Picture from The Three Musketeers (2011)
Overall B

Alexandre Dumas' novel comes to the big screen again (in 3D this time). Parthos (Ray Stevenson) Athos (Matthew Macfadyen) and Aramis (Luke Evans) take a fourth, aspiring musketeer (Logan Lerman) under their wing when they set out to overthrow an evil plot against France and its European neighbors.

Violence C+
Sexual Content A-
Profanity B-
Substance Use C+

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of adventure action violence.

The Three Musketeers (2011)

Hardly strangers to movie adaptations, Athos, Aramis and Porthos (Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans and Ray Stevenson) are clashing swords in yet another retelling of The Three Musketeers.

During the reign of young King Louis XIII (Freddie Fox) life has become decidedly dull for the trio whose mission is to protect and serve the ruler. The situation is made even more frustrating due to the control that Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) has managed to grasp from his inexperienced leader. With his huge contingent of guards, the church has arguably more control over the state than the monarch. Yet the situation may be the perfect antidote to the job security problems facing the famous three when the Cardinal decides to create a plot of deception between France and Britain.

It takes an ambitious adolescent named D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) to rally the men back into a state of swashbuckling savvy, and it’s just in time. The sultry Milady De Winter (Milla Jovovich) is working with Richelieu to frame the innocent (in a twist from the historic novel) Queen Anne (Juno Temple) as appearing to be having an affair with The Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). Meanwhile, with war on the horizon, the suave D’Artagnan fills a secondary role by becoming the personal romantic and fashion coach to King Louis who is totally clueless about how to approach Queen Anne, his designated bride-to-be.

This is an ambitious movie full of period costumes and settings. Yet much of it, from the obviously computer generated backgrounds and battle sequences to the script full of colloquialisms and contemporary dialogue, feels less than polished. The lessons provided by D’Artagnan to King Louis could have been cut and pasted from the lines of any television series of teens trading advice in a high school hallway. But perhaps that’s all part of the marketing of this title, which appears to be wooing a pre-adult crowd.

The good news is that families may still find this movie to be a worthwhile choice because contains so little potentially objectionable content. Even with all the swordplay and some gunfire, the only scene that could be considered anywhere near explicit is a single on screen stabbing. Other issues include the three warriors love of wine—lots of wine—and frequent shots of cleavages on various female characters. Profanities are also few.

Sadly not reaching its full potential, yet still likely to entertain adolescent audiences, The Three Musketeers ends with an evident hope for a sequel. Time (and box office numbers) will tell if this effort was all for just one.