Directed by: Peter Hyams
Written by:Gene Quintano
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Justin Chambers, Mena Suvari, Stephen Rea, Tim Roth
Released: March 7, 2002
Grade: C

I’ve always wanted to make a movie but I lack confidence in my own ability and am too lazy to get off my ass and do something about it.  Well, I suddenly have renewed enthusiasm having seen The Musketeer because I figure if they’ll give director Peter Hyams $40m to make a film (that looks like it cost $40), then I’m a shoe in to get funding.

This film is a great illustration when teaching people about bad films because there are so many specific examples that can be highlighted.  Let’s start with the most noticeable aspect of a movie - the performances.  I dislike actors who talk with unrealistic precision - each line is too perfect.  Justin Chambers is D’Artagnan and his seriousness is laughable.  Mena Suvari is his romantic conquest, Francesca, and talks like a pompous ice queen.  Stephen Rea and Tim Roth are the villains.  Why do bad guys always have to be so over the top?  Do they think we can’t understand that they are the bad guys?

Now for some simple lessons in direction.  The Musketeer features many stunts and sword fighting duels.  These scenes are very weak and have tried to be concealed by over editing.  It’s all edited so quickly, that you can’t understand what’s going on.  A perfect example is the bizarre finale where D’Artagnan and his enemy, Febre (Roth), fight in a “barn” on top of moving ladders.  The idea is stupid and it looks even stupider on screen.

What about sound effects?  This really pissed me off.  The same repetitive metallic sounds are used during all the sword fighting battles to signify the sound of metal hitting metal.  Why is it then that the same sound is heard when metal hits concrete or when metal hits wood?  Give me a break.

Time now for some general negative comments.  The opening credits stink and look like they belong in a Hallmark telemovie.  Opening credits of recent years have been very creative which the credits of The Musketeer even more surprising.  The music is hopelessly over-the-top.  A good film score should complement the film and not distract the audience but composer David Arnold seems to have accomplished the later.

It seems I’ve forgotten to mention the plot.  Don’t worry, there isn’t one anyway.  A few musketeers save the day, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Boy, what creativity in choosing the musketeers to make a movie about.  About how many times has it been done before?  If you check the Internet Movie Database, the word “musketeer” appears in the title of 78 different films.  Certainly a big gamble by Miramax and Universal Pictures (please note sarcasm).

Thanks for paying attention during my informative lesson.  For those interested in making a film of their own, this should provide a few helpful tips to win over both audiences and critics.  Class dismissed.