The Three Musketeers, the epic historical novel from Alexandre Dumas (forever immortalised in my mind as Alexander Dumbass thanks to The Shawshank Redemption), is certainly no stranger to the big – or indeed small – screen. The number of adaptations is vast, with everyone from Oliver Reed to Charlie Sheen musketeering it up. Even Mickey Mouse had a go. But Martin Bourboulon’s new two-part adaptation – the first part reviewed here – is a contender for one of the best yet.
This lavishly produced and action-packed adaptation – refreshingly, authentically French – is a swashbuckling delight. Packed with remarkable stunt work and a genuinely contagious adventurous spirit, The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan was filmed back-to-back with this year’s upcoming second part subtitled Milady. The result is a film that very much feels like half a complete product, ending with a cliffhanger that will jump us straight into the second part this December. With the book’s epic length, though, the choice to split into two films is advantageous for a solid adaptation. Fans of the book will be grateful for the faithfulness, while some updates – exploring Porthos’ bisexuality, for example – bring the story into the 21st century while maintaining its original energy and storytelling.
The cast are stellar – François Civil is brilliant in the titular role of D’Artagnan, while more universally known stars Eva Green and Vincent Cassel certainly lend some familiarity for viewers unfamiliar with French cinema.
But the main selling point here is the action. Like Pirates of the Caribbean meets John Wick, this is an incredible feat of action filmmaking – the commitment to good old-fashioned practical stunt work and swordplay lends a nostalgic vibe to the film, feeling like a traditional swashbuckling classic from days of yore. It’s a fast-paced rollicking romp with so much energy and unapologetically French sexiness. It’s just a delight.
While it remains to be seen how the second part wraps up the adaptation, this is certainly well on its way to becoming the definitive adaptation of Dumas’ classic novel. Grandiose in scale and action, The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan is a delight.
The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan is available now on digital, DVD, and Blu-ray from Entertainment in Video