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The Three Musketeers

Those expecting a serious and reverential adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ seminal novel will probably be disappointed with The Three Musketeers.  The umpteenth version in as many years its director Paul W.S. Anderson is hardly known for his subtlety.  Having helmed the Resident Evil zombie flicks, his over the top style sees the Musketeers saving Paris with swords and guns blazing.  A silly load of old nonsense it’s entertaining despite this even if fans may gasp at the liberties taken with Dumas’ work.

 

Young D’Artagnan (Login Lerman) dreams of becoming a Musketeer for the French King.  Meeting three seasoned Musketeers who take him under their wing, they become involved in a plot by the wicked Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) to start a war with Britain.  Fighting with fine skill against the Cardinal and the dastardly duo Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) and the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) they have their work cut out in saving France from unending peril.

 

There have been so many incarnations of The Three Musketeers it seems each succeeding version has tried to out-do the last.   Anderson’s take surely must be the most outrageous as it throws the characters into one swash-buckling dilemma into another.  Wildly deviating from Dumas’ story it doesn’t seem to care for realism and goes full hilt into fantasy territory.  Filled with plenty of derring-do the action is well staged and effectively uses every penny of its mega-budget.

 

No one will win any acting awards but it is nice seeing stars like Bloom play against type and enjoying themselves.  The greatest aspect is the cinematography which lovingly reveals the amazing French locations in all its glory.  These add a touch of class despite the increasingly frantic carry-on proving scenery can add much to a slice of outrageous hokum.

 

The Three Musketeers is diverting fluff if one doesn’t take it too seriously.  It sets out to be a grand folly and succeeds.  It probably won’t add much to Anderson’s credibility although one thinks he wouldn’t care as long as the dollars roll in.

 

Rating out of 10:  5

 

Paranormal Activity 3

The Blair Witch Project has a lot to answer for.  A huge success in 1999 it ushered in a new era of cheaply made horror.  Filmed entirely on video with actors screaming in front of the camera with minimal emotion it became an unlikely hit.  The Paranormal Activity franchise has taken its cue to the ultimate degree with various spooky happenings occurring on a shoe-string budget.  Its third entry is no different as it uses every piece of creaking door and moving objects to supposedly terrifying effect.

 

Katie (Katie Featherston) and Kristi (Sprague Grayden) are two young sisters living with their mother Julie (Lauren Bittner) and her boyfriend Daniel (Brian Boland).  The family seem to enjoy life when suddenly events take a sinister turn.  Hearing strange noises and witnessing odd occurrences, Daniel takes it upon himself to capture everything on film.  What he sees fills him with dread as events escalate to a deadly and shocking denouncement.

 

Paranormal Activity 3 adheres to exactly the same formula as the others.  Since it has made tons of money from doing so you can’t really blame the producers for continuing this.  It would have been great had it actually been scary – a prerequisite for any alleged horror movie.  Whilst it has its moments this third entry refuses to try anything new with the endless ‘bump in the night’ motif becoming tiresome.

 

The only aspect of interest is the character’s back-story.  Expanding on previous instalments it answers some questions raised.  Unfortunately even more are posed with logic taking a holiday.  Certain character motivations make little sense with the story ultimately relying on their reactions to events rather than developing their personas.

 

Those wanting no-frills thrills may receive something out of Paranormal Activity 3.  Others who recall the halcyon days of horror such as the Nightmare on Elm Street films may wonder why the genre has fallen so far as to rely on such insipid and uninspiring entries such as this.

 

Rating out of 10:  2