The Three Musketeers (1993) — But aren’t there four?

“Oh don’t be so stupid, of course we intend to resist! Just give us a moment, all right?”

Justin’s rating: All for one, and that one is pretty darn lucky

Justin’s review: While I have loved movies my whole life, I am perhaps most fond of the period from 1991 to 1994. This was when I was in high school, I worked at a video rental store, and I had the freedom on the weekends to drive to movie theaters to see as many flicks as I wanted. And to my memory, the early ’90s was packed with crowd-pleasing stories, all jostling for my attention. And while some of the action-adventure movies of the time might seem tame to our insanely edited CGI landscape, I still have a very soft spot in my heart for them.

So while I’ll never be branded cool by saying something like, “I think 1993’s Three Muskateers is a corking good time,” I’ll still say it and stick by it. It may even be true. I kind of lump it in my head with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and other period-lite fantasy epics, even though this is a very tame PG from Disney that doesn’t have a spot of blood in it. So how could anyone champion a PG-rated Disney flick without wire-fu combat or multiverses?

Watch me. Watch and learn.

First of all, the tale of the Three Musketeers — a group of disbanded, dishonored, yet fiercely loyal guards of the King of France — is one that has captured imaginations for generations now. These guys are so outnumbered, outgunned, and (to put it into modern parlance) slapped around by the cancel culture of the time that everyone assumes they’ll fade away. Instead, you’ve got to admire their pluck and virtue as they refuse to let something like a pink slip let them stop doing their duty. There’s a conspiracy against the king, double-crosses, and all that, and it’s just great fun.

Second, The Three Musketeers is a great blend of comedy, action, and adventure. You get those three elements balanced right, and your audience is in for a good time. It used to be much more of a standard of filmmaking than it is nowadays, where bleak grimdark reimaginings are more en vogue. Even though this is a bloodless romp, it’s still a wildly entertaining romp from start to finish. It also helps that I can show it to the whole family (which is something else I can’t say about Disney flicks these days, alas).

And third, this film simply kills it in the casting. The titular Musketeers are played by Kiefer Sutherland (the serious one), Oliver Platt (the fat jokester), and Charlie Sheen (the guy so coked out of his mind he’s not sure if he’s on the set for this or Hot Shots Part Deux). They’re pitted against the villain’s gallery: ’90s femme fatale Rebecca De Mornay, eternal bad guy Michael Wincott (Robin Hood, The Crow), and TIM EVER-LOVIN’ CURRY as the sinister Cardinal. Guys, any time that Tim Curry is tapped to play the movie’s bad guy, you show up, no questions asked. You will not be disappointed.

But if I did have to admit to some disappointment, it’s the inclusion of Chris O’Donnell as the wanna-be Musketeer D’Artagnan. The ’90s was trying to push Chris O’Donnell on us a lot as a sidekick character — see Batman and Robin, or actually DON’T see it — and nobody was having it. Every generation of movies has these actors that are shoved into films to be the teenage girl bait, and everyone outside of that demographic never seems to like their inclusion. Here, he plays a character that keeps trying to enter the cool kids club, and you just want him to go away.

This sword-weaving trio have been featured many times before and since, but I’m going to stick with the 1993 version as my favorite outing of these French heroes.

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