Muskets not Mouse-kets
|Four Musky Bois
What is it about?
Tonight's nostalgia pic is "The Three Musketeers" (Disney, 1993). In the early 1600s, France is on the brink of war with England thanks to the manipulation of the ambitious Cardinal Richelieu (played by a disappointingly subdued Tim Curry). An adventurous young man named d'Artagnan (Chris O'Donnell) seeks to follow in his father's footsteps and become one of the king's personal army, known as the "musketeers." d'Artagnan arrives to a Paris in turmoil after the musketeers are disbanded only to be replaced by the Richelieu's personal guard. The ever-confrontational d'Artagnan soon picks fights with three locals, the brooding Athos (Kiefer Sutherland), the boisterous Porthos (Oliver Platt), and the cunning Aramis (Charlie Sheen), only to side with them discovering that they are rogue musketeers fighting for the king's interests. Together the four uncover a conspiracy between Richelieu, his conniving cycloptic general Rochefort (Michael Wincott), and the mysterious Milady DeWinter (Rebecca De Mornay). Can the young man and the three musketeers save France and the King?
|Jeez, just ham it up already!
My first impressions
So… Why is this a bad movie? Well, it isn't: It's very adventurous, the production values are high, and while the acting is… Let's just say "questionable…" The cast is among some of the very well-known personalities and rising stars of the time. The action is plentiful, the swashbuckling is exciting, and the whole film just oozes adventure. For the most part, even the death scenes are tasteful and downplayed, making this a mostly family friendly adventure despite is large body count (be aware that there's one scene between Porthos and an ugly dungeon worker that is somewhat bloody and on-screen). The whole adventure ends on a happy note with the bad guys meeting their just rewards and the kingdom restored.
|Pictured: Not Robin.
Bad movie? No, but do you know what this is? It's a very bad adaptation. I have read "The Three Musketeers" by Alexander Dumas, and after seeing movies like this one my entire life, I was shocked at how different the book of the collected serial stories is. For one thing, character motivations between the book and this film are similar, but not the same. The character of Milady in particular is much more sinister and villainous, even killing d'Artagnan's love interest, Constance, at one point (the character of Constance lives in the film). Her execution in the book is carried out without mercy, while in the film she's a much more sympathetic character. Richelieu's plot is also more layered, involving subterfuge from a tryst between the French queen and England's duke of Buckingham, which is never a plot thread in the movie. Also, in the book Richelieu is mostly left unpunished (because the rich and powerful seldom are). The book ends on a somewhat dark note completely absent from any media adaptation I have ever seen.
|This one's for "Backdraft!"
So should you watch it? Yeah sure, why not? It's far from essential viewing, cinematic gold, or even a must-see, but it is an action-packed adventure film with a lot of humor and daring-do, so if you're in the mood for a popcorn flick you could do a lot worse (but also a lot better).
Where can I find it?
"The Three Musketeers" is currently streaming on Disney+.
|My Doctor-eight! Get it? Doctor eight? No?