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THREE MUSKETEERS, THE (2011)

SYNOPSIS:
The hot-headed young D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman) along with three former legendary but now down on their luck Musketeers - Porthos (Ray Stevenson), Aramis (Luke Evans) Athos (Matthew Mcfadyen) - must unite and defeat M'lady De Winter (Milla Jovovich), a beautiful double agent and her villainous employer Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) from seizing the French throne and engulfing Europe in war.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
They don't make period romps like they used to, but The Three Musketeers comes close; all it needs is a bit more sex, but even without that, Paul W.S. Anderson and his team has made a plump film with its 3D elements used to enhance the already rich visuals. Wardrobe is sumptuously driven by plenty of décolletage, the interiors are lavish and the exteriors are grand. Oh yes, the swordplay is fancy.

Sit back and don your 3D glasses to enter a world that never existed until now, in which the French Royal Palace is not THE Versailles but A Versailles, the Notre Dame is not THE Notre Dame on the hill of Montmartre ... etc - and where the history of warfare, airship engineering and weaponry are all rewritten.

The gifted actor Logan Lerman plays the young D'Artagnan character from the novel, an actor of whom I first took notice playing the young George Hamilton character in My One and Only (2009). This is a leading role, in a film where the three musketeers are equal leads, but Lerman is a bit more equal, if you know what I mean.

His co-stars are all outstanding, and I don't mean just the trio of Porthos (Ray Stevenson), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Athos (Matthew Mcfadyen). They are great, but they are surrounded by acting eminence, such as Christoph Waltz as His Eminence Cardinal Richelieu, the wonderfully charismatic Mads Mikkelsen as the Cardinal's one eyed (symbolic) strong man, Rochefort, and the wicked Milla Jovovich as a sizzling femme fatale double agent.

The 16th century was never like this, more's the pity say those who lived at the time, but hell, it's fun to visit for a couple of hours. The story is a patchwork of betrayal and friendship, national pride and hand to hand fighting, with romance sprinkled over it like so much perfume to cover the smell of rotting human morals. The Cardinal wants to rule France and is prepared to destroy all of Europe in the process. The young King Louis is a pawn, as his young wife, and it's up to the D'Artagnan express of musketeers to save the Queen's honour, rescue France and defeat Rochefort's efforts on the Cardinal's behalf.

For a bunch of almost has been warriors and their newfound young friend, the only question is 'when do we start?'

Review by Louise Keller:
The indelible image of a scantily clad Milla Jovovich in corset and garter making a flying leap from the roof of one of the spectacular Bavarian palaces is one of the highlights of this upbeat, action filled 3D remake of Alexandre Dumas' classic historic novel. Jovovich is highly decorative in her role as the duplicitous M'lady De Winter, who steals hearts and switches sides more quickly than the Musketeers can draw swords. Director Paul W.S. Anderson has injected a great sense of fun in this visually sumptuous adventure, making it a fun jaunt that flies sky-high, while being grounded by its mantra of All for One; One for All.

In a dramatic opening sequence set in an underground vault in Venice, we witness first hand how Athos (Matthew Macfadyen) loses his heart to M'lady, in a classic betrayal. As a consequence, Athos, Porthos (Ray Stevenson) and Aramis (Luke Evans) - the three Musketeers and the king's finest warriors find themselves stuck in a rut drinking far too much wine to pass the time. James Corden as their tubby assistant Planchett provides some light comical relief. It is when the cocky young D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman), whose dream it is to become one of the Musketeers, arrives on the scene filled with athleticism and abounding courage that the others seem to have forgotten, their motivation changes. The great cause they are looking for presents itself in the form of an attempt by the dastardly, ambitious Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) to overthrow young, highly insecure (especially where fashion and women are concerned) King Louis of France (Freddie Fox), and whose arranged marriage to Queen Anne (Juno Temple) is going through a rocky patch. Constance (Gabriella Wilde) as the Queen's lady-in-waiting is pretty as a picture, providing the romantic component for D'Artagnan.

Screenwriters Alex Litvak and Andrew Davies have concocted a lively mix of humour, sword-play, action, romance and drama to bring to the screen a rambunctious and wondrously entertaining tale filled with impressive stunts, gorgeous locations and fabulous costumes. It's a great cast, with Lerman perfect as the idealistic D'Artagnan, Waltz solid as the power-hungry Cardinal ('Evil is just a point of view') and Mads Mikkelsen superb as the ruthless Rochefort, the captain of the Cardinal's guard. Highlights include a thrilling mid-air battle between two giant airships and a daring sword fight between D'Artagnan and Rochefort on a narrow ledge on the roof of a Cathedral. The stage is clearly set for a sequel - and a welcome one at that.
First published in the Sun-Herald

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

THREE MUSKETEERS, THE (2011) (PG)
(US, 2011)

CAST: Milla Jovovich, Logan Lerman, Ray Stevenson, Orlando Bloom, Juno Temple, Christoph Waltz, Luke Evans, Matthew Mcfadyen, Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schweiger, Gabriella Wilde, James Corden

PRODUCER: Paul W. S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Robert Kulzer

DIRECTOR: Paul W. S. Anderson

SCRIPT: Alex Litvak, Andrew Davies (novel by Alexandre Dumas)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Glen MacPherson

EDITOR: Alexander Berner

MUSIC: Paul Haslinger

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Paul D. Austerberry

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hoyts

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 20, 2011







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