Up until last night I had no desire to watch this version of The Three Musketeers. I will chalk it up to mild obsession meets morbid curiosity.
It does give me another chance to announce with great pleasure that I have indeed read Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. It's because of my love for the novel that I kept my expectations at subterranean levels.
PLOT: Shortly after arriving in Paris D’Artagnan (Chris O’Donnell) gets into separate altercations with Athos (Kiefer Sutherland), Porthos (Oliver Platt) and Aramis (Charlie Sheen) and challenges each of them to a duel. After uncovering the Cardinal Richelieu’s (Tim Curry) plan to form an alliance with Buckingham and steal the throne from the king D'Artagnan and the three musketeers find themselves in a race against time to save France from war. END PLOT
The plot of The Three Musketeers does stray from Dumas’ novel but this particular adaptation just about gets away with it as fairly decent attempts are made to give the musketeers their known personalities.
Kiefer Sutherland, winning Mr Hair 1993, is fine as Athos who is desperate to hide his pained past behind a drunken mask and Oliver Platt has some decent comedy moments as “Pirate Porthos”. Charlie Sheen’s religious yet woman loving Aramis is close enough to the book to be acceptable although Sheen almost shattered my crush on the character.
I have no knowledge of what stage Sutherland, Platt and Sheen were at in their careers in 1993 but watching the film almost twenty years later the casting of these three actors seems downright bizarre.
Tim Curry is fun as a very smarmy Cardinal and Rebecca de Mornay was decent as an older styled Milady.
Chris O’Donnell was the weak link as he took proceedings far too seriously. The rest of the cast seemed aware that this wasn’t a serious film so O’Donnell’s really really earnest performance looked out of place.
The Three Musketeers has some very light hearted farcical moments which were captured it quite well although at times they bordered on the wrong side of cheesy for my taste. The actors were clearly having a blast and the comedy, especially the scenes which revolved around wine, were a great nod to the books and did raise a few giggles.
Unfortunately the swashbuckling set pieces and the action looked dated and D’Artagnan’s long running battle with Jussac (Paul McGann) felt very misplaced when watching the film for the first time in 2012.
I will never love an adaptation of The Three Musketeers which doesn’t include the horse eating/finding god silliness which takes place on the road to London but I am almost embarrassed to admit how much I enjoyed this ridiculously fun adaptation.
The Three Musketeers is dated, cheesy and boasts one of the strangest casts in recent memory but I couldn’t help but enjoy every second of it. It gets a generous 7.5/10. This film will be watched again before I finish my run of Dumas' musketeer books.