Good entertainment, but would have been better without anachronisms3/10
Before I start writing down my impressions of this movie, I have to say that "The Three Musketeers" is one of my all-time favourite books. When I heard that a new Three Musketeers film was going to be released, I was really excited - all the more when I saw pictures of the beautiful locations in Bavaria and read that Christoph Waltz ("Inglorious Basterds") would play my favourite character Richelieu. When I saw the trailer though, I was shocked: Matrix style bullet evasion? A Ninja diver? And... zeppelin air ships? WTF? I was sure Dumas was rotating in his grave over this mutilation done to his work! Really... I don't think a brilliant story like The Three Musketeers needs air ships in order to be exciting.
Despite my frustration about the trailer, I decided to go to the cinema and I have to say, it was certainly not a total waste of time and money. First of all, the costumes and locations were extremely enjoyable. I watched the movie in 2D, but viewers will surely appreciate the 3D version. There are some nice effects like a bird's view onto a painted map of France.
Most of the actors also did a great job, especially Christoph Waltz. He was amazing, just like I had always imagined Richelieu: this cool composure he has when something is not going according to his plans, but you can see how his brilliant brain is working on something new already. I also liked his interaction with the Louis XIII. The King was portrayed in a very exaggerated manner (clueless about politics, only interested in fashion and very childish), but this ironic exaggeration of his character created a lot of fun. Orlando Bloom was also great as Buckingham. You could see how he was enjoying himself in the role of the classy, spoiled and evil British ambassador. Logan Lerman as d'Artagnan surprised me positively. I thought he was just another boyish actor teenage girls will fall in love with. But he made a really good d'Artagnan and was able to show off his fencing abilities. Apparently all the fencing choreographies were done without the help of ropes or stuntmen - Respect! The final duel between Rochefort and d'Artagnan on the roof of Notre Dame was epic. It's a pity there wasn't more sword fighting instead of zeppelins. The actors of Athos, Porthos and Aramis also did a pretty good job, but had too little screen time and thus ended up as flat characters with only one trait of character each (Athos = the disillusioned drunkard, who has lost his love, Porthos = the vain daredevil, Aramis = the religious ladies' man). The musketeers as the title heroes really should be at the centre of the plot, but in this movie Milady and Buckingham got much more attention.
Too much attention in the case of Milady. First of all, Milla Jovovich is not a good actress. Neither is she especially sexy, as the movie constantly tries to suggest. But I guess these factors don't play much of a role if you are married to the director... Secondly, I've always hated all these historical novels or films where "emancipated" women do stuff they just wouldn't have done in the century the plot is set in. And no, I'm pretty sure a woman of the 17th century would not have stripped on the roof of the palace and bungee jumped down. And no, she would not be able to win a sword fight against several Cardinal's Guards. And no group of three 17th century soldiers would have allowed a woman (in a huge gown not made for running) to draw the gunfire onto herself, so that they can go safe after she has activated the trap
There were more anachronisms like that, the most obvious one being the air ships, but I won't even start ranting about them. The second most annoying anachronism was the portrayal of Rochefort: At the beginning, d'Artagnan challenges him to a duel, but Rochefort just shoots him before he can draw his sword. Outrageous for a 17th century nobleman! If there is one important ingredient you mustn't forget in a cloak-and-sword-film, it's the code of honour: you fight your enemy, but you're always noble and fair. The movie almost completely lacked this element. Also, why the heck does a Musketeer movie need a "Mission Impossible" scene with Milady climbing though a network of invisible wires? And why can d'Artagnan, after just one audience, stroll through the palace gardens with the King? Why does Buckingham accuse the King of wearing "retro style"? Even the soundtrack was anachronistic sometimes, when it suddenly changed from classical Hans-Zimmer-style to Pulp-Fiction-style very irritating!
But the anachronisms are not the only logical flaws in the movie: How did the French build an air ship in one week? (How do they fly and how are they steered anyway?) Why would a royal ship use a skeleton as a figurehead? (Answer: so that you get the Pirates of the Caribbean style) Why do the musketeers first try to get into the tower vault in order to get the diamonds, but then Athos suddenly knows that the diamonds won't be there anyway, but with Milady? How does Milady survive a fall of like 100 metres?
Well, perhaps you should just switch off the logical part of your brain, when you go to see this movie! All in all, I had great fun watching it together with some friends. In the end it was better than I feared after seeing the trailers, but the sad thing is: it was worse than it could have been! All the ingredients for a great historical movie were there: excellent actors, beautiful locations and one of the best novels ever written as the basis! However, they just messed around too much with that great novel. You just can't improve a perfect story (not even with air ships), you can only make it worse.