I was quite excited when I first heard about the new Russian adaption of The Three Musketeers, mostly because around this time news broke about the BBC The Musketeers series was going to be produced and I was a bit disenchanted by the costume choices. I mean, just look at the trailer for this film.
I was stoked that another Musketeer movie was being that didn’t feel the need to give everyone a leather jacket (looking at you BBC and “Steampunketeers“). It is possible to tell this tale and use period clothing and it still look awesome and the heroes badasses.
Besides this, and also because of this, I went into watching this version of the movie with cautious optimism. I have a large collection of bad Musketeer movies to have me get my hopes up too high. But I will admit, this movie blew me away.
As I noted, the costumes are fantastic and very much tell the story and personality of the character wearing it. As does the fighting styles between d’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Porthos fights like a brute, Athos extremely practical yet noble in his moves, Aramis terrifically graceful (even when things get dirty), and d’Artagnan very athletic. He does cartwheels and jumps, which feels like a direct homage to the Gene Kelly Three Musketeers movie. I loved it.
Clothing aside, this movie is a fairly accurate book-to-film adaption. They hit the major plot points — how d’Artagnan meets the Inseparables, the queen’s diamonds mission, and Milady’s revenge.
Of course, it’s a long book and it’s impossible to do the whole thing perfectly in one movie. The ’50s BBC version did the best book-to-film adaption, but that was done as a miniseries; the Richard Lester version is fantastic but done in two films; and the Gene Kelly version left a lot out. So it’s hard to get it all in 90-180 minutes.
They did leave out my favorite scene in the book — the breakfast at LaRochelle. However, the trailer shows this scene and this version was released as both a standalone movie and a 10-episode miniseries. So perhaps it’s in the miniseries version (which I’ve yet to find).
But, in general, I would rank this in the Top 3 or 5 in terms of book-to-film accuracy. So if you’re a “The Book Was Better” type of person, you still might enjoy this movie.
And, of course, there are some bits they changed from the book. There’s a fight between d’Artagnan and Rochefort when d’Artagnan returns from England to bring the diamonds back to Constance and the queen. The post-Constance death story line with Milady also is different from the novel, but still done well. The only poor change is the Duke of Buckingham’s death, which makes him come off more as a fool, than a tragic victim. But these changes are fairly minor and don’t detract from the movie and story itself.
I also found the casting to be well done, but I know nothing about any of these actors and actresses, so going into this with no preconceptions of the cast and acting skills was pretty nice.
As to how this compares to the original musical Russian adaption from the ’70s — I have no idea. That version is one of the few adaptions of Dumas’ novel that I’ve yet to watch/own. Something I need to change.
I highly recommend this to anyone else who’s a fan of the Three Musketeers, especially if they’re picky about staying true to the original book.
The 2013 Russian adaption of The Three Musketeers isn’t available on DVD or BluRay in the US yet, but you can watch the whole movie for free on Hulu. Or below (Thanks, Hulu!). It’s also available as a 10-part extended miniseries via Amazon Instant Video.