The Three Musketeers | Film review
Paul W.S. Anderson’s 2011 update adds flying battleships and diamond heists.
Muskets and swords are a bit old-fashioned for the director of Resident Evil. In the latest update of Alexandre Dumas’s novel, Paul W.S. Anderson has added flying battleships and Rube Goldberg diamond heists. With material as shopworn as this, the anachronizing approach seems as valid as any, though none of the swashbucklers matches the charisma of Robert Downey Jr., who provided the lifeblood of Guy Ritchie’s similarly updated Sherlock Holmes. In the gimme role of Cardinal Richelieu, an unexpectedly tame Christoph Waltz seems to be waiting for Quentin Tarantino to feed him lines, while as D’Artagnan, the Keanu-ish Logan Lerman valiantly resists the impulse to wander off in search of the nearest surfboard.
Still, as Milla Jovovich dives headlong into a booby-trapped vault with acrobatics better suited to zombie hunting, it’s hard not to warm slightly to Anderson’s brisk, no-nonsense nonsense. More than in Richard Lester’s celebrated 1973 goof, the focus is on spectacle: The movie supplies one tense standoff in a blimp, a fine fencing bout on a narrow rooftop and a lot of pleasingly geometric compositions of Louis XIII’s court (filmed in Germany). Visual dynamism might be enough, if it were possible to get a good look. Though it facilitates enough eye-poking parries for 30 musketeers, the 3-D at the preview screening was unacceptably dim.