orlando-bloom_web.jpgIs it possible that studios are so consumed with introducing a young audience to a classic story that they have forgotten to rate their audience’s interest? Not surprisingly, the fifth installment of The Three Musketeers failed to even reach No. 2 in last weekend’s box office. That doesn’t sound like bringing a classic to a younger audience to me.

It’s another glaring example of why classic films or stories do not need to be remade. The Three Musketeers, already having been remade some three times, can only be justified as a vehicle to attract young audiences. After all, attracting a younger audience is always the driving force for remakes; that and the big money involved. That’s the only way one can justify a studio investing $75 million for a film  this bad.

If only not being able to draw the right audience were the extent of the issues in The Three Musketeers. No, the story itself is so geared toward entertaining a young audience that it comes across as far-fetched, and just a waste of time.

In Alex Litvak’s and Andrew Davies’ script, we begin in 17th century France, with the Musketeers, Athos (played by Matthew MacFayden), Aramis (Luke Evans), Porthos (Ray Stevenson), and Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) fighting to retrieve some secret plans for the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. They find it, then get double-crossed by

Duke Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) and Milady. Failed in their mission, the Musketeers retire to drinking, serving citations, and accepting money from lonely ladies.

The world of the Musketeers seems dreary until young D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) enters the scene and shakes things up for them. He also reminds them of why they loved being Musketeers. Already having been shown the way by his father, a former Musketeer, D’Artagnan seeks trouble on his father’s advice. That leads him to King Louis XIII (Freddie Fox) and his drama.

For all intents and purposes, The Three Musketeers seems like a decent film. Director Paul W.S. Anderson gives his audience action, romance, extraordinary things, and really good cinematography. But, the overall film is lacking. The plot is far-fetched. The acting is wooden. The lines work double duty as dry and corny. And, the plot points are so weak that they become comical. Giving someone a ticket because they failed to pick up after their horse? Really?

How is it possible to take a classic story and turn it into a farce of a film: something that resembles a comedy, but wants to be taken seriously as a legitimate action film? How can Musketeers be taken seriously, when each man in a position of power in this film looks, talks, and acts like a man who likes men, but likes women? I kept waiting for King Louis to come out of the closet; he is way too concerned with what color is being worn across the ocean.

Why do we have to be subjected to such mockery of a classic? There’s nothing remotely interesting about the latest installment of The Three Musketeers, save for a few actors. Stevenson, has been a favorite of mine since he played Titus Pullo in the HBO original series Rome. Stevenson is a fine actor and could have put his talents to much better use in a different film.

Likewise, Evans is a very mysterious, yet engaging force that draws the audience in. Rightly so, he’s going to be prominently featured in some major films in the coming years, like Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit and the Edgar Allan Poe homage, The Raven. Such prominence harkens to Evans’ quickly rising star. His Aramis, a former priest, seems to be the only character with depth in this entire film. The rest come off as half-baked ideas thrown in for good measure.

Evans doesn’t necessarily carry the film, though. It’s Lerman as D’Artagnan who is supposed to do that. Unfortunately, he fails.

Actually, the whole film falls flat on its face and never recovers. I, however, am hoping to recover from spending my hard earned $13 on the 3D version of this film; as always, it’s better to skip the glasses and buy popcorn, instead.



Photo: Orlando Bloom