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

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_48xgnfxyg4he9kln4dy4adzra2l

A Walk in the Woods

These guys still know how to not just hold our attention but grab it, even if their current film needs them more than they need…

Thumb_large_xbjzcdnnuxx7z1v5g68dtbpgfid

War Room

War Room preaches that we have no call to be righteous and judge others, yet the film itself is righteous and judgmental in the extreme.

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...

Wes Craven 1939-2015

An obituary for Wes Craven.

Straight Outta Culture: Sexism in Black and White

A piece on the response to the sexism in "Straight Outta Compton."

The Unloved, Part 21: Anonymous

Scout Tafoya's Unloved series continues with Roland Emmerich's "Anonymous."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus