Thursday, October 27, 2011

This Week In Tickets: 17 October 2011 to 23 October 2011

10am movies, a really World Series that is pretty exciting despite the lack of Red Sox involvement, and a desire to grill one last time before winter shut that down for good account for a reasonably slow week for me at the cinemas:

This Week In Tickets!

Plus, I picked up a new laptop on Saturday so as not to use my work machine for everything and got to playing with it. Technically, anything I create on that machine belongs to my employer, and while I have no idea what the special products division of a pharmeceuticals distributor would want with my blog and eFilmCritic reviews, it's good to stay on the right side of the contract.

The Three Musketeers (2011)

* * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 22 October 2011 in AMC Boston Common #18 (first-run; RealD 3D)

On the whole, Paul W.S. Anderson's new version of The Three Musketeers is just not good. That's not really surprising; Anderson doesn't have a great reputation and he's working from a script that is, to be frank, pretty awful. It's outright "why did a buy a ticket for this" groan-worthy at times. And then the movie will hit something that Anderson is good at, and that almost makes it worse, because it means that this bad movie wasn't a bad idea, but just got screwed up.

What's bad? Oh, lots of stuff. Every place where writers Alex Litvak and Andrew Davies could have written some clever bit of dialogue, they basically do the opposite. It's not just that nearly everything every character says is bland, but it's as if every single bit is calculated to make the characters seem like jerks, and only Ray Stevenson's Porthos and Milla Jovovich's Milady de Winter can make that work for them. Honestly, even though D'artagnan is supposed to be the viewpoint character we like, he's such a smug little bastard that the natural desire of the audience throughout the movie is to punch him in the face (and man, is Logan Lerman terrible). The plot is a goofy mess, frequently advanced in dumb, dumb ways.

And then Anderson and company will throw anachronistic airships at us.

Sure, one can complain about how the filmmakers are taking ridiculous liberties with the source material, but it's sort of akin to complaining that Robin Hood movies don't follow Ivanhoe or that superhero flicks generally don't follow any specific comic book storyline. The crazy clockwork technology and environments are fun enough on their own for it to be forgiveable, and the fun that the filmmakers and actors are having is palpable. If Anderson has one saving grace, it's that he knows when to say "screw realism" and go for larger-than-life fun.

If he's got two, it's that he knows how to use 3D fairly well. He was a kid let loose in a candy store with Resident Evil: Afterlife, spending what seemed like half the running time throwing poorly-rendered stuff at the audience in slow motion; this one looks a little nicer and uses the third dimension more for depth and scale than jumps. The Three Musketeers is a spiffy-looking movie, and while the 3D isn't necessary, it looks good and has a fun sense of awe and grandeur.

And, finally, I really like the way Anderson ends his movies, including this one, with ridiculous cliffhangers. He doesn't do it in a cocky or presumptuous way; he gives a satisfying climax and then basically says that these characters have more and bigger adventures ahead of them.

WeekendThe Three MusketeersThe CircusLike Crazy

1 comment:

kls said...

I feel the same with you on The Three Musketeers.