In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_jimi_all_is_by_my_side

Jimi: All Is by My Side

What’s fascinating about “Jimi: All Is By My Side” is not only its decision to show us this particular chapter in Hendrix’s life, but also…

Thumb_boxtrolls_ver13

The Boxtrolls

"The Boxtrolls" is a beautiful example of the potential in LAIKA's stop-motion approach, and the images onscreen are tactile and layered. But, as always, it's…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

Reviews

The Three Musketeers

  |  

Is there a compelling need for another version of "The Three Musketeers?" The first task of the new version would be to convince us the answer is yes - and this new "Musketeers" never does. It must have been great fun to make it (what young actor doesn't want to dash around on horseback and engage in swashbuckling swordfights?), but it's not that much fun to watch. It's all sound and energy, without plan or meaning.

The movie draws on the same sources as the several earlier versions of the story. We learn that the musketeers are sworn to defend the king, and that the evil Cardinal Richelieu has disbanded them as part of his evil scheme to grab control of France. But three musketeers refuse to lay down their colors and retire. Their names, as schoolboys used to know, are Aramis (Charlie Sheen), Athos (Kiefer Sutherland) and Porthos (Oliver Platt). And to their number is added a fourth volunteer, the eager young D'Artagnan, played by Chris O'Donnell (warm from his success as a different kind of apprentice in "Scent Of A Woman").

Richelieu is played in the movie by Tim Curry, who can usually be depended upon to find any possible wit in a villain, but doesn't find great amounts in the cardinal. He has his eye on the sexy Milady (Rebecca De Mornay), who has her own agenda. Meanwhile, the queen, played by the beautiful Gabrielle Anwar (who danced the tango with Al Pacino in "Scent of a Woman"), is a helpless pawn.

All I can testify is, I didn't much care. The movie was behavior, not acting. Nobody on either side of the camera seemed to take the story and characters seriously. Yes, I know it's basically a comic adventure, but even so, look at the Bond pictures, which have the courage of their lack of conviction. Of the musketeers, the one who was convincing was Oliver Platt's Porthos. The others, who can all be fine actors in the right role, didn't seem comfortable in the period, the costumes, the action, or the story.

There is a legend that one day, long ago, Jack Warner called together his studio's producers and writers and gave them an order: "Don't send me any more pictures where they write with feathers!" I think I know how he felt. There is something intrinsically silly in this story, and unless you can find a way to believe in it at some level (even on the level on which Peter Pan believes in fairies), it's just a lot of feathers. Many of them from horses.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

The Unloved, Part Ten: "The Village"

Part ten in Scout Tafoya's The Unloved series tackles "The Village."

Why my video essay about "All that Jazz" is not on the Criterion blu-ray

Bob Fosse's masterpiece "All That Jazz" jumps back and forth through the past and the present, and through memory and...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus