The Carillon brings you the weekly news from the University of Regina.
by Marie Olinik
Starring: Justin Chambers, Catherine Deneuve, Mena Suvari, Tim Roth. Directed by: Peter Hyams
From the current marketing trend of ³making medieval times really cool² comes another retelling of the classic Alexandre Dumas story, The Three Musketeers. A Knightıs Tale had its obvious injection of 70s style clothes and music. The modern twist that The Musketeer delivers can be summed up in three words: lots of spinning.
Yes, here we have 17th-century France with guys defying gravity with Hong Kong action style choreography. Spinning. If a guy falls off his horse, he rolls away spinning. If he is fighting in a bar, he does a spinning attack. Even if he is climbing a castle wall or the outside of a hotel, there is the incessant need to twist, turn and spin his way to safety.
Then again, what else do you get when you pair stunt co-ordinator Xin-Xin Xiong with a director who has a desire to create action scenes reminiscent of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?
To give a bit of eye-twitching symmetry to the whole ordeal, you feel as though you are being thrown like a baseball from scene to scene. At the very start of the film, you see a youthful Dıartagnan play-fighting with his father, then witnessing his parents being slaughtered by the ³bad guy² (who of course is all in black).
There is never really a chance to catch your breath as you are rushed from scene to scene. There isnıt even that moment in most good vs. evil action films where the troops (and the audience) are roused to fight for the good of all.
Which brings me to the token bad guy with a personal vendetta against the ³good guy² (Dıartagnan). Lesson #1 of Evil Henchmen school: Always kill the guy you were sent to kill or Donıt Come Back. Blood is really hard to get out of any fabric.
And speaking of bit players, I think there was some miscommunication between the actors. Some of the characters had French accents, some didnıt.
I guess they were from the other part of France.
However, the movie does redeem itself in a few areas. With the exception of the fight scenes, you feel like you are in the Baroque paintings of that time period. For those of you who arenıt in Visual Arts, Iıll explain what this means.
Think of artists like Rembrandt, Warhol, or Frans Hals.
You get a sense of everyday life in the scenes that do set the mood for the story. The lighting is very dramatic and natural, with deep shadows. From the cloven orange on the Cardinalıs desk to the hilts of the swords, a tonne of effort was put into creating costumes and sets as close to the real thing as possible.
As for the acting, hereıs who to watch out for.
Tim Roth. The token ³bad guy.² You may remember him from other bad guy roles such as Thade, the general of the ape army in Planet of the Apes, and Archie, the cynical English fop from Rob Roy. Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction are also among his credits.
Roth did what he could with the script. He played the token ³bad guy². Thatıs about it.
Mena Suvari, who is in American Pie 1 and 2 as well as American Beauty and The Rage: Carrie 2, plays Francesca (Dıartagnanıs love interest). She plays perhaps the strongest character, keeping in mind the conventions of 17th century France.
She doesnıt scream like a little girl as Dıartagnan drops through her ceiling as she takes a bath. Nor does she waiver as she threatens to slice off a vital piece of anatomy from her slimy, ³letıs keep it all in the family² uncle. Even when she gets shot at close range, Francesca just whispers to her beloved, ³Iım not dead, go kill him.²
Finishing off our line of somewhat-stars is Steven Speirs. Remember Captain Tarpals, military adviser to Jar-Jar Binks in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace? That is Speirsı voice and he plays a very non-Gungan Porthos in this movie. Just a little piece of trivia.
Go watch The Musketeer if youıve seen everything else at the cheap theatres. Marvel at the sets and costumes, leave your brain at the door when it comes to the action scenes, and know that if Francesca was ever taught how to use a sword, she would kick ass.
Questions or comments? Email Erin Mazur, Acting Technology Co-Ordinator.