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What's in a name? More than you think
August 29, 2011 - Keith Frederick
Oh, Juliet, you sweet, naive girl.
The Bard's star-crossed lover was right in a sense; The one you love is more than just its name. But what if Juliet - pre-suicide, of course - had encountered a guy who had renamed himself Romeo Montague ...
...only he was a short, lazy, sad sack, instead of the dashing, romantic lothario she had fallen in love with? Wouldn't Jules be just a tad upset?
Well, that's something movie fans are all too familiar with. Hollywood routinely puts out films with famous titles - only for fans to discover that the film is nothing more than a completely different story with a famous name.
I've been caught in this web of deceit many times over the years. "I, Robot." "G.I. Joe." "Street Fighter." (Shudder) "Super Mario Bros." (Double shudder) "Catwoman." Luckily, I was warned ahead of time about the last two and wasted no money.
But I'm nearing the end of my rope with the latest name theft: Paul W.S. Anderson's "The Three Musketeers." Now, I like Anderson's "Resident Evil" films, and thought that "Alien Vs Predator" and "Death Race" were harmless fun, so I was excited about this adaptation of one of my favorite books of all time.
Then came the trailer:
A steampunk adaptation? OK, I can live with that.
Matthew Macfadyen and Ray Stevenson as Athos and Porthos? Cool!
Christoph Waltz as Richelieu? Awesome!
D'Artagnan looks like a 15-year-old girl? I guess he's supposed to be young, and it is France, so that's not too bad...
A super-ninja Milady played by Milla Jovovich? Um, alright, I guess it's a very loose adaptation, but I love Milla, so...
Orlando Bloom as the Duke of Buckingham, who seduced a queen and charmed his way into the power behind the throne of England? Wait.
Before my head exploded, I looked around the Internet for a plot description. Naturally, the studio is keeping it quiet, but I found an in-depth summary on Jovovich's official site. Some of the lines particularly caught my eye:
"When famed Musketeers Athos (Matthew Macfayden), Aramis (Luke Evans), and Porthos (Ray Stevenson) steal highly coveted project designs from a high-security vault, the sweet taste of success is short-lived. Their beautiful partner in crime, Milady (Milla Jovovich), drugs the trio and sells the designs to a higher bidder, the ultra-cool Englishman, Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). It's a major blow to the famed swordsmen."
Uhhh... huh? They're... thieves? And Milady is their buddy?
Wait, it got better.
"The conniving Cardinal Richelieu hatches a deadly plot to overthrow the young King Louis (Freddie Fox). Employing the doubly agent Milady to do the dirty work, he frames the King's new bride, Queen Anne (Juno Temple) in an affair with Buckingham. If the King buys into the lie, war with England will follow, the Queen will die and the people of France will demand a stronger leader-Richelieu himself-to see them through the crisis. If the King doesn't buy into the lie, peace may yet stand a chance. But for peace to ensue, the three Musketeers and their young apprentice must undertake their most dangerous mission ever - to retreive a priceless diamond necklace from the impregnable Tower of London and return it to the Queen in time for an all-important ball."
So, this film is ACTUALLY about a group of sword-fighting spies who steal something and get betrayed by a friend, get help from a young stranger, then must steal something AGAIN to prevent a world war? On airships?
As a good friend said, "If that's the movie they wanted to make, why did they call it 'The Three Musketeers'?"
Hollywood, I'm used to you lying to me. You're just not usually lying this bad.
D'Artagnan is a pretty young lady.