Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

26 October 2011

Les Trois Mousquetaires

It occurred to me only while watching this new adaptation (if you can call it that) of The Three Musketeers that musketeer movies never seem to be about muskets and are actually always about swashbuckling.

The most important things about the new version of The Three Musketeers are:

1.) The costumes (by Pierre-Yves Gayraud, who hasn't had an assignment this cool before) are spectacular. Absolutely gorgeous. They might even be revelatory. I was in love with almost every piece. And costumes become a kind of running joke throughout the film, so the audience is actively scrutinizing the costumes. There are fabulous hats and ludicrous colors and extraordinary brocades. I was in love.

2.) This movie has nothing to do with any novel ever written by Alexandre Dumas, père. Nothing.

3.) A lot of money was spent on this movie. And it showed.

4.) The Three Musketeers is completely, almost wholly derivative of two recent films: Sherlock Holmes and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Three Musketeers doesn't have beaucoup de slow-motion the way Sherlock does, but it has enough of it that it's debt to Guy Ritchie's movie is obvious. The whole idea of refiguring of a plot from seventeenth-century France so that it has lots of action sequences and explosions also seems indebted to the new Sherlock franchise. The debt to Dead Man's Chest will become clearer when I tell you that Three Musketeers involves airships. That are armed with cannons. That are, for some reason, steered using that same big wheel that pirate ships use.

5.) I love the young man who plays the King of France, Freddie Fox. He is adorable and (again) ludicrous. All of my favorite things about this movie are completely absurd.

6.) There is a poop joke and a puke joke. I hated both of them.

7.) Milla Jovovich is a big ol' mess in this. I hope they recast her (or at least reduce her role) for the sequel. (I'm guessing they'll call it The Four Musketeers like Twentieth Century Fox did in the 1974/1975).

8.) I love Orlando Bloom. I don't care what anyone says. I don't care if he doesn't know what kind of movie he's in. He's fabulous and earnest and I just love him.

I guess there is kind of a lot to say about this movie. I sort of had a blast. The whole things is laugh-out-loud funny. There isn't more than ten consecutive minutes in it that anyone could possibly take seriously. The plot is an absolute nonsense. There are more anachronisms than I could count if I were even to bother to try. But to worry about anachronisms here would be to completely miss the film's own delightful charm. The film is chock full of residents of Hollywood playing dress-up and doing their best to make unabashedly silly dialogue work. It had the best time. Think about this movie like a big old history book dressed up in a rhinestone-studded bridesmaid gown.

In other words, just let The Three Musketeers wash over you like a very pretty bit of inanity.

Aside from musketeer, I thought I would also look up swashbuckling. Because what the hell does that mean anyway. Well, a swash, as it turns out, is a swipe with a sword through the air. And a buckle is a shield. So swashbuckling appears to mean something like swashing-the-buckle or making a sound by hitting a shield with a sword.