Musketeer, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: +1/2

Alexandre Dumas wrote a tale of heroic adventures, political intrigue and romance wrapped around historical figures and events in his French homeland, he called it THE THREE MUSKETEERS. The rousing action and camaraderie of its heroes inspired film makers to retell the story many times and stay reasonably true to the source novel. Like the Disney version in 1993, this latest attempt throws out both history and the original novel, while adding Chinese martial arts choreography to the French swordfights. At least in the Disney version, everyone seemed to be having fun. THE MUSKETEER treats the story with less levity. Collecting taxes for Cardinal Richelieu (Stephen Rea), former Musketeer Febre (Tim Roth) loses an eye to young DArtagnan after killing his parents. Years later, DArtagnan (Justin Chambers) seeks to follow in his fathers footsteps and join the Kings Musketeers. But he finds the elite group disbanded and their leader in prison after being framed by Febre. With slight help from Porthos (Stephen Spiers) and Aramis (Nick Moran), the young swordsman frees the Musketeer leader and sets out to right the wrong. As Richelieu maneuvers to steal power from the King, Febre kidnaps the Queen (Catherine Deneuve) and DArtagnans new love Francesca (Mena Suvari). DArtagnan must rescue the women and stop Febre with, or without, the help of his fellow Musketeers. This version seems to be more for one than one for all and despite the CROUCHING TIGER type battles will likely lose its swashbuckle early.

The accent is on action in this version with frequent swordfights, chases and escapes. But little of the violence is graphic or gory. Although Febre killed his parents, D’Artagnan seeks to become a musketeer like his father and later says he needed a higher purpose than simple revenge. Incestual desire is implied as Francesca’s father secretly watches her bathe and she later threatens castration if he touches her. Although nothing is shown, Francesa’s reaction when she wakes D’Artagnan for help implies his state of undress. There’s also a dinner scene where a woman asks D’Artagnan suggestive questions about his ‘sword.’ Despite his position as head of the Catholic Church in France, Cardinal Richelieu seeks political power, claiming the king is weak, and condones murder as a means to that end. But little is made of the relationship between the queen and the Prime Minister of England. This story deals more with D’Artagnan saving the kidnapped queen from a murderous madman than saving her reputation. 1973’s film version directed by Richard Lester stayed true to Dumas’ novel and captured the political aspects, action and humor in the story much better. Some sexually suggestive material along with frequent violence makes THE MUSKATEER an extremely questionable choice, especially for young teens.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Universal Pictures; 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Once - Mild

Obscene Language: Once - Other

Profanity: None

Violence: Many times - Moderate (swordfights, cuts, stabbings, shootings, explosions, hits, man on fire, hit on head, child threatened w/knife, cannon blasts, sword stuck through two men)

Sex: Implied once (woman re-tying blouse while man swims)

Nudity: Near nudity - Few times (obscured view of woman in bath, man's nudity implied by woman's look)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times (comments about woman knowing many men, man spies on bathing woman, woman asks about mans sword, comments imply mans desire for incest, men comment about waiting for another while hes with a woman)

Drugs: Many times (alcohol drinking and drunken behavior)

Other: Man wants to follow in fathers career, church leader shown desiring political power/ condoning murder, large roaches crawl on man, joke about crocodile living in sewers, comment about needing higher purpose than hate/ revenge, man gives reward to his teacher

Running Time: 110 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and adults

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