Friday, 24 May 2013

The Return of the Musketeers (UK, FRA, ESP 1989)

Some 15 years later we have this late trilogy bookend for this noteable franchise. Funnily enough the film is based on Dumas' sequel novel Twenty Years After and that's almost the same amount of time which had passed from 'The Four Musketeers' and this third film.

So to look at the characters it really does feel very authentic as everyone has indeed aged some 20 years...almost. In fact the entire cast has all been brought back once again to don their fancy pants and wigs, quite impressive I must say for the continuity.

Again its pretty much business as usual for Lester and his crew, and once again they have produced/created a sterling offering which still manages to look and sound just as lavish and authentic as the previous two films. I can't fault anything on display in this film whatsoever, all the visuals, locations, props, sets, costumes, weapons etc...everything just like before is beautifully crafted and visualised.

The comedy is as you have come to expect from Lester with these films, both silly pratfalls wise and the various subtle little dubbed gags. The action is fair but feels a little too childish this time round, of course we know its suppose to be but this time it does feel just a bit too silly with very few kills. Can't help but mention that the age of the main four fellows clearly hinders the swashbuckling somewhat, makes everything feel a bit like a Benny Hill sequence at times.

Age aside everyone is still on top form, no slacking here as all cast members are clearly having a great time hamming it up in a flurry of swords, facial hair n wine. Oliver Reed was born for this role I believe, I'm not even sure if he knew he was in a film, just drinking, fighting and being loud. A great shame about Roy kinnear though, such a lose, even worse when its a needless accident.

It seems that one problem is that of Kim Cattrall as Justine de Winter. She doesn't quite fit the bill in this role methinks, I can't quite put my finger on it, maybe her face looks too 'present day' or 80's, but she just doesn't fit in. I can see her in a daft sexy comedy alongside someone like Tom Hanks but just not in a period piece like this. It also bugs me that people must always alter things when they adapt, Milady de Winter was suppose to have a son not a daughter, so why change it??

Overall this is still a great fun film which all the family can enjoy no doubt. Though despite it still looking superb I can't help but feel its not really required. The first two films gave you your complete Musketeer fix, they explored every avenue, every nook and cranny of 17th Century France and pretty much gave you everything you could ask for in a swashbuckler.

This does feel a bit tired, a bit late in the day and a bit of a rehash really, just the same as before. Sure its not a bad thing and the characters being old is a nice spin which of course connects to the original source material but it just doesn't really offer you anything new. The first two films did it all perfectly and to be honest...better, this just feels like a return trip without the freshness.

Still a great film but simply not in the same league as the first two, it may even bore you in parts. And how the hell does the Count De Rochefort survive the previous film to here?! He was well n truly run through, even in this day and age you wouldn't have much of a chance with that one, so how on earth he overcame that little nick is anyone's guess.