Classic tales of brotherhood, battles, swords and excitement appeal to Hollywood producers as much as they do to readers.
The Three Musketeers, written by French writer Alexandre Dumas, has already seen more than 20 film adaptations. The latest version came to China on May 15.
If you are one of those who likes old world adventure–Pirates of the Caribbean style–no lasers, no scientific mumbo jumbo, no transforming monster trucks morphing into robots, just good old-school sword fencing, antique revolvers and gunpowder–then The Three Musketeers is a perfectly good movie.
The new version has nothing new to offer in the story line –but it’s the first 3-D version of the tale. And in 3-D, it is an absolute delight.
“Director Paul W.S. Anderson has done a remarkable job mixing the film’s action sequences with 3-D technology, which saves the day,” writes a review by The Guardian.
“He also accurately captures both the rolling greenery of 17th-century France and the spirit of playful adventure that made the novel so enduring.”
Terrence Rafferty of The New York Times holds that Dumas’ “instinctive irreverence” toward power may be the most important reason for his lasting appeal.
Rafferty believes that Dumas’ secret lay in turning the big political powers like the king and the queen into minor roles. They become “characters whose function is simply to provide opportunities for spectacular displays of bravery, loyalty and mother wit” on the part of the musketeers and D’Artagnan.
According to Rafferty, the key to the novel’s appeal is that it is a story of brotherhood. “Dumas’ historical novels always wind up saying that everything that matters–love, courage, pleasure and, especially, all-for-one-and-one-for-all friendship–exists most vividly not in the supposed centers of power, but elsewhere: in the margins of history, where the musketeers live,” he writes.