07 July 2011

The Three Musketeers (A Response to the 2011 Movie Trailer)

As an avid fan of Dumas, I was curious to see what the new Three Musketeers movie would be like, so I watched the trailer.

At first, I thought: D'Artagnan is well-cast, but acts nothing like D'Artagnan (groveling at the heroics of the three musketeers, when in the novel, D'Artagnan's bravado has him dueling them all on the same day). Porthos is horribly miscast. The Cardinal looks too young. Nice costumes.

Then the Duke of Buckingham arrives with a fleet of airships, and the Countess de Winter is a ninja assassin. There is slow-motion and dialogue comprised entirely of quips.

What disappoints me is that the movie only tries to cash in on the adventure, the bravado, the "all for one". The musketeers are about action and killing 40 or 400 men in a day (and to joke it was an "off day"). There is comparatively very little action in the novels. The action and bravado is D'Artagnan being a Gascon,  part of his embodiment of a Romantic ideal. The other three musketeers, Aramis, Porthos, and Athos, each embody an aspect of the Romantic ideal as well; they embody chivalry. The story is in how that affects the musketeers, how it influences their actions, their words, and their lives as they unfold over decades. It's about honor, loyalty, compassion, faith, a sense of duty, maturity, and about bravery and wit and romance and love.

The movie is about airships, fight scenes, slow motion, and quip after quip. All that costing tens of millions to produce.

There are scenes in the novels where D'Artagnan sadly observes the character and quality of the up-and-coming generation -- the sycophantic, spineless courtiers driven by avarice and senseless to honor. Over the series, the musketeers watch as the Romantic ideals die with them.

I don't want to see the movie. I've already seen it. It has nothing to offer (except for maybe an argument for why copyright should be extended indefinitely).

It would be more efficient, and far more effective, to simply plug an electrode into the hypothalamus of movie-goers for 90 minutes.


Peter McCombs said...

If it's steampunk, I'm going to see it anyway.

Dave said...

To be properly steampunk, it should at least occur in a time period where steam power existed.

Wiki sez: "The first commercially successful engine did not appear until around 1712."

The Three Musketeers takes place in the 1620's.

Sure, there were steam-powered devices as far back as 100 AD, but they weren't viable for steampunk for about a century after the Three Musketeers takes place.

No self-respecting steampunk fancier would accept such sloppy adoption of their genre.

gustavolk-swagen said...

All that from a movie trailer? I agree that such extrapolation is merited, generally speaking. If I had to make up a statistic, I would say that only 13.8 percent of movie trailers represent the theme and tone of the movie inaccurately with 0.37 percent entirely misrepresenting everything about the movie.

Dave said...

Thanks, Gus :) I'd agree with your numbers.

I guess my response is due to my recent reading of the >1,250,000 words of the D'Artagnan Romances, which I've become very fond of, and probably will have to blog about sometime (it really was that good).

In the future, people will watch movie trailers instead of the whole movie -- save themselves time. I bet you could coherently stitch together all the important parts of most movies into 15 minutes (at epic length) and say you've seen the whole thing. There's probably not even 15 minutes worth of content once you cut the crap.

Peter McCombs said...

I'm not, properly speaking, a self-respecting steampunk fancier. I just think it's cool.

Well, this movie sounds like a fanciful thing. It's using this great literature as some sort of spring board into some other realm of nonsense.

It's when movies try to be serious, or true to the story, that you need to worry. That is when a producer or director who really doesn't understand the book, or the genre, really does a disservice.

Dave said...

I don't really know what a proper self-respecting steampunk fancier is, it just sounded nice.

I agree about the serious movies, but the nonsense ones can be just as bad, or worse. A good comparison might be Van Helsing, or maybe Barbie and The Three Musketeers.

I don't know, maybe I'm just jaded on action movies in general. There have been some good ones, but this one looks from the same mold as at least a half-dozen crappy ones I've already seen. It's a waste of potential.