Dorian's Movie Reviews

Is it worth seeing? Reviews are presented with no cynicism, no comparisons, no biased standards, no pretentiousness - every movie is reviewed on its individual entertainment value including technical presentation.  
Scale 1 - 5
The Musketeer
2001, Universal
Directed by Peter Hyams
Written by Gene Quintano

The Musketeers, staunch defenders of the King of France, are unaware that one of their own has fallen. That Musketeer's young son, D'Artagnan, witnessed both his parent's death at the hands of the Cardinal's military in a spat over taxes. The die is cast, D'Artagnan must follow in his father's footsteps and become a Musketeer.

But the Musketeers have fallen, disgraced by lack of something to do and outmaneuvered by the Cardinal's military. Unknown to them, the King, Queen, and the entire country are in peril. The Musketeers must undo the plans of the scheming Cardinal and his megalomaniac henchman, and save the King and Queen, that is if D'Artagnan can get the languid Musketeers to rally to the cause. As usual, romance with someone close to the Queen complicates things.

Swashbuckling adventure defines the day. This film is full of action that combines the saber fighting of the 17th. Century with the martial arts and wire styles popular in 2001. The ruthless villain Febre (Tim Roth) is superb and well pitted against the hero D'Artagnan (Justin Chambers). The acting in this movie is excellent, with additional fine performances by French star Catherine Deneuve as Queen of France, Mena Suvari as Francesca, and Stephen Rea as Cardinal Richelieu.

There is no finer resource to draw on than real history and a treasury of winning fictional movies, as is the Muskeeteer series. This story expands the fictional myth. But the addition of martial arts style combat to this period and geography is a bit jolting, even if it does make exciting action sequences.

The movie was a bit difficult to follow in places since the dialogue was overused to tell information about the character's plans. The action sequences have probably pushed the envelope as far as they can be pushed. While the cinematography caught the fight action, the action was over the top and lost sincerity. The action scenes were well choreographed and well performed, but they came off as staged and as doing stunts just for the sake of stunts. And there weren't enough closeup shots of the action to show the character's struggles. Zip, zip, it was over - the action was wasted - either the fault of the cinematographer, actor, director, or the editor. While the action dressed up the plot, there wasn't much new in the plot. These things hurt the movie. Otherwise, the sets were excellent, and Peter Hyams cinematography was very good, utilizing well the wonderful settings.

I give this one three spotlights out of a possible five for the great production design (sets), great acting, and great casting. It carries a PG-13 rating. Enjoy!

- Dorian


  • 5 Spotlights: The best of movie making, well worth seeing
  • 4 Spotlights: Good movie for the genre; may have minor technical or story problems but they hardly harm the enjoyment; clearly worth seeing; (most movies)
  • 3 Spotlights: Not bad, but has problems - worth seeing
  • 2 Spotlights: Caution - a "B" movie, probably will appeal only to some
  • 1 Spotlight: Caution - not recommended for any audience (will probably never be given)

Note: No half spotlights are given.

My reviews are not based much on my personal taste, or any standard besides entertainment value. I try to be as objective as possible, keeping in mind that entertainment value is very subjective and individualized. If I'm not interested in a movie I usually don't go see it, so it doesn't get reviewed. Each character, and each position in the production company might be highlighted if the contribution affected the enjoyment of the story as either outstanding or dismal and I noticed it, keeping in mind that many contributions are singularly distinguished by their seamless integration with the story, not calling attention to themselves and thereby escaping attention.

- Dorian Scott Cole

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