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Does Alexandre Dumas’ oft-filmed tale still have the power to delight audiences? It does. It’s just a pity that Les Trois Mousquetaires: d’Artagnan adds so much new stuff that doesn’t work.

It's no coincidence that filmmakers keep returning to the classics. They have proven their durability and Alexandre Dumas' Three Musketeers is one of the prime examples of stories written two centuries ago that can still enthrall audiences.

For considerable stretches Les Trois Mousquetaires: d'Artagnan does so as well. The main plot is still rock-solid and the interplay between the characters keeps the momentum going, in no mean part thanks to French acting superstars Romain Duris, Vincent Cassel and Eva Green, who gleefully chew the scenery.

The production design and the costumes are wonderful to behold as well. Every single cent of the nearly 40 million euros spent on this movie is right there on the screen, even if the cinematography is at times too dark to show the splendour off sufficiently.

Less successful are the filmmakers' attempts to jazz up the story with new plot elements. One by one the additions feel like a forced (and failed) ploy to entertain a modern audience with bigger, more elaborate set-pieces. Especially in the final act this makes for an odd, misguided match with the source material.

Les Trois Mousquetaires: d'Artagnan thus is a bit of a mixed bag: despite the entertainment value the film doesn't nearly top the excellence of previous adaptations, like the Oliver Reed-led seventies version. But maybe the filmmakers have saved the best for second part Milady, which is scheduled in cinemas this december.

release: 2023

director: Martin Bourboulon

starring: François Civil, Romain Duris, Vincent Cassel, Pio Marmaï, Eva Green


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