Flying airships! Underwater breathing apperatus! Butterfly knives! And don’t forget all for one and one for all. Unfortunately, throw all these elements together and you don’t end up with a great sci-fi tinged retelling of the classic Dumas story ‘The Three Musketeers’ but instead we’ve been served up another sticky mess that serves more as a demo reel for the effects house than any sort of coherent narrative or engaging storyline.
You already know the basic story: D’Artagnon (Logan Lerman) leaves his family farm in search of fame and fortune, hoping to join the fabled Musketeers and fight for King Louis XIII (a foppish Freddie Fox) while courting the beautiful women of France. He offends first evildoer Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen) then jaded, cranky Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Porthos (Ray Stevenson), the fabled Three Musketeers. None of them kill him and the latter three invite him to bunk with them as they figure out what to do now that evil Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) has disbanded the Musketeers as part of his nefarious plot to overthrow King Louis and take over France.
Meanwhile, the Musketeers and the untrustworthy Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) have broken into Leonardo daVinci’s secret vault, defended by weapons that’d be perfect in an ‘Indiana Jones’ film but are just bizarre in this one, and stolen daVinci’s plans for a flying warship. The Duke of Buckingham (a completely wasted Orlando Bloom) has one made and next thing we know they’re all flying above Paris fighting from airship to airship in what is surely one of the daftest scenes I’ve seen on the big screen this year. No worries, though, there’s a handy boarding ramp – complete with handrails! – that neatly extends between them, even if the scenes often feel more like ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’.
Jeez, it’s all really just a mess, with various anachronisms creeping up for comic effect and some really genuinely poor performances. The entire film feels just slapped together and the ostensible sci-fi elements are completely incomprehensible. One has to wonder, how does that airship float with its small balloon and heavy, heavy wooden ship, replete with dozens of canons?
My advice: skip it.