Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The Four Musketeers (US/UK 1974)

Probably the best Three Musk...oh wait, this is the same film again...he split the film in two. So this is probably the best Three Musketeers film since errr...the previous film which was the same film but chopped in half, yeah, oh and now its called 'The Four Musketeers', clever little twist there huh.

So yes here we are again following on from where the last film left off. Of course the fact that this is essentially the same film just chopped in half everything is exactly perfect continuity wise. But that's not exactly a big deal cos its the same film people!! but I guess if you didn't know that then it would come across amazingly well.

The film covers the second half of the famous novel and one could say the more exciting half. Not that the first wasn't brilliant, its just in this film there is even more epic awesomeness! d'Artagnan is now a Musketeer so the foursome are high on confidence and positively brewing over with arrogance and cockiness.

I can't really go into the visuals etc...once again as this is the same film so naturally it all looks terrific as before. We still have the same tour de force of stunts and swashbuckling action, the same silly oafish humour and the same gorgeous location work. The main thing that stands out here is the impressive battle sequences which far outnumber the previous chapter.

A sequence where all four Musketeers take a bet to have breakfast within the ruins of a Bastion is a perfect example of this whole production. Ridiculously silly notion which incorporates some ridiculous visual gags that are so predictable yet highly amusing. To see poor old Roy Kinnear's character trying to serve his Musketeers superiors whilst under fire will guarantee a smile on your face. All the while our four heroes calmly drink wine and let off a shot or two pipping the odd enemy.

There is another fantastic clash of swords on a frozen lake with the three older Musketeers coming to the rescue of d'Artagnan, Christopher Lee in all his dastardly evilness of course. Then as we approach the finale we are given one set piece after another as the Musketeers battle through Rochefort's men building up to the weary final battle between d'Artagnan and Rochefort himself. The whole last half of this film really is a sight to behold, the action never lets up yet you never see anything brutal, every scene looks tremendous and the humour is never lost. Bit of emotion though, but not too much, nothing to gush over.

The cast are still on belting form at every turn, there really is no bad casting or performances from anyone. Both films are supposedly quite accurate to the original novels by Dumas, both films are superb in every detail despite being cut in two, this half easily being the more fun in my opinion. But hell, there really is nothing bad I can say about this final chapter or the previous one. Its more of the same but that's just what you'd want no?

Lester achieves greatness here with these films, its such a shame they don't get much recognition anymore. Don't watch this film without seeing the first chapter as it very possibly might not make any sense but don't hold that against the film, that's up to you. Mr Lester, we salute you (even though you should have backed Donner for 'Sups 2' instead of virtually remaking the whole thing...but I digress).