While this year’s WonderCon has been overshadowed a bit by the two summer tentpoles present (Green Lantern and Cowboys and Aliens), a number of other films are being featured at the convention and today we saw a presentation of Summit’s The Three Musketeers. Not that there’s really any classic work of literature in need of an update from director Paul W.S. Anderson (AVP: Aliens vs. Predator), but this Alexandre Dumas classic especially does not call for an Anderson adaptation. Nevertheless, it exists. Hit the jump for my thoughts on the Three Musketeers presentation.
Things got off to an appropriate start when the moderator opened with “This is not your mother’s Three Musketeers.” This fact, given in many other iterations, was mentioned countless times throughout the presentation: “This is the new school Three Musketeers movie.” “There are no men in tights in this movie.” Okay, okay we get it. Classic literature = weak, 3D action movie with sparks and swordfights = cool.
While no new footage from the film was unveiled, the presentation opened with the teaser trailer that debuted online a week ago. There are explosions, flame-throwing dragon cannons, and Mila Jovovich jumping off the roof of a mansion and floating down in slow motion. Again, not exactly a thought-provoking adaptation of Dumas’ novel.
We were then shown a behind-the-scenes featurette, which consisted of on-set interviews intercut with footage from the teaser trailer. We saw the actors training for their fight scenes, we heard proclamations of no stunt doubles being used, and Paul W.S. Anderson appeared onscreen himself to state, “I’m an action director, so if I’m gonna make The Three Musketeers, it’s gonna have action in it.”
Present for the panel were actors Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson) who plays d’Artagnan, and Luke Evans (Clash of the Titans) who plays Aramis. The two did their best to sell the film, and it sounds like they at least had fun playing with swords on set. Evans noted that Anderson pitched his take on the Aramis character as “a Batman-ninja-Terminator.” I found myself lost in thought trying to picture what that creature would look like before I snapped back to reality and realized the absurdity of what was just said. Did Anderson even bother thinking about story or was he too wrapped up in how to infuse each character with the maximum amount of bad-assness?
At the end of the day, the audience for Anderson’s The Three Musketeers will not be the faithful literary crowd. While it’s disheartening to see a studio spend money on this sort of an adaptation of Dumas’ novel rather than a dramatic adventure period picture, I’m sure there’s plenty of people ready and willing to see a surface-level version of the classic lacking in story and character but filled to the brim with explosions and flame-throwing cannons.
The Three Musketeers stars Logan Lerman, Milla Jovovich, Matthew Macfadyen, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Mads Mikkelson, Gabriella Wilde, Juno Temple, Orlando Bloom, and Christoph Waltz. The film opens in 3D on October 14th.