an 18-year-old Christian girl, and say whole-heartedly that I LOVED The Three Musketeers. I’d see it again in a second if I wasn’t trying to save money. I’ve always loved swashbuckling adventure type stuff. The acting, script, direction, cinematography, score, stunts, CGI, etc. Were all very good in my humble opinion, and I’m glad that my generation now has its own version of the story.

There was some questionable content, as is unfortunately expected nowadays. The most surprising to me was the 2 or 3 s-words, because it felt like they were just kind of thrown in there pointlessly by the writers. One of the main villains is a Cardinal, but from history class I’ve grown accustomed to men of the church in that day being less than honorable. It’s more important that Aramis was portrayed as the man of faith that he is (praying for the souls of those he kills in battle and such). See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Brittany, age 18 (USA)
Positive—I am surprised to see this movie compared unfavorably to the 1993 “Disney” version, which is not worthy of that family-friendly title. The 1993 version had tons of gratuitous sexual content, with camera angles that forced the viewer to see things that should not be seen. Every scene with Cardinal Richelieu (Tim Curry) had sexual innuendo, and there was a scene in a tavern with the musketeers behaving like all the women around them were prostitutes. And that movie was rated PG!

This 2011 version, despite being PG-13, and not released by Disney, is actually a lot CLEANER than the 1993 version. It wasn’t perfect, as the review points out, but whatever is in it is quite mild and related to the plot (i.e., Milady in a corset stealing the jewels, which could not have been done any other way). The violence in both films is about the same, although this 2011 version has more slow-motion. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Mark, age 30 (USA)
Positive—***SPOILER WARNINGS*** Having seen three previous versions of Alexandre Dumas” classic novel The Three Musketeers, I was intrigued by this new version when I read an interview with the director, and he said that he would not compromise the fun of doing a period piece. But when the first trailer appeared, I knew that it was NOT going to be a faithful interpretation of the famous novel. Still, I was fascinated by the visuals, and that it was actually filmed in 3-D.

So, the fact that liberties were taken with the source material didn’t bother me as much as the awful 1973, 1974 and 1989 versions did. The 3-D is well done, and is well worth the $13. The movie opens with a map, and, as the camera zooms in and pans around, you get the sense that you’re really there. That is just one example of a scene where the 3-D is used well, and two more examples are: a scene when the camera comes down into Richelieu’s chamber while Richelieu and Milady De Winter are talking and, of course, during the action scenes, of which there is no scarcity.

The acting is excellent, from Matthew Mcfayden as Athos to the lovely Gabriella Wilde as Constance.

See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
D, age 25 (USA)
Positive—After reading the reviews here, I decided to take a chance on this movie last night and watched it with my family. First off, I want to say that I loved the feel, attention to detail throughout, acting, and look of this movie. I think it was done extremely well. I tend to be very strict overall in the movies I watch and typically pass on ones that have swearing, nudity and anything overtly nasty. This movie would have been almost perfect, if they would have refrained from using the S-word a few times and bastard. While watching the movie, I was really taken back that these words were included in the script, at all, as it never really flowed with the way the characters normally spoke, and it really did feel like they were just thrown in to ensure the movie wasn’t too squeaky clean. Pretty sad.

The director does make a comment in the bonus features that he is not a man of faith and that world is very foreign to him. With that in mind, I suppose it is pretty amazing that someone coming from that viewpoint could make something as clean and enjoyable as this movie was overall.

There were some scenes with cleavage in period costume, and Malady does have a scene where she appears to be wearing only period undergarments, but I never felt that these scenes were really that bad, especially considering what you will see just going to a public pool, or the skirts and tops that many women wear in our own churches. I also did not see any horrific bloody scenes, as one reviewer alluded to. In fact, I don’t think I saw any. All of the sword scenes (while people do die), did not have any blood visible (except for a quick pan to show that someones clothing had been cut, and they were wounded, or some red marks on a person’s face or clothing. Definitely nothing graphic.

In the end, this will be a movie that I purchase down the road. I am really sad that it has the little language that it has, but feel that it does in the end focus on honor, love, trust, etc. … Many of the characters are broken people trying to come back from great disappointment in their lives.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Mike, age 43 (USA)
Neutral—I made a decision early on to enjoy this movie, no matter how stupid it was. And I did. It was a fun adventure. Though it does seem a bit sad to me that the filmmakers didn’t try a little harder. They had Mr. Darcy, for pete’s sake! And instead they focus on Logan Lerman (for the teenyboppers, I suppose) who, quite frankly, cannot pull off the long-haired look. I’m also wondering why they felt the need for a cliffhanger ending. Do they honestly think anyone would care about a sequel? Maybe it would work… if they killed off the king, Milady, and Logan Lerman in the opening act and actually focused on the Musketeers! Now that I would pay to see.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
Kadie Jo, age 19 (USA)
Negative—I was saddened by all the extreme violence and bloody killings in this movie. It also contained repeated swear words and blatant sexual innuendos, as well as repeated exposure of cleavage. It contained a “suicide” and the musketeers drinking and bestowing the virtues of drinking. The movie portrayed a very feminine king wearing heels, lipstick and a dangling pearl earring.

The villain was a “religious” man. His ship’s mascot was a skeleton holding a crucifix of Christ in its hand, which was zoomed in upon, so that it wouldn’t be overlooked. One of the lines spoken was that “evil is in the eye of the beholder.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
Diane, age 40 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I went into this movie not expecting much. Probably just another action flick movie… I came out of this movie wanting more. There was some objectionable content, but better than most movies. 17th Century dresses that reveal cleavage, mild swearing, etc. A few moments that broke the flow of the movie or wasn’t great acting, but mostly it was a fun movie to see.

I have not seen the previous 3 musketeers movies, so I don’t have anything to compare this version with, but by itself it was very enjoyable.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Ellen, age 15 (USA)
Positive—I saw “The Three Musketeers” yesterday, and, overall, I thought it was well worth my money and time. I didn’t see it in 3D, so I can’t tell you if that is good or not. It did have it’s flaws, but it was definitely better than average.

The only version of “The Three Musketeers” I’d seen before was the Disney version with Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, and Tim Curry, so that’s what I’m comparing it to. The characters were mostly spot-on. Porthos wasn’t as awesome or spontaneously hilarious like, he was in the Disney version,, and he wasn’t a pirate.

Cardinal Richelieu wasn’t as evil as he was in the older version, which made him less of a bad guy, but the movie was much less uncomfortable. Orlando Bloom, in the part of the Duke of Buckingham, was pretty amazing. You never met the Duke in the older version, he was just referred to by other characters, but I think that he made a nice addition and gave the story more depth. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Claire W, age 15 (USA)
Positive—I liked this movie a lot. Although there are a few things I’d like to mention. First, if you like Sherlock Homes, you will like this movie, too. The violence is okay. I mean, I think younger children might be frightened, but it’s not the worst, either. As for all the kissing, it was a little annoying. There is quite a bit of it, too. And there is one scene where one of the female characters takes off her dress, but she does have a under coating, so nothing is shown. Besides, all of that, it is a really fun movie. It is exciting and full of adventure. Although the ending was a little weak, it was still good. I will definitely watch this movie again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Meaghan, age 13 (USA)

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