Thee Three Musketeers: What the Holy Hell?

Thee Three Musketeers: What the Holy Hell?

By A New Writer: Neurotic Hobbit.

While at the cinema tonight, my eyes were raped.

“By what?” I hear you cry. Well, having still not quite accepted the fact that Hollywood is a creatively bankrupt corpse that repeatedly keeps throwing up its own bloated entrails instead of anything worthy of the terms ‘original’ or ‘creative’, I liked to turn up at the cinema in time to catch all the pre-movie trailers. For me, it’s apart of the ritual of seeing a movie. Unfortunately, in between all the boring dross and give-away-everything movie spots, my eyes, ears and mind were subjected to the following trailer:

For those who don’t know, The Three Musketeers was originally a novel written in the 1800s by one of the all-time great French writers, Alexandres Dumas. It’s a story that combines incredibly intricate plotting with an obsessive eye for historical detail, along with all the breathless heroics and dramatics of a truly great Romance. In short, it’s the story that elevated Dumas to the ranks of history’s greatest historical fiction writers, and started a series that has become legendary around the world. It was the story of one young man’s rise through the French military, and the political intrigues he found himself caught up in.

It was not a movie about flying airships and female ninja assassins!

I am honestly a little speechless at just how flagrantly Hollywood is showing that it frankly doesn’t give a s**t anymore. The Three Musketeers has sold millions of copies, and is required reading in high-schools and colleges around the world, because it is already a fantastic story. Dumas didn’t need to use made-up air battles and ninja gymnastics to intrigue people with his novel. His characters and his story were enough.

It’s not even that I’m against re-imaginings. One of my favorite adaptions of a Dumas work is Gankutsuou, which re-envisioned The Count Of Monte Cristo as taking place in a pan-galactic society thousands of years in the future. The reason why it worked, however, is that despite all the visual updates and shuffling around of minor events, the actual story was pretty damn true to the novel[1]. The characters had the same motivations, followed the same character arcs, and generally stayed true to their novel counterparts.

This… abomination, however? This has nothing to do with the original classic. The producers quite obviously said to each other-

“Hey, you know that story about those four musketeers who enjoyed winding up the English and getting into all sorts of intriguing escapades? What if we gave them ninja weapons and made them fight assassin’s with flamethrowers. And you know all those meticulously researched historical characters? What if we gave them airships and mad ninja skills.”

This is just a complete bastardisation of what The Three Musketeers is all about. The original novel presented a compelling narrative about events that, while certainly fictional, could have conceivably happened. When was it ever historically conceivable that France had an airborne war against the Duke of Buckinghamshire, while the aristocracy leaped off buildings at each other? About the same time robot Napolean was planning to take over Europe with his army of highly trained land-sharks?

And for the love of God, why aren’t they speaking French?


  • Korsgaard

    Not gonna lie, I fully intend to see this movie. Partly because I am a fan of many of the actors in this version, partly because I always savor the chance to see another Three Musketeers film (my favorite remains the version with Keifer Sutherland and Charlie Sheen), and partly because this film will be jaw-droppingly amazing or entirely god-awful. Nevertheless, I understand your concern over such liberal use of Dumas’ masterpiece.

    Also, welcome to the Dudeletter Neurotic Hobbit.

  • Scott Miller

    Ok. Lack of Hollywood creativity aside.. this isn’t the first and only Three Musketeers movie, so who cares if this one is faithful to the book. At this point its only banking on brand recognition to get butts in the seats. Heard of the Three Musketeers? Good! Here’s a generic action movie. Enjoy.

    Its akin to something like the Die Hard series (which, fittingly, won’t die). A bankable character was created, and as long as you find wacky situations for that character to be in, people will want to see it. Did Live Free or Die Hard have any business being labeled a Die Hard movie? Hell no. Its a POS Bruce Willis action vehicle. But no one pays $12 a ticket to see POS Bruce Willis action vehicles, they pay to see Die Hard. As such, the Three/Four Musketeers are established characters that people are vaguely familiar with, throw them in a wacky situation, and you expect people to see it. Its a hell of a lot easier to market than just making an obscure sword-fighting airship-dogfighting movie about European people. It may not make $150M or anything, but its just Hollywood filling its downtime with schlock to make a quick buck.

    Only thing that pissed me off about the trailer? CHRISTOPH WALTZ NEEDS A BETTER FRIGGIN AGENT. Dude is squandering his ability and over-saturating his presence already! And he’s only been making movies here for two years! BAH!

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