The Musketeers: Review

Last night, the BBC premiered the newest film adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’s historical fiction, The Three Musketeers. If you are a fan of the book, please don’t expect the plot of this version to follow that, as it is substantially different.

The Musketeers Title

It began well, as everyone looked pretty filthy (kudos to the crew) and we first see the d’Artagnan father and son as they stop at an inn. In true Seventeenth-century style, we saw slop being tossed out the window, yucky streets, and talk of fleas and lice. In the book, d’Artagnan goes to Paris to join the musketeers and there he has confrontations with three musketeers – Porthos, Athos, and Aramis and engages to meet each in a duel. This version is not like that, though there is a brief bit of sword-fighting between the four.

The Musketeers

D’Artagnan was interestingly portrayed by Luke Pasqualino (the same chap who played Lucrezia Borgia’s lover Paolo in sadly-axed The Borgias).

The Musketeers

The rest of the cast were great – and I hadn’t seen some of them in anything before (always a relief to see some unknowns – makes things a lot more realistic!).

I thought the soundtrack was fun and perky.

The dresses were lovely, though I have to say some articles of clothing looked far more Elizabethan and Jacobean than 1630s, but that’s just me.

The Musketeers Ep 1

Before I conclude with this review, I would like to say that the new Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi (whom you may recall gave a wonderful performance as King Charles I in The Devil’s Whore) was, I found, quite seductive as the scheming Cardinal Richelieu. That was definitely something I hadn’t expected, as all previous Richelieu’s seemed very creepy.

Capaldi as Richelieu

In short, this was a swashbuckling, romp very loosely based on The Three Musketeers, but still fun. I look forward to the next episode!

If, however, you want a version that is plotted according to the book, I would suggest the Richard Chamberlain adaptation from the 1970s instead.

Hear ye! 7 thoughts — so far — on “The Musketeers: Review”:

  1. Leif

    The Reed/York/Chamberlain and Finney version is my all-time fave. adaption. But I will check this new one out after your review here. I feared it would be West Side Story meets Dumas…

  2. Pamela Womack

    I’m afraid I was very disappointed with ‘The Musketeers’- any similarity to Dumas’ classic was entirely coincidental! Of course changes are necessary when adapting a book onto the screen, but why did it require such a drastic rewrite of a novel which already has all the right ingredients for a twenty-first viewer to enjoy?

    Yes, it was realistically dirty, but many of the costumes and hair-styles were inaccurate, and it’s most unlikely that Queen Anne would have batted a royal eye when her husband was shooting birds. With one-dimensional characters and an implausible plot, it seems that this production is aimed more at the American market. I hope it improves.

    1. Andrea Zuvich (The 17th Century Lady) Post author

      Hi Pamela, I agree about inaccuracies, but I don’t want to be too mean about it. I know a lot of hard work goes into these productions, and I appreciate that, though it is a shame they couldn’t stick to the original storyline. The sad thing is that new audiences (because frankly few young people read the original now) will think *this* is how The Three Musketeers is supposed to be. :/

      1. Pamela Womack

        I’m with you there! I see that there is a new edition of ‘The Three Musketeers’, with a photograph of the cast on the cover; If this encourages people to read this exciting tale, then I will happily forgive the BBC for this version!

  3. James Shepherd

    I felt it was slow and poorly put together. I did not expect it to be like Dumas. That doesn’t matter but I felt it was not a successful or diverting adaptation. No great escapism here for me.

  4. carolynmcash

    This programme recently aired on the ABC here, and the last two episodes are on ABC iView for the time-being.

    I agree with some of the clothing, especially as Queen Anne’s outfits do look rather Elizabethan or Jacobean than those worn during Charles I’s reign.


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