All for one and one for all!
Running Time: 105 minutes
UK Certificate: PG
Country: Austria, United Kingdom, United States
The puffy shirts, the feathered hats, the presumably bad breath it can only be one story: The Three Musketeers! Weve seen them plenty of times on screen before, of course, in the likes of Richard Lesters swashbuckling-good 1973 effort, the 1921 version starring Douglas Fairbanks, and – a personal favourite of mine – the pooch-based cartoon series Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds (anyone else remember the cracking theme tune?).
This Disneyfied up-date doesnt star any dogs in the lead roles (mores the pity), but it does add a new dimension of its own boredom. In fairness, it starts fairly well. Were introduced to a young DArtagnan (Chris ODonnell), all sky-high confidence and crappy hair, as he upsets a bunch of French dandies before making for Paris to fulfil his dream of protecting King Louis (no, not the orang-utan) as a Musketeer. And believe me, when you see the king youll realise just how much he needs it played by Hugh OConnor as a complete and utter pansy, hes more than a little reminiscent of Hugh Laurie as Prince George in Blackadder the Third.
The trouble is, when our fresh-faced perm-headed hero reaches the capital, he finds the Musketeers have been disbanded and only three rebels in the form of a sorely mis-cast Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland and Oliver Platt(!) remain. Together, the four of them gang up against the evil and power-hungry Cardinal Richelieu (a camp-as-ever Tim Curry), who seems intent on putting the Gay into Gay Paree. Ooh, pardon!
The story stutters rather than surges to its conclusion, the dialogue stinks to high heaven, and the casting department got practically every decision wrong (Curry makes a destitute mans equivalent of Alan Rickmans brilliant Sheriff in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Platt is ridiculously overweight, and ODonnell is consistently rubbish). Aside from a couple of semi-decent sword-fights, director Steven Herek (who also helmed the Young MacGuyver TV series which Ive never seen, but sounds fantastic) delivers a major let-down.
It's Got: Michael Wincott, as the Cardinals snivelling henchman Rochefort, reprising his previous stint as Guy of Gisborne in all but name.
It Needs: To replace the Bryan Adams/Rod Stewart/Sting soft rock power ballad theme tune with the vastly-superior barking hounds from the end credits of Dogtanian.
DVD Extras This DVD is absolutely terrible not only are there no extras, but you have to turn it over halfway through! Thats right folks, its all of our worst nightmares coming true at once: a disc that actually forces you to get up from the sofa!! Thankfully, couch-lovers, a new edition is due for release in September this year (2004), along with a new lenient cleavage-and-violence-friendly U certificate. Phew! DVD Extras Rating: 0/10
Alternatives:Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Three Musketeers (any of the numerous other versions)
Bring back Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds!! Now.