Let me start by saying that this version of The Three Musketeers may very well be the definitive clockpunk movie.
Those who saw the trailer already knew that this was no canon Alexandre Dumas movie version of the classic tales. The airships, explosions and battle scenes gave that away pretty clearly.
Now we all know that when Hollywood gets involved, it’s either going to suck so badly you wish you could get your time and money back or it’s going to be epic. Thankfully this movie is the latter, and, lo and behold, this retelling of Dumas’ story rocks the airship like you wouldn’t believe.
The story starts with a little background on exactly what the deal is between our well-known trio of Porthos, Aramis and Athos, Milady De Winter and Buckingham. I won’t go into too much detail as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Let me just say: expect some epic scenes.
We then focus on young D’Artagnan, traveling to Paris to become a musketeer, a part which remains in spirit quite loyal to the original story. And, of course, just like in the story, he ends up with our three heroes, goes off to save the day and queen and country.
It’s just that how they do it involves finicky royals (the king), lots of plotting on Richelieu’s side and, well, airships.
Visually it is very well done. At some points it is quite obvious that the surroundings are graphics that have been done with computer animation, but I think that in the 3D version (I saw it in 2D) that won’t be so noticeable.
The costumes are exquisite. They aren’t historically accurate, but they are definitely historically inspired and very easy on the eyes.
The actors are all playing their parts rather perfectly and I’m happy to see them return for the sequel hinted at right at the end of this movie. It has even more airships.
I know that a lot of people will frown on the added airships and it is a fact that everything has been tweaked to accommodate them, but it doesn’t matter, because it just works so well.
The one downside is that you probably should have read the book to really follow the plot. Without prior knowledge of the story and setting, some of the events may seem a bit random and confusing.
If you love the clockpunk and swashbuckling genres, then this is definitely your thing, though.
If you’re a literary purist, then stay away from this as far as possible because chances are you’ll hate it.
In any case, it’s at least a genre movie that you can go see with the kids, so that’s an added bonus.
This story originally appeared in Gatehouse Gazette #21 (November 2011), p. 19, with the headline “The Three Musketeers”.