Movies releasing today: incompetent spies and competent swordsmen

Just 2 noteworthy new releases hit South African cinemas today, but both make up for the lack of silly escapism the past few weeks have offered moviegoers.

The Three Musketeers
Apparently the world needs yet another film adaptation of the classic 17th Century swashbuckling adventure from Alexandre Dumas. Then again, I suppose it has been almost 20 years since the Disney movie starring Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland and Chris O'Donnell, and 13 years since we got to revisit the characters in The Man in the Iron Mask. Oh, yeah, and there was this thing in 2001. Anyway, the big draw card this time is that A) the film has been shot in 3D (i.e. it's not a limp post-production conversion) and the story has been given a steampunk slant. Uh-oh.

The Three Musketeers 2011 comes from Paul W. S. Anderson, the director of Resident Evil and assorted other brain dead video game movies. With his latest release it looks like the filmmaker has accepted the challenge of applying his trademark dumbness to classic literature. As the trailer reveals, our French heroes D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman,) Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Porthos (Ray Stevenson) must band together and defeat the deadly trio of Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz), the airship inventing Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) and deadly acrobatic assassin Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich). Yes, seriously.

Frankly I'm both shocked about the liberties taken with the source material, and very worried that impressionable young viewers will watch this adaptation and think it's an accurate take on Dumas's tale. Then again, I suppose it will make for some very entertaining book reviews from schoolkids too lazy to read the original text.

The Three Musketeers only opens in North America on 21 October. Still, early reviews that have filtered over from Europe have earned the film an aggregated review score of 20% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Ow. There are some who are calling the movie a lively throwback to crowd-pleasing, but very silly, matinee adventures. The majority of reviewers though have labelled The Three Musketeers pointless, stupid and completely devoid of fun.

Johnny English Reborn
Here's a comedy sequel you probably never expected. Rowan Atkinson is back, trying to get in on the Austin Powers and Get Smart spy comedy action by returning to his role as a bumbling British secret agent. There's really not much more to say about this spoof of the James Bond movies. Everything that you would expect is there, including the action scenes, gadgetry, colourful villains and sexy leading ladies... but of course all given a comical slant. As for the plot, Johnny English Reborn sees the spy trying to make up for several disastrous mission failures by stopping an assassination attempt on the Chinese prime minister. Gillian Anderson, Rosamund Pike and Dominic West co-star.

Although I don't normally watch this type of movie at the cinema, given its juvenile nature, I'm sure Johnny English Reborn will be this weekend's big winner at the South African box office. For the record, the film is currently 38% Fresh - a marginal improvement on its predecessor, which received a 33% Fresh rating.

Reviews convey the same sentiment: Johnny English Reborn is a rare sequel that tops the original. Apparently Atkinson goes all out to deliver the droll comedic goods, and the film makes for passable family viewing. However, as expected, critics keep referring to the film as pointless, puerile and predictable. And it's not worth anything more than a couple of giggles, if that.


Zigzig said…
I guess the reason why again a movie was made about ,,Three musketeers'' is that is classic and people will always want to watch a movie based on a classic book story.
never seen Johnny English, but I can say that Rowan Atkinson doesn't suit a spies role. I loved his acting in ,,Black Adder'' and ,,Mr. Been'', but in this movie his humor is just not the same anymore.
A Gamer's Wife said…
The Three Musketeers trailer totally annoys my husband, especially when Milla Jovovich starts doing crazy ninja moves in those giant, unwieldy dresses. Definitely will be passing on that one.
Zigzig said…
Milla Jovovich is an ukrainian, and I guess she like us Eastern European with temperament and can't stay calm even in movies.

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