The Musketeer (Wait? What? Aren’t You Missing Several of Them?)

There are going to be spoilers in this post, but if you take my advice you won’t watch this movie so it won’t matter.  But YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED — SPOILERS AHEAD!
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I made the mistake of watching part of The Musketeer while I ate dinner. Oh Lordy (my new favorite phrase thanks to Mr. Comey) what an awful mess. This mess dates from 2001. They should have just remastered and reissued the 1973 Richard Lester version staring Michael York, Oliver Reed, Christopher Lee, etc.
 
So, the new movie. They had to make up a new villain in place of Rochefort who could be even badder! (that’s a term of art) than Rochefort played by Tim Roth who seems to specialize in playing mincing bad guys. And (gasp) he’s the evil baddy who killed D’Artagnan’s mommy and daddy _in front of him_ when he was just a little boy.  Why, oh why does every studio exec thinks there has to be some tragic explanation for a young man wanting to become a musketeer?  Why does everybody had to have an arc?  Dear god with Princess of Mars they kept trying to give John Carter an arc by having him a hopeless coward until he finds courage because of the love of Dejah Thoris.  Or a hopeless alcoholic tormented by memories of the Civil War until he becomes sober because of love of Dejah Thoris, and in John Carter they seemed to settle on his arc being that Carter was a truculent asshole at the beginning of the movie and he becomes somewhat less of an asshole because of the love of Dejah Thoris.
But back to The Musketeer.
 
Athos who is such a powerful figure in the ’73 version and as I recall in the novel as well is just a surly dude who never does much.  Both Artemis and Porthos are scarcely present.  Planchet ended up being the most interesting character.  The actor playing D’Artagnan began life as a male model and I was no impressed.  He also had this sort of valley boy accent and style of delivery which jarred me right out of the movie almost every time he opened his mouth.  It was at the point where he apparently decided to ride his horse to death that I checked out.  Spoiler — the horse makes a miraculous recovery.  Truth is when a horse is forced to run until they literally collapse beneath the rider they almost never get up again.  So yeah, I didn’t stick around for the thrilling conclusion.  I watched my recording of Dr. Who instead.  Much more satisfying.

7 Responses to The Musketeer (Wait? What? Aren’t You Missing Several of Them?)

  • M. B. Dezotell says:

    Have you seen the 1948 version with Gene Kelly? Not exactly epic.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      Bits and pieces. It didn’t incline me to watch the entire thing. There was also that terrible remake in 1993 with Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland. That one was really awful too. I haven’t attempted to watch the latest film from 2011.

  • Syd Henderson says:

    My favorite version is Douglas Fairbanks’ Sr.’s silent version, which is no help to you at all. Though even better is his “Mark of Zorro” (the ur-Zorro), and his wonderful “The Gaucho.” (And, of course, his best, “The Thief of Baghdad.;”)

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      I love the Thief of Baghdad, but I admit I haven’t seen the others. I just think the Chris Lee/Michael York, etc. version had charm, humor, great fight sequences (Many of the choreographed by Lee) and a great musical score as well.

  • Robert Mitchell says:

    Absolutely agree! The 1973 version with Michael York is the only good film version of that franchise. However, I’m a bit puzzled by your comments about “A Princess of Mars”, the book that launched Edgar Rice Burrough’s career as a writer. I first read the Barsoom series in the 70s and have reread them several times, the most recently, about 2 yrs. ago. John Carter a coward? As I recall, as soon as he arrives on Mars, he’s captured by the Tharks, where he soon kills two of the big green bastards bare handed, before, if I remember right, the Tharks capture Dejah Thoris, He even boasts of his swordsmanship throughtout the books, to other characters and to the reader. In one, he says to the reader, “if your vocation be the shoeing of horses or the painting of pictures, and you can do it better than your fellows, you should rightly be proud of your ability. Thus, I proudly say that upon two worlds, there is no better swordsman than John Carter.” Back to our friends, the Musketeers: I don’t think they’ll ever make a better version than the Michael York/Oliver Reed one, so I hope they stop trying.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      Oh, dear, I wasn’t clear. I was talking about the terrible movie adaptation that ultimately turned into John Carter (of Mars!!!). When George and I were hired to do a rewrite of the script there had been all these other takes where they were trying to give John Carter and “arc” so they toyed with — he’s a coward, he’s a drunk, etc. They seemed to have settle on “he’s an asshole” who becomes slightly less of an asshole by the time the movie gets to it’s three endings.

      • Robert Mitchell says:

        Ah, that makes more sense. I was wondering if you accidentally referred to the film by the title of ERB’s first book in the series. Yeah, the part where he’s a total jerk until he gets to Mars and starts fighting for Helium was totally unnecessary and turned what could’ve been a very good adaptation into a mediocre one.

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