One for all and all for one!

Once again the familiar battle cry will grace the silver screen – and this time, the characters of Alexandre Dumas will be given a new 3D treatment.

But unfortunately, new doesn’t necessarily mean better.

In this adaptation of Dumas’s novel, director Paul W.S Anderson has revamped the tale for a modern audience by introducing popular steampunk elements and borrowing from other successful franchises of the 21st century, including Disney’s swashbuckling Pirates of the Caribbean in an attempt to bring in a little more family-friendly fun while staying more or less faithful to the book than previous adaptations.

The Three Musketeers begins with a heist in Venice, where the trio, Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Aramis (Luke Evans), and Porthos (Ray Stevenson), accompanied by Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) have to break into a heavily guarded vault containing Da Vinci’s blueprints for a battle airship (It looks exactly as it sounds). Naturally, poor Athos is then betrayed by his lover, Milady, who gives the secret plans to the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). Bitter and disillusioned, the Musketeers return to France and are made redundant.

The plot then fast-forwards a year later when young D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) sets off for Paris to join the heroic Musketeers, and when Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) is attempting to overthrow King Louis XIII by starting a war with England by hiring Milady herself. Meanwhile, the King of France himself is summoning the courage to woo Queen Anne as he searches for the perfect outfit. Confused yet?

The convoluted plot juggles so many characters and goes off on so many tangents it’s often hard to keep track of the characters’ various motives, and it inevitably means that some of the more interesting individuals like the three Musketeers themselves, do not receive enough screen time.

Instead, an inexperienced Logan Lerman and Milla Jovovich shoulder much of the movie, leaving veteran cast members Mads Mikkelson and Inglourious Basterds’ Christoph Waltz in the sidelines.

As D’Artagnan, Lerman is cocky and filled with youthful arrogance as he bounces around Paris duelling every man he encounters, never mind that when we first saw him he had just lost a fencing match with his aged father. Since Anderson has also chosen to sidestep the tricky field of 19th Century European accents, Lerman retains his Californian twang, making D’Artagnan seem more Beverly Hills teenager than French swordsman.

Femme fatale Milady is sufficiently deceitful, although she possesses a reckless, impetuous nature that seems to countermand her reputation for being a careful, criminal mastermind who is able to up with complex, double-crossing plans. Her lack of a back story and twee dialogue, coupled with Jovovich’s unimpressive acting unfortunately makes her seem more shallow and two-dimensional than mysterious.

The insufficient build up of the character’s histories also plague the eponymous heroes themselves, although hints of each Musketeer’s previous life and skill sets are sneaked into various points of the story, and each Musketeer, particularly burly Porthos, have distinct enough personalities to keep the audience amused and entertained.

Orlando Bloom is enjoyable enough as the smarmy villain, complete with an odd nasal English drawl, even if he appears slightly out of his element. However, the rest of the film is littered with unnecessary characters like a preening King Louis who spends his time onscreen moaning about his choice of outfits and an underdeveloped subplot involving a love interest for D’Artagnan.

The 3D effect of the film is put to good use during the various narrative sequences over a sprawling geographical map and through very impressive sets, each with memorable set elements that adorn gleaming marbled halls or the dark labyrinthine sewers of Venice, but becomes almost unnoticeable during the action sequences.

The fight scenes in the film are fast paced and imaginative, borrowing from Zack Snyder and Errol Flynn movies, but the effects are damaged by numerous flaws in logic, like having characters block the arc of a sabre blade with their bare hands and entering a cannonball fight with ships supported by a giant inflatable balloons.

The Three Musketeers is enjoyable enough if you’re willing to overlook such fallacies, but you can’t help but feel that it was an opportunity to produce a really great adventure film was sadly hampered by a shoddy, predictable script and poor casting.

Movie: The Three Musketeers
Rating: 2.5/5
Opens: Oct 26
Duration: 110 min
Language: English
Age Rating: PG – Some Violence
Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast: Logan Lerman, Milla Jovovich, Orlando Bloom