I only recently sat down and watched the 2011 movie, The Three Musketeers, starring (among others) Logan Lerman, Milla Jovovich, and Orlando Bloom. I had wanted to see it in theaters, but obviously I missed that boat.
It’s been a while since I’ve read The Three Musketeers, (over a decade, and wow does that make me feel old) so I hit up the Wikipedia page to see how the movie measured up to the original story. Turns out it made some pretty significant plot changes, and those don’t even include the added steampunk airships (or ‘shimps’, as my friends and I called them, combining ship and blimp).
In the book, the Queen of France is sleeping with the English Duke of Buckingham, and gives him a very expensive token of her affections: a diamond necklace. In an attempt to catch her out, Cardinal Richelieu convinces the King to host a ball where the Queen must wear the necklace, and the Musketeers (D’artagnan, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis) must band together to get it back to her before the ball.
In the movie, the Queen has no interest in extramarital relations and is set up entirely by the Cardinal and his secret double triple agent buddy, Milady (Jovovich). The rest is about the same, except with a lot less killing. (In the original book, Milady is found out and executed after killing the girl who is D’artagnan’s love interest in the movie.)
As a viewer who was basically unfamiliar with the novel’s plot, however, I did enjoy the movie. Hardcore Alexandre Dumas enthusiasts probably would have balked at the steampunk additions and not had a chance to be insulted by the massive plot changes. And hey, the acting wasn’t fabulous and everyone had different accents, but I thought that, as historical fantasy brain candy goes, this was a pretty entertaining film.
So what about the ladies? It is our blog’s job to talk about them, after all. It’s always a problem to adapt centuries-old stories from a feminist point of view, because writers of stories that old very rarely had high estimations of the ‘fairer sex’. This story was a mixed bag.
Milady’s character was pretty badass, but she also had a bit of a stereotypical femme fatale to her, and she was always subordinate to some man or other even when she was trying to follow her own agenda. The Queen in this (played by Juno Temple, whom you might know as Catwoman’s quirky sidekick in TDKR) was obviously intelligent and knew she was being set up. D’artagnan’s love interest Constance, on the other hand, was a waste of space, and her actress was so emotionless in literally every one of her scenes that my friends and I fell to calling her blonde Kristen Stewart.
Don’t go into this film expecting a true-to-novel adaptation, or a wildly spectacular two hours of screenwriting, because you’ll be disappointed. But if you want to see Craig from Doctor Who being a bumbling show-stealer and Orlando Bloom being evil and Milla Jovovich being a ninja in a parade of awesome ballgowns (as well as lots of cool swordfighting, some of which is on
steampunk airships shimps), then I totally recommend it.