Once I first noticed the character posters for The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan, I believed that I had in some way ripped a gap within the material of actuality and landed within the Name My Agent! prolonged universe. There they have been, half of France’s film stars—Vincent Cassel as Athos; Romain Duris as Aramis; Pio Marmaï as Porthos; Eva Inexperienced as Milady; Louis Garrel as King Louis XIII; plus Luxembourg’s most interesting, Vicky Krieps, because the Queen—watching me in comically opulent seventeenth century drip. François Civil, who performs D’Artagnan, even had a recurring function within the in style showbiz-skewering comedy sequence. (To not point out a 2023 GQ France Man of the 12 months cowl.) I used to be simply ready for a plotline about Krieps and Cassel quarreling over the horseback-riding clause of their contracts.
Mais non, mes chers, the film could be very actual. And after being launched in European theaters again in April, The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan is lastly out there to lease stateside this month, although it’s largely flown under-the-radar up to now. In relation to French-set historic epics this season, you’re in all probability effectively conscious of Ridley Scott’s dour Napoleon—however that is the one you really need to see.
Now, to be truthful, what might we presumably do with one other Three Musketeers film? In an leisure panorama that’s drowning in IP, few tales have been advised and retold onscreen as usually as Alexandre Dumas’s 1844 novel. Greater than 50 variations have been made up to now, together with one with Gene Kelly in 1948, Charlie Sheen in 1993, and Orlando Bloom in 2011 (that one was 3D). We even have Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds (all of the Musketeers are canine), Barbie and the Three Musketeers (all of the Musketeers are Barbies), and three Musketeers (all of the Musketeers are fluffy nougat enrobed in chocolate).
D’Artagnan dusts off an outdated story and makes it really feel contemporary and pressing, whereas preserving its inherent attraction. Younger, keen D’Artagnan arrives in seventeenth century Paris with the hope of becoming a member of the king’s musketeers. He does rapidly get enmeshed with them, together with a twisty, menacing conspiracy in opposition to the French crown. Sensible motion and stunt work take the place of grotesque CGI. There’s authentic swashbuckling. There’s palace intrigue and furtive whispering. There’s dialogue like: “If my proper hand fails me, my left shall suffice to kill you.” (Okay, go off.)
It’s satisfying to see The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan get made in 2023. And much more satisfying to observe, concurrently grand in scope and elegantly exact in execution. Is it groundbreaking? Not notably. However it’s an unexpectedly nice thrillride that presents an old-fashioned concept: what if somebody took a few of the finest actors working as we speak, put them in extravagant interval gown, and made an action-packed historic epic?
As I identified once I wrote in regards to the cult of Grasp and Commander, that taste of big-budget blockbuster has largely disappeared. D’Artagnan and its sequel, The Three Musketeers: Milady—which is out in Europe now however not touchdown on our shores till subsequent 12 months—are uncommon exceptions, costing a mixed $78.2 million to supply. Keep in mind when the BBC blew over $25,000 simply on candles for Wolf Corridor? That’s what I need to see extra of.
And, after all, there may be that constructive male friendship that offers these films their beating coronary heart. Whereas I might not deign to consult with the musketeers as “dudes who rock,” they’re “dudes who exhibit an admirable sense of loyalty and responsibility, all whereas sporting more and more elaborate feathered hats.” It additionally passes the French model of the Bechdel Take a look at (“does your film embody a man who might fairly be known as ‘essentially the most French-looking man of all time?’”) various occasions over.
In the end, The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan doesn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel—and that’s factor.