The Musketeer Preview

Wha-wha-wha… Sirs Sklogsalot? Where, and more importantly when, are they? “It’s… it’s August 12th, 2031, right?” Rich asks earnestly, stating the exact date very clearly. But their fellow knight Sir Bangarang just guffaws, “Right. 2031. As if, bro. It’s totally September 23rd, 1326. Pretty rad, right?” Rich and Poe’s heads are spinning. 1326? Why does it feel like… not that. Like this is all so fake… as if someone made it. “It’s falling apart,” Poe whispers to Rich, “we’re near the end and it’s all crashing down.” Rich nods and the end will be a battle for everything within them. Their souls, but most importantly the Obsidian Dongle and thus… Earth. “Where are we going?” Rich asks Bangarang, walking besides his horse. “Ha. Classic Sklogsalot. The castle, duh. The King is waiting and he’s none too happy. Nope. Better to just bite the bullet and get it over with. Face the music and all that. Lame, but I’m not the one who tried to kill him, amiright?” Rich and Poe’s faces blanch. This ain’t sounding so good. Maybe time to scram, but just when they are looking to book it Bangarang turns on them and pulls an uzi from under his armor. The gamemasters really half-assed this one. “Just come along quietly, Sklogalots. I’m getting too old for this shit.” Just then a whistle is heard from the surrounding trees. Bangarang looks around, suddenly concerned, and then turns and breaks out into a trot as several people backflip their way out of the forest. “Who are you?” Rich and Poe ask, admiring their flashy blue velour suits. “We are French,” they say matter of factly. “We saved you, so you are part of our crew. You are our… how do you say… Planchet?” That’s right! We are finally watching the Justin Chambers vehicle The Musketeer. This is the super rad martial arts interpretation of the Three Musketeers that literally everyone was clamouring for. We flooded the streets for calls for more Musketeer IP but now with karate! Swing around on ropes, we begged. Can they fight while on ladders? We asked. And so we received. The Musketeer. Let’s go!

The Musketeer (2001) – BMeTric: 55.7; Notability: 29 

(You can see the nice inflection in ‘11 and indeed, it seems like over the last few years films have reached a different stable point in vote growth. I feel like I need to do a new meta analysis on notability, because I would have thought this would have been a bit higher … but it also seems like most major films get between 25 and 35. But it is hard to tell.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – Peter Hyams’ “The Musketeer” combines traditional swashbuckling with martial arts in a movie where the men wear plumes in their hats but pounce like crouching tigers and scheme like hidden dragons. No wonder; the choreography of the fight scenes is by Xin-Xin Xiong–not a name on every tongue, I grant you, but he is one of the top action designers in Hong Kong. … I cannot in strict accuracy recommend this film. It’s such a jumble of action and motivation, ill-defined characters and action howlers. I am not even quite sure if Richelieu and Febre are on the same side, or if there are three or even four sides in the story. But the banquet scene is a marvel of art design. The action scenes are wonders to behold. And when Tim Roth vows vengeance on the man who blinded him, I for one believe him.

(An amazingly ok review from Ebert here. I think by 2001 he had fully entered his “it’s good for what it is” phase, which I personally rather appreciate. Watch the old “Worst of” shows for Ebert from the late 80s and early 90s and you’ll see him tear a film like this apart. By 2000 I think he became more appreciative of people just doing their thing.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFnSmS-SUXQ/

(This is one of the best-bad trailers ever made. If you show this trailer to anyone without pretense I have to assume their minds would melt. It doesn’t seem real. The moment where the narrator says “with fight choreography by …” as if I’m supposed to know who that is, and (worst yet), as if I’m supposed to think bringing wire-fu to The Three Musketeers is the most incredible idea ever conjured into existence … I love it. I’ve been waiting to watch this movie just based on this trailer for literally years.)

Directors – Peter Hyams – (Known For: Stay Tuned; Timecop; 2010: The Year We Make Contact; Hanover Street; Outland; Running Scared; Capricorn One; The Presidio; Sudden Death; Narrow Margin; Enemies Closer; The Star Chamber; Future BMT: End of Days; The Relic; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; The Musketeer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for End of Days in 2000; Notes: Has three sons. One was the director of Universal Soldier: Regeneration (for which Peter was cinematographer). One is the CEO of Indeed. And the last is the rap battle promoter Lush One. Read the notes on him below, this film was legitimately his career’s last gasp.)

Writers – Alexandre Dumas (novels) (as Alexandre Dumas père) – (Known For: The Count of Monte Cristo; The Three Musketeers; The Return of the Musketeers; La Reine Margot; The Four Musketeers; The Three Musketeers; The Count of Monte Cristo; The Iron Mask; Future BMT: The Three Musketeers; The Man in the Iron Mask; BMT: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; The Musketeer; The Three Musketeers; Notes: I don’t think I need to explain who Alexander Dumas is … but let’s appreciate that he is, in fact, credited as writing the novel that Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li is “based on”. Snooping around this seems potentially fake, but some places suggest maybe it is a vague adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo? Bizarre.)

Gene Quintano (screenplay) – (Known For: Police Academy 3: Back in Training; Sudden Death; Future BMT: Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Operation Dumbo Drop; King Solomon’s Mines; Loaded Weapon 1; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: Was a salesman who worked with the director Tony Anthony which is how he got into film. Wrote a good number of the Police Academy films. The Musketeer was effectively his last major production. Hyams and him worked on Sudden Death together.)

Actors – Justin Chambers – (Known For: Lakeview Terrace; Liberty Heights; Leo; Future BMT: The Wedding Planner; The Zodiac; Broken City; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: You would know him as reformed bad-boy Dr. Alex Karev on Grey’s Anatomy. He left the show this year, and you would not believe the arc they gave his character! No spoilers, but it is juicy drams, and fans are NOT happy.)

Catherine Deneuve – (Known For: Dancer in the Dark; Belle de Jour; The Brand New Testament; The Truth; The Hunger; Repulsion; The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; Pola X; Persepolis; Les Demoiselles de Rochefort; 8 Women; Tristana; Indochine; A Cop; Hustle; Mississippi Mermaid; Once Upon a Time; The Last Metro; Time Regained; A Christmas Tale; Future BMT: O Convento; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: Chosen as one of the 100 sexiest stars in history by Empire magazine in 1995, and from 1985 to 1989 she was the model for Marianne, the national symbol of France.)

Mena Suvari – (Known For: American Pie; American Beauty; American Pie 2; American Reunion; Slums of Beverly Hills; Becks; Stuck; Edmond; Brooklyn Rules; The Dog Problem; Future BMT: The Rage: Carrie 2; Loser; Beauty Shop; Trauma; Domino; You May Not Kiss the Bride; Sugar & Spice; Live Virgin; The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; Sonny; Caffeine; The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson; Standing Still; Factory Girl; Nowhere; Spun; Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children; BMT: The Musketeer; Rumor Has It…; Kiss the Girls; Notes: She now does mostly television (like American Woman and American Horror Story) and non-theatrical / television films. Notable for the sheer number of works with the word “American” in them that she’s been in.)

Budget/Gross – $40,000,000 / Domestic: $27,073,640 (Worldwide: $32,533,802)

(For the actual production company I imagine this was a disaster, and I also imagine they totally blamed the director in the end. According to the notes the distribution was sold for $7.5 million so cleary the companies that distributed it did fine. That is a lot more money, especially domestically, than I would have thought.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (11/99): Hong Kong inspired action sequences take center stage in this latest Three Musketeers adaptation. Unfortunately, the oversimplification of the story and an uncharismatic lead character leave the movie flat.

(How dare you slander Justin Chambers like that! He’s Grey’s Anatomy mega-star Justin Chambers!! Reviewer Highlight: Musketeer’s fight scenes are underlit, overmiked, and appallingly edited, with none of the spacious grace that even routine Asian action flicks get right. Worse, the narrative scenes make less sense. – Ty Burr, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Câble-fu

(This ain’t your daddy’s Three Musketeers. I think that comes across in this poster, although a bit busy. Nice font, nice color scheme. Needs a little bit more of an artistic touch to get the feeling of motion across. But not the worst. B.)

Tagline(s) – As you’ve never seen it before. (C)

(Why not just go with The ain’t your daddy’s Three Musketeers? It is what you’re trying to say and at least people would have been like “lol, WTF” rather than just shrug at the cliche of it all. I need more from my taglines. This is short and gets the point across, but there isn’t any heart… no love… you know?)

Keyword – historical fiction

Top 10: Django Unchained (2012), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Titanic (1997), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Dunkirk (2017), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Wonder Woman (2017), Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Assassin’s Creed (2016), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

Future BMT: 55.6 Robin Hood (2018), 41.8 Young Einstein (1988), 37.2 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), 36.9 The Great Wall (2016), 27.5 The Legend of Tarzan (2016), 27.5 Inferno (2016), 27.4 47 Ronin (2013), 21.8 Yellowbeard (1983), 20.5 Live by Night (2016), 20.4 The Three Musketeers (1993);

BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Assassin’s Creed (2016), The Three Musketeers (2011), Wild Wild West (1999), Red Riding Hood (2011), Jonah Hex (2010), The Scarlet Letter (1995), The Musketeer (2001)

(I think next on the docket had to be Robin Hood. Like The Three Musketeers it is a story that just gets made and made and made, presumably because the rights are in the public domain or something. There must be hundreds of versions of Robin Hoods. That peak at 2016 is interesting, there does seem to be an inordinate number of historical fiction films that came out then. I wonder why.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 25) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Mena Suvari is No. 4 billed in The Musketeer and No. 8 billed in Rumor Has It…, which also stars Jennifer Aniston (No. 1 billed) who is in Just Go With It (No. 2 billed), which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 4 + 8 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 25. If we were to watch The Wedding Planner, and Two for the Money we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – D’Artagnan did really exist. His name was Charles de Batz and was called D’Artagnan when he arrived in Paris probably because he was coming from the south-west of France (where the movie was partly shot) and where there is a little city called Artagnan.

The first film that Director Peter Hyams had directed without his long time editor Steven Kemper, who vowed not to work with the Director after the last few films he had directed which included End of Days and The Relic were too darkly lit and shot causing editorial problems. (Wow!)

The first film the Director Peter Hyams did not work with his usual composer John Debney. Debney had composed the music for Sudden Death, The Relic and End of Days for Hyams.

Universal Pictures teamed up Miramax Films to buy the film’s North American and U.K. rights for only $7.5 million, and the film was very profitable for both companies.

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