Wednesday, May 26, 2010

MUSKETEERING

"Once in the Bastille, there is no afterwards. "
-Count Rochefort, The Three Musketeers

Queen Anne of Austria
The Three Musketeers is one of those books that's so good you want to go back and read it again once its done. It is quite long, but that's a good thing, because you love the characters and situations (and for me, especially the sensibility of the characters and their love of honor and duty) so dearly that ever new page is a delight. A while back I did a post on movies that could stand a remake, and this was one I wanted to see done.

Its true that over the last years a couple of Musketeers remakes were made, with one in 1993 (Chis O'Donnell, Charlie Sheen etc) and one more recently which jarringly tried to add martial arts into the mix so it was more a Chinese opera than a Dumas story in 2001 (Justin Chambers, Tim Roth, Catherine Deneuve). Both had some good points, but none of them truly match the wonder of the original story. In truth, you could make several movies from the one book - and the 1973 version with Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain and Michael York was in two parts and did a fairly faithful job of following much of the story, but it left a great deal out.

What is needed is a good, tight story following the book more closely, taking its time to tell the story in the modern moviemaking style - very gritty and realistic, with brutal faithfulness to the time so it doesn't feel so dated and set in its decade (the previous listed examples can be dated easily by hair alone).

There is a new effort being put together by Hollywood, targeted for a 2011 release date. So far we know Orlando Bloom is going to be the main villain of the piece - the Duke of Buckingham (an interesting choice, since he's never played a villain and I think he'd be better at that than hero). Milla Jojovich is cast for the evil Lady DeWinter, and the queen is Juno Temple, a young teen actress which is appropriate since in the book she's 14 years old. The Musketeers (there's actually 4, including D'Artagnan, but he isn't technically a musketeer for most of the book) are played by these fellows:

Aramis: Luke Evans (Clash of the Titans, Robin Hood - he hasn't had much work)
Arthos: Matthew MacFadyen (Robin Hood, Frost/Nixon, lots of television)
D'Artagnan: Logan Lerman (Butterfly Effect, 3:10 to Yuma)
Porthos: Ray Stevenson (King Arthur, Rome, The Book of Eli, the Punisher in the most recent film)

Now these aren't total unknowns but they are pretty obscure and none of them are primarily known for being pretty boys or famous for just being actors. That seems like a good step in my opinion, so that the roles are not overshadowed by the people playing them. For example, I like Charlie Sheen a lot, but he's always playing, well, Charlie Sheen. That's all you see and think of when he's on the screen. And Chris O'Donnell has the acting talent of a block of salt.

So although the movie is pointlessly in 3D (that's the big trend in Hollywood by mindless idiots: Avatar made a bazillion dollars, Avatar was in 3D, make our movie 3D and we'll get rich!), I'm hoping that it will be something well made. At the very least, it should look really, really good and be plausibly set in the proper 16th century time period.

Incidentally, although the titular musketeers are best known for their swordplay, they really did specialize in the musket which was a pretty new weapon in the time this story is set. Its just that the musket is a one-shot weapon, so once it's done you draw your sword.

3 comments:

lance said...

There is no name after Porthos. Do you mean Thomas Jane?

Christopher Taylor said...

Whoops, ok fixed that. No, there was a Punisher War Journal movie that came out last year, Thomas Jane wasn't in it. I liked him though, hope he gets more work.

JoelAT said...

He was Mickey Mantle in 61* that came out last year.