Sunday, 11 September 2011

Unnecessary changes, or Pierre, the Lost Musketeer

As I said in a recent post, the 1970's version of the Three Musketeers was the only good filmatisation that we've seen of Alexandre Dumas' legendary novel. Some of the others have been decent tries, such as the Disney remake in early 1990s, but it failed by making Milady much too likable and one expected Athos to ride away with her at the end.

There are many other versions around as well, but one has to wonder at one of the key mistakes that they all do: they get further and further away from the original, which was truly a hilarious and entertaining novel with lots of adventure and drama. There's no need to change the story to make it better. But still the scriptwriters and movie producers keep on making new versions, all starring d'Artagnan and the three musketeers: Athos, Porthos and Aramis. The problem being that these are just names thrown at the characters and they rarely have anything to do with the originals.

The latest incarnation, coming out this year, is directed by Paul Anderson (insert a great disturbance in the Force here) and will update the movie to the 3D (add another disturbance). But the changes to the story will not end here. They also seem to move the story to the early steampunk era and you will be 'treated' with, for example, airships. No need to say that this will be a perfect example of just throwing in familiar names to make the story more 'appealing' to the crowds.

There was actually an entire company of "King's Musketeers"* in service in the early 17th century. A total of 150 of them, in fact, which was the official company strength in France at the time. That's a lot of Musketeers. If you are going to make a movie that has nothing to do with Dumas' book, why cannot you pick one of the other Musketeers as heroes? Like Pierre? He's never had a chance in the spotlight!

*) I have to make a note here to say that there were naturally a lot of musketeers in the French army, thousands of them, in fact. But King's Musketeers was a special company serving the king directly, as his personal guard. The other musketeer companies served the army in regular service.