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The Musketeers (2014)


When it comes to swashbuckling adventures, I’m not sure modern cinema has anything better than Disney’s original Pirates of the Caribbean film starring Johnny Depp. Clearly, the British thought it’d be fun to challenge that. 

17th century France doesn’t have much law leaving the people to find justice for themselves. This is where young D’Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino) finds himself when, after long travel to petition the king in Paris, the inn he and his father are stopping at is ambushed by a troupe of the King’s Musketeers, and the cost of their stop is the life of D’Artagnan’s father. Having only the name of his father’s killer to go on, D’Artagntan sets off to avenge his loss in Paris where he calls out his father’s murderer Athos (Tom Burke), a Musketeer. Only trouble is, after a dual, D’Artagnan is convinced by Athos – and his fellow comrades, Porthos (Howard Charles) and Aramis (Santiago Cabrera), that he was not the man who killed his father. Instead the Musketeers are being implicated in lootings and murders around the country. Something they aim to put a stop to.


Under the leadership of Captain Treville (Hugo Speer), the Musketeers are locked in an endless battle with the Red Guard whose leader is the Cardinal (Peter Capaldi) – and the one man whose ear the king seems most lost without. With such a young ruler at the throne, King Louis (Ryan Gage) is less than confident in his decisions which makes him trusting of the Cardinal… and leaves the Musketeers more vulnerable from the support of their king.

I haven’t had THIS much fun with a British (BBC) series in I don’t know how long. Once upon a time the first season of Robin Hood held that title, though with its dark latter series, the now-cancelled show lost something in the shuffle and in its place has stepped this Dumas classic, and if this “first series” is anything to go by, it’s going to be a ride full of grand fun. The approach to this story (for this story) is a unique one. Where we’ve only seen the story done in 2 hours, this 10-part series takes individual stories to wrap in an hour with exception to one or two minor plot lines that do run over, mainly each script finishes itself in the installment. To be honest, I loved this approach. It offers more opportunities to come up against new enemies (enemies that can be and are defeated instead of wearing out their welcome) and allows for some fun guest appearances (like Zoe Tapper, Mr. Selfridge). This is something the scriptwriter’s have fun with until the finale when, much as we want to be giggling over the dashing heroes antics, our hearts are a teeny bit disappointed for their misfortunes.

A
s I sit here typing this over two hours after finishing what has been a long series (because, silly me, I’ve taken forever to finish it – only question for myself is, what is wrong with me??), I’m still smiling. In a nutshell, this is a fantastic replacement for some of BBC’s lighter series that were based on classics as well. Ironically all three of their more “family-friendly” series (Robin Hood, Merlin and now, The Musketeers) are adapted from favorite legends though looking at the track record of the prior two, I’d be lying if I said that there isn’t some skepticism about how this series will shake out. But enough of that, let’s get to the good. First off, the cast. Seriously, how does anyone resist this ensemble? Everyone is dynamic together and the camaraderie that forms because of that is fantastic. I enjoyed everything about the scenes between the four guys and the women who steal their hearts – or in most cases, the men do the stealing with their scandalous reasons for cozying up to the ladies. *wink* Fans of Merlin will appreciate (or maybe even swoon over) seeing Santiago again and the rest of the cast are more newcomers than not, although Doctor Who fans get a preview of Peter Capaldi’s skills in a villainous role, no less. Next, I feel compelled to discuss the costuming which in and of itself is really a character of its own. I’m never sure how to describe the costuming in these “adventure” pieces because it’s really not true to the time period yet retains the general style of its period. This design has a steampunk look to it and isn’t afraid to use harsh statement pieces depending on the wearer and is often more than a little risqué. 

Quoted as being a “contemporary version” of the Dumas classic albeit set in 17th century France, this series definitely has a mind of its own and I admire that. The writer’s took a new look at the legend and in my mind, came out with some diverse perspectives and new ways of looking at what could have been a tiresome jaunt. Some of the twists I’d never seen done before in prior film adaptations and some are similar, which helps in keeping us familiarized to the story we know. When I finished these 10 installments, I was immediately wishing for more, and luckily, there is a season two order. Something that cannot arrive soon enough at my house – The Musketeers is fun, sometimes bittersweet and always willing to invite us on an adventure. There are new kids on the scene. Watch out Captain Jack Sparrow. 

(Content: there are a 5-8 bedroom scenes with sheets always appropriately placed and the couple in various state of undress [the series has a man sleeping with another’s mistress and later a one-night stand with a married woman]. D’Artanan starts up with a married woman [we see them passionately making out before the scene cuts away]. There is plenty of swordplay though if I remember right, nothing ever gets too graphic even when the result is death. Men are murdered at the pleasure of the Cardinal and others are imprisoned. There are flashbacks to a woman being hanged. The series is rated TV12.)
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10 comments:

  1. How do you get all these, Rissi?? I keep adding more BBC and Hallmark series/movies to my list, but I need a better list. Lol! I love The Three Musketeers, so I would probably really enjoy this. :)

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    1. I saw this via the U.K. DVD set since I have the ability to watch region 2; British drama is one of my weaknesses, so I confess to being impatient when it comes to getting my hands on their new stuff. ;)

      Yay for Three Musketeer fun! I always enjoy the film adaptations and this one was particularly fun, especially since it was done in installments. Hope you enjoy if/when you see it - I do know this is airing on BBC America now.

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  2. Remember how I said my sisters didn't want to watch it but I was going to make them? Well, I did but they made me stop the first episode after 15 minutes. Ugh! I will definitely give this series a fair shake when I have a little time. I was a fan of Robin Hood also (not the second season as much) but this is looking like it has more potential. Great review, Rissi!

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    1. Oh, noes! I'm so sorry it didn't catch for you ladies. I wasn't a fangirl in the early episodes either, I liked it, but didn't gush over it, though I sort of fell away from it for a while, then when I came back, there was the determining episode (or something ;D) because now I'm eager for S2. It's just one of those shows that's easy to watch and a nice, "fluffy" piece of summer fun. :)

      Robin Hood was a ton of fun! Especially (as you say), the first season. In the end, I didn't mind how it closed (which is very much against my usual strictly-happy-ending-girl policy, but something just "clicked"), though like Merlin, all of these writers seem to life bringing in the sorrow at the conclusions.

      Hope if ever you try it again, it makes a better impression, Bekah. :)

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    2. I watched the full first episode today by myself and I liked it a lot!! Will definitely keep watching...especially since now I'm curious about your determining episode. ;)

      Oo...I still haven't finished Robin Hood but I read the ending (bad...I know) so I didn't feel like finishing it! I will have to revisit it sometime, though. :)

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    3. Yay! That's awesome, Bekah - hope you continue to enjoy it whenever you have a chance to see more; I'm still in a "happy place" with this one. ;)

      Oh, my apologies if my commenting about Robin Hood spoiled anything. (Not bad at all that you read the ending - I'm a spoiler crazy TV watcher.) It was sad, albeit "appropriate" in terms of how the writer's set it up. I didn't like it just because S1 had been so happy-go-lucky and after the sorrows of S2, I wanted S3 to return to that. But, I'm still glad I finished the series, plus I liked seeing "Anna" from Downton Abbey in it. :)

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  3. I'm loving The Musketeers. I watched last weeks, last night. I think it was the best one yet! I love the settings, the costumes, and the cast is great. They really capture the characters. And I have to say, Peter Capaladi does well as the Cardinal. He has moments of being bad, then he turns it around and he is helpful. He plays it well. Fantastic BBC show.

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    1. Ditto on all accounts, Kate! I agree. It was refreshing to see this legend done a bit "differently," and I like that you mentioned the Cardinal's character. He's not as "evil" (yet) in this role as most have played it and that's been a cool switch. Wonder if he'll be back for a S2?? Hmmm...

      Thanks for commenting. :)

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  4. I've been meaning to check out this series! I've putting it off because I haven't been having much luck with BBC series as of late. My favorite BBC series still is, Robin Hood. (Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne.....yes please!!) So I may have to start DVRing Three Musketeers.

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    1. I still have fond memories of watching Robin Hood, Alyssa and liked Guy's characterization over the three seasons. One of these days, I need to re-watch it because despite its ending, I didn't hate it. Hope if you ever watch this, you'll enjoy the series - I thought it was fun in spite of my halfhearted thoughts in the beginning. :)

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