The Three Musketeers, from the book by Alexandre Dumas has a rare pedigree in the world of film. So far there have been 23 film versions (including the latest) and seven animated film versions. This doesn't include TV series and sequels. You don't make that many films if there isn't a good story to back it up.
I went to see the latest offering at Hull Vue cinema on Friday night (14th October.) It had a big act and big actors to follow. It succeeded in some ways and failed miserably in others.How do directors bring something new into the story to keep it fresh? This director brought old fashioned air ships. Air ships!
The design for an airship was stolen by the three musketeers from the Italians. Lord Buckingham in turn stole it from them. Lord Buckingham comes to France in the airship to negotiate peace. The Musketeers, this time with D'Artagnan on board steal back Queen Ann's jewels from Buckingham and steal his airship to get back to France in time for the ball at which Ann must produce the jewels. I won't spoil the story but this part of the film spoilt it for me. It was made in 3D for 3D rather than the story in places I suspect.
Firstly, the acting was okay. D'Artagnan (with American accent) is credibly played by Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief) and the lead as Athos was the excellent Matthew Macfadyen. Milla Jovovich was Milady and whilst a beautiful woman - was a little too much Ninja/Bond in some of her dark and mysterious double spying adventures. The surprise was the Planchet character (the Musketeers servant) originally played by the brilliant late Roy Kinnear and this time played well by comedian James Corden and not overplayed either.
The disappointment was Christoph Waltz who I admire tremendously. His Cardinal Richelieu lacked the spark of deceit and power that had been given it in previous versions, most notably by Charlton Heston. His quiet threat was more of a grumble than a poisonous bite. The other actors were credible enough but Orlando Bloom, someone else I admire was out of his depth as Lord Buckingham. He lacked charm and statesmanship and quintessential English upper class presence.
My final disappointment was at the point in the film where Athos realises Milady is a double agent and decides to finish her off. The scene between the two (former lovers remember) lacked any sort of emotion or depth whatsoever - a huge opportunity missed.
The sets were lavish and the special effects were okay even though I didn't like the airship bits. The fencing was very good in parts and the choreography in the big fight scenes was superb. The director kept the movie moving along nicely and on the whole was faithful(ish) to the plot. At 12A the film was appropriately certificated and the 3D was good on the whole although some scenes lingered just to show 3D effects.
Verdict - wait for the DVD.
Just part of the stall (I couldn't get it all in the picture!)
Another milestone in my life appeared on Saturday (15th) in the form of running a stall with my good friend Linda Lee at the Hessle Town Hall Spirit, Body and Mind Fair. We sold Angel related goods and trinkets and it was a hugely successful day on our first and certainly not last attempt. Thank you Linda and a mention for Helen and Phil who dipped in and helped. This was a nervous time in the run up to this - would it work, would it bomb? The signs were good, the planning careful and it worked. Plenty of interest and plenty sold.
Have a great week ahead of you...