The Three Musketeers (1993)

The Three Musketeers (1993)

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"Hey guys, have any of you seen my blue tabard?"
“Hey guys, have any of you seen my blue tabard?”

Twitter Plot Summary: The Three Musketeers gets a Brat Pack shine and oodles of Tim Curry awesomeness in this 1993 adaptation of the novel by Alexandre Dumas.

So the Musketeers get another adaptation, this time at the hands of Disney no less. And you know what? It’s really good fun. By focusing on the jokey, wisecracking side of the characters whilst developing an appropriately dramatic narrative, director Stephen Herek found the perfect tone to tell the story of these characters. And there are a lot of jokes, it has to be said. The original story is tweaked slightly so that the Musketeers are disbanded before D’Artagnan can join them, which in turn sets off the remainder of the plot, but it does work in this particular context. It also helps mix things up when you most likely already know how it will conclude.

So what that it is a mostly blood free affair, never mind how many people are killed and bumped off? It is evident that it was a lavish production – it had a budget half that of Jurassic Park and $8 million more than Spielberg’s other film that year, Schindler’s List. Not only is it obvious on screen that a fair bit of money was spent, the production also used some great locations which add realism and atmosphere in equal measure.

"How dare you point that at me! I'm Tim Ruddy Curry!"
“How dare you point that at me! I’m Tim Ruddy Curry!”

The cast is pure gold. Not only do we have the Brat Pack essence of Kiefer Sutherland and Charlie Sheen as Athos and Aramis respectively, joined with able presence by Oliver Platt as Porthos and Chris O’Donnell as D’Artagnan – who emulates Michael York by not being completely irritating – but on villain duties there is Paul McGann (in two roles, no less – excellent in both even if they are sketched rather thin), and a piece of casting genius by placing Tim Curry as Cardinal Richelieu. Curry is reliably good in almost everything, but to give him a meaty role such as this is one that just works on every level. Sneering, insidious charm, and clearly targeting a role above his current position, Curry is a tour de force of cinematic villainy. He’s supported by an equally villainous turn by Michael Wincott as Rochefort, he of gravelly voice and main bad guy duty in The Crow. On the female front, we have the ever reliable Julie Delpy as Constance, and another delightful turn by Rebecca De Mornay as the traitorous Countess D’Winter.

Plus what’s not to like about the song, All For Love, that plays over the end credits? Who can argue against the trifecta that is Bryan Adams, Sting and Rod Stewart? Well Seal for one – he should’ve been added to the mix just for the sake of it. Between him and the trio on this recording they sewed up the movie ballad market in the 90s. It might very well be a hip and typically early 90s adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ original novel, but for once it does work in the film’s favour. Drama, jokes, derring do and cracking performances all add up to something that is surprisingly more than you might have initially expected. In that respect it’s a shame a sequel never followed.

Score: 3.5/5

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