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It Takes More Than a Good Man to Prevent a Catastrophe

The Three Musketeers (2011)

Rolf Konow/Summit Entertainment

Not sure what Alexandre Dumas père ever did to deserve having “The Three Musketeers” defiled for the big screen more than 20 times. With the exception of the 1921 Douglas Fairbanks and the 1948 George Sidney versions, few are even remotely watchable. It seems that with each new stab at upping the ante, the story’s quality takes another hit. If you don’t think it can possibly get worse than the one with Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O’Donnell and Oliver Platt from 1993, just wait until you see the new 3-D treatment.

Paul W. S. Anderson’s take on the Dumas classic is almost like the cinematic equivalent of CliffsNotes. It introduces the characters simply with title cards composed of freeze-frames and gigantic letterings as if this were some reality TV show that required viewers to get acquainted with the cast in a jiffy. There is absolutely no exposition or development to speak of. The plot unfolds in bullet-point fashion between elaborate special effects and messy fight scenes — none of which really justify the 3-D scheme. To make matters worse, the dialogue by screenwriters Alex Litvak and Andrew Davies sounds like utterances from the stoners in “Your Highness.” Kids, this is not the movie to watch when you are in a crunch before a quiz and you haven’t done your required reading.

It’s sad to see Milla Jovovich, Orlando Bloom and Christoph Waltz let their talents go to waste in a fly-encircled steaming pile like this. At least they are comparatively more memorable as villains (respectively Milady de Winter, Duke of Buckingham and Cardinal Richelieu). Matthew Macfadyen’s Athos, Luke Evans’s Aramis and Ray Stevenson’s Porthos are so utterly disposable that you’d probably not even recall their names if you weren’t already familiar with the story. As d’Artagnan, Logan Lerman has as much charm as a buzzard’s crotch. It’s no exaggeration to say that he makes Keanu Reeves look like some kind of acting powerhouse.


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