Two Cranky Guys and a Lady Foil ‘Three Musketeers’
Bruce Fretts: To sharpen our critical swords for the umpteenth version of The Three Musketeers, Bret Watson and I recruited our third musketeer, Nancy Bilyeau, author of the forthcoming historical novel The Crown, to assist with our review. The question is, Bret and Nancy: Is this souped-up, FX-laden 3D Musketeers fun for all and all for fun?
Nancy Bilyeau: All for pain. As you saw, I was actually writhing next to you.
Bruce: That’s true—you were sitting between us, because Bret said he wanted to make a Nancy sandwich. Which made me think you’d be writhing for other reasons.
Bret Watson: I have the slogan for this: It was all for naught and fun for none. Which was also part of my marriage vows.
Nancy: Bret, you said it wasn’t actually that boring, which is the most enthusiasm that could be worked up for it. That’s because it did follow the original story, which is wonderful. So it had the basic template running under it, but the dialogue was terrible.
Bruce: The original story was by Alexandre Dumas, but I think this one was written by Alexandre Dumbass.
Nancy: Exactly! Dumas is crawling out of his mausoleum right now in the Pantheon of Paris, and he’s totally pissed off.
Bruce: The dialogue was so glaringly anachronistic and they kept throwing in all these clichéd phrases, like “This is who we are. This is what we do.”
Nancy: When they’re having a blimp war over France and Athos tells D’Artangnan how you have to believe in love, that’s when I started to wonder about medicinal marijuana. I think they were trying to do a steampunk version, like Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. I don’t have a definition of steampunk, but it’s like porn—you know it when you see it.
Bret: It has a Jules Verne element—the introduction of contraptions with a sci-fi feel.
Nancy: That began with Wild, Wild West and popped up in The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. But in this case, it was just so confused. And the blimps were the worst.
Bruce: That was just so they could use the 3-D technology and have airships firing cannons at each other—and the audience.
Bret: This was another 3-D movie that didn’t deserve the extra money.
Bruce: I didn’t recognize most of the actors, because I’m an Anglophobe and I don’t watch British costume dramas. Where have we seen them before? Aside from Christoph Waltz, who as Cardinal Richeliu plays the smiling sadist for the fourth time in a row after Inglourious Basterds, The Green Hornet and Water for Elephants.
Nancy: He was very low-energy. The actors were not great, but they’ve been good in other things. That was very painful. That’s why I was physically moved to groan and thrash. Matthew MacFayden was Athos—he was very good in Pride and Prejudice and Pillars of the Earth. And Ray Stevenson, who played Porthos, was in Rome.
Bret: Ray Stevens? I love him.
Bruce: No, Ray Stevenson. Ray Stevens was the guy who sang “Ahab the Arab” and “The Streak.” I would’ve enjoyed this movie more if he had been in it.
Nancy: Stevenson did a similar role in Thor. At this point, he’s the older, joking buffoon to younger stud actors, which is very heartbreaking. Then Luke Evans, who was Aramis, is this up-and-comer who’s Zeus in Immortals and was Apollo in Clash of the Titans.
Bruce: He can’t escape historical epics. Who’s this kid Logan Lerman, who played D’Artagnan?
Nancy: I know him from Percy Jackson. He’s supposed to be a hot young actor, but I didn’t think he did a great job here.
Bruce: He reminded me of Chris O’Donnell, who played D’Artangnan in the terrible Charlie Sheen version of Musketeers, which sadly was still superior to this one.
Nancy: Well, the Michael York one was the best.
Bruce: That was one of the first PG movies I saw and it had a huge impact on me, mostly because of Raquel Welch’s heaving cleavage.
Bret: That scarred you for life.
Nancy: She had a big impact on my husband, too.
Bruce: And Milla Jovovich can’t fill Raquel Welch’s bodice, even in 3D. I’ve gotta say, I was disappointed by the décolletage in this movie.
Bret: The bosoms were pretty smothered.
Bruce: And Charlton Heston was Richelieu in the York version—c’mon!
Nancy: Well, it’s very hard to follow in Ben-Hur’s footsteps.
Bret: I remember enjoying that movie’s witty banter, repartee and panache.
Bruce: You enjoyed the wit and I enjoyed the tits—that pretty much sums us up.
Bret: People at the time were saying it was like the Beatles meets the Three Musketeers. It was directed by Richard Lester, who did A Hard Day’s Night.
Nancy: Now can we talk about Orlando Bloom and his hair? He was trying to be slimy and sexy, but it didn’t work.
Bruce: They were hoping to turn this into the next Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but the Bloom is off Orlando. You could tell at the end they tried to set up a sequel.
Nancy: That was the scariest part of all.
Bruce: The movie bombed, so I doubt there will be another one. Jovovich trashed the studio, Summit, on Twitter, for mismarketing it. She said it should’ve been sold as a fun family adventure. What family would find this fun, aside from the Mansons?
Nancy: My 10-year-old daughter would not want to see this, and teenagers would look down on it, so I don’t know what she’s talking about.
Bruce: She’s married to the director, Paul W.S. Anderson, who also does the Resident Evilzombie movies with her, but their plans for another horrifying franchise were foiled.
Nancy: She can be OK when she doesn’t talk a lot, like in The Fifth Element, where she’s an alien who spends the entire movie in a tiny swimsuit making out with Bruce Willis.
Bruce: What’s the title of that movie again? Add to queue! Bret, the most painful part for you seemed to be the volume in the theater. You had your noise-canceling headphones on. Did they work?
Bret: Not enough. I could still hear the movie.
Nancy: At one point, you were yelling back at the screen. You went down fighting.
Bret: That’s the great thing about movies that are as loud as rock concerts. When they played their standard message of “Shhh, don’t talk during the movie!” I said, “HOW WOULD YOU KNOW?”
Bruce: Also, the theater was almost empty. It’s like Alien—”In The Three Musketeers, no one can hear you scream.” Actually, it reminded me of a Three Musketeers bar: candy-coated on the outside, but filled with horrible tasteless nougat.
Nancy: Exactly. In fact, I would’ve rather had that candy bar.
Bret: The swordfight on the cathedral of Notre Dame was the only well-choreographed sequence in the whole movie.
Bruce: At least it had some derring-do. The rest of the movie was a derring-don’t.
Nancy: I didn’t like the fat, hungry helper.
Bret: (in a Cockney accent) You mean the French peasant with the Cockney accent?
Bruce: The accents were all over the map—literally.
Nancy: They had people with British accents talking about how they love France and want to go to war with Britain. It was so messed up.
Bruce: And that fat-servant character reminded me of Chris Farley.
Nancy: When he was sleeping on a balcony and a bird shit on his face, I was wondering, “What am I doing with my life?”
Bret: It was so leadenly set up and executed. It seemed like he was lying out there for hours before the shit hit the peasant.
Nancy: But he had the best bosoms in the movie.
Bruce: He did have the best rack—and this movie was like being on the rack.
Nancy: I hate it when costume dramas flop. I had such high hopes when I went to see The Eagle with Bret, and it was bad. You two are systematically shattering my dreams.
Bruce: That’s our job. That’s what we do. Why should our family members be the only ones whose lives we ruin?
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