The Three Musketeers

  • Title:  The Three Musketeers
  • Director:  Stephen Herek
  • Date:  1993
  • Studio:  Walt Disney Pictures
  • Genre:  Adventure
  • Cast:  Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O’Donnell, Oliver Platt, Tim Curry, Rebecca De Mornay, Gabrielle Anwar, Paul McGann
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen
  • DVD Format:  NTSC, Region 1

“You go back, and you tell the Cardinal, we will continue to perform our sworn duty, which is to protect the King, and we will use every means in our power to fight him.” – Athos

“A remarkable woman – the most beautiful I’ve ever known, and the deadliest, which would explain my attraction.” – Cardinal Richelieu

“D’Artagnan, would you be so kind as to redistribute this wealth? [D’Artagnan looks confused] Throw the coins, man, people are hungry.” – Aramis

“This world is an uncertain realm filled with danger, honor undermined by the pursuit of power, freedom sacrificed when the weak are oppressed by the strong, but there are those who oppose these powerful forces, who dedicate their lives to truth, honor, and freedom. Those men are known as Musketeers.” – the King

Disney’s The Three Musketeers is a fun, adventurous, romp. Although there are lines here and there referring to the sorry state of the people of France, and the assassination of the previous King of France (the new King’s father), it’s not dwelt upon – at all. The result is this is a fun, light, frothy adventure film.

With the death of the previous King, and a very young new King on the throne of France, the evil Cardinal Richelieu is posed to take over France, and even aims to become King himself. Richelieu is played with considerable relish, and some chewing of scenery by Tim Curry, so you know it’s going to be fun. Richelieu’s opening move is to dismantle the Musketeers the King’s personal and private guard. Told of the disbanding of the Musketeers, the men ceremonially burn their blue tunics and turn in their swords.

Three Musketeers refuse to give in, however, and become outlaws.

Meanwhile, Chris O’Donnell plays an arrogant young man who is on his way to Paris to join the Musketeers like his father. He gets into a duel with Girard, who believes he wronged his sister. The duel is, however, swiftly broken up and the young man, D’Artagnan, heads to Paris. Upon arriving he find a man in the destroyed former HQ of the Musketeers. Assuming the HQ has merely been moved, he asks for the new location. D’Artagnan learns that the Musketeers have been disbanded. He manages to get Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, upset with him and ends up with appointments for duels with each of them – at 12:00, 1:00, and 2:00, respectively.

When he arrives, late, for his duel with Athos, he meets the other Musketeers as well. The three are surprised to learn D’Artagnan has arranged duels with them all. And D’Artagnan is shocked to learn the three men he’s agreed to fight are Musketeers. He finds no joy in killing a Musketeer. But there will be no killing – the Cardinal’s guards attack and the four men fight back. The Three Musketeers are surprised by the young D’Artagnan’s skill. They defeat the first group of the Cardinal’s guards, then another group attacks. Athos urges D’Artagnan to leave and go home.

D’Artagnan, doesn’t leave, gets separated from the group and is captured. But he frees himself from the dungeons and hears the Cardinal meet Mi Lady D’Winter – and hears their entire plan. Richelieu plans to betray France to England by signing a treaty with Lord Buckingham – his payment for this will be the throne of France. Mi Lady D’Winter will carry his terms, and the treaty to Calais. Somehow, though he hears the entire plan, D’Artagnan doesn’t see Mi Lady D’Winter, or forgets who she is when he meets her later.

The Three Musketeers rescue D’Artagnan from the chopping block – literally, and they escape in the Cardinal’s own coach. The four drink the Cardinal’s wine, eat his food, and give his coin to the poor as they leave Paris. D’Artagnan tells the Musketeers of Richelieu’s plot – and the Musketeers realize that if they can stop the spy and get the treaty, they will be able to prove Richelieu’s a traitor, as well as saving France. Unfortunately, the Cardinal knows that D’Artagnan knows about his plot – he orders a 1000 gold coin bounty on the heads of him and the Musketeers. This makes getting to Calais difficult.

To make their travel less obvious, and to double the chances of finding the spy – the four split into two groups. Athos and D’Artagnan are attacked by bounty hunters. D’Artagnan offers to stay with Athos (until the bitter end, because they are outnumbered by men with guns, or at least, muskets), but Athos orders him to go on to Calais, knowing that finding the spy, stopping Richelieu and rescuing the King are more important than a single Musketeer’s life.

D’Artagnan takes the surviving horse and heads off but eventually falls asleep and falls off his horse. He’s picked up by a woman in a carriage – a woman he doesn’t recognize. She’s Mi Lady D’Winter. They go to the ship for her meeting with Buckingham. But Porthos and Aramis have reached the ship first, and have knocked out or killed the crew. The Musketeers end-up with the treaty, and D’Artagnan is again, rescued. Mi Lady D’Winter turns out to be Sabine – Athos wife, whom he kicked out and thought dead. Athos had regretted his decision to kick out his wife (he thought her an enemy of France and a murderer, she professed her innocence, he exiled her anyway.)

The next morning she’s to be executed. Athos had tried to get her to tell him the rest of Richelieu’s plan, but she refuses. At the execution, Athos stops the ax-man. Sabine reveals that Richelieu plans to have the King assassinated at his birthday celebration, that Friday. She forgives Athos for not believing in her all those years ago, then kills herself by jumping off a cliff.

The Musketeers and D’Artagnan rush to Paris, leaving “All for one and One for All” markers everywhere in their wake. At the birthday celebration, the four try, desperately, to find the assassin. He gets a shot off, misses, and the plaza fills with Cardinal’s guards and Musketeers. D’Artagnan, meanwhile fights the assassin on a nearby rooftop. The battle moves inside as Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D’Artagnan, try to find and rescue the King and Queen from the Cardinal. They succeed, the Cardinal is captured, and the King admits D’Artgnan into the Musketeers.

Again, this is fun, light, adventure film. There’s no serious violence. No one gets killed. The good guys win and the bad guys lose. In the middle there’s lots, and lots, of sword-fighting to enjoy – as well as chases. The film’s score is excellent, and the cast is good – if a bit young. The filming is gorgeous – and especially the greens just pop off the screen. The whole film has a very storybook quality to it. It’s highly enjoyable, and not too deep. I recommend this, especially for families.

Recommendation:  See it!
Rating:  Four Stars
Next Film:  Thunderbirds

The Librarian Return to King Solomon’s Mines

  • The Librarian Return to King Solomon’s Mines
  • Director:  Jonathan Frakes
  • Date:  2006
  • Studio:  TNT (TV Movie)
  • Genre:  Action, Adventure
  • Cast:  Noah Wyle, Gabrielle Anwar, Bob Newhart, Jane Curtin, Olympia Dukakis
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen (HD)
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

“Flynn, I trust you, we send you on missions alone.  It’s just you have a lot to learn.”  – Judson

“Sometimes, you have to give up what you want for the greater good.  You see that’s the difference between a good librarian and a great one.” – Judson

“Be safe.  Don’t get killed.  Save your receipts.” – Charlene

“You’d be surprised what you can learn at the Library.”  – Flynn

This film starts with Flynn Carson on a quest to retrieve the Crystal Skull of Atlantis.  He manages to grab it from some pot hunters, but before he can sneak away, he’s distracted by finding a Sioux arrow head, which would be unusual to find in Utah.  In attempting to retrieve it also, he catches the attention of the pot hunters.  They give chase to Flynn and his Native American companion.  The two run away, and eventually reach a high gorge.  Flynn and his partner jump their horses into the gorge and land in a rushing river.  Flynn’s companion is shocked he knew there would be a deep river at the base of the gorge.  Flynn gives him an explanation about average rainfall – only to have his companion tell him he had the month wrong.  Flynn’s blasé response is, “huh, we should have been flattened like pancakes.”

Back at The Library, Flynn’s expecting congratulations for finding the Crystal Skull.  And although Judson is happy about it, he still reins Flynn in for taking too many risks.

That night Flynn heads to his mother’s, only to walk in on his own surprise party.  His mother tries to set him up on a blind date with his third cousin.  Flynn is not amused.  The evening turns out to not be a total loss though when he runs into his “Uncle” Jerry, his father’s best friend, who works in “Import/Export”. Jerry gives Flynn his father’s amulet.  Flynn’s birthday is somewhat bittersweet, Flynn’s father died when he was thirty-two and Flynn was eight.  Now Flynn is thirty-two.  When Flynn gets home to his apartment he finds it’s been trashed.  He calls Judson, but is knocked out before he can tell him much of anything.

Judson sends him on a quest for the two-part Key of Solomon a map Legend to decode the Map of Solomon to King Solomon’s Mines, but warns Flynn that sometimes a Librarian must give up what he most wants – for the greater good.

In Casablanca, Flynn meets Emily Davenport (Anwar) an archeologist with twenty-five degrees who’s possibly smarter than he is.  Together they set out on the quest.

Flynn is attacked, but when he sees the Mason Symbol amulet Flynn wears that was his father’s, the man backs off, shows his own amulet, and explains he’s part of a Secret Society of Masons protecting King Solomon’s Secret and that the “secret must be passed”.  Flynn gets the first part of the Legend, and the guy tells Flynn the second part is in Kenya.

In Africa, Flynn and Emily find a man buried in the sand up to his neck.  They rescue him and Jomo becomes their guide.  Flynn tells Emily that his father was mugged coming home from work, and the “coward” shot him.  According to Flynn, they never caught the guy.  So, Flynn’s father was shot dead when Flynn was 8-years old, by a mugger.  Does that sound familiar?

The scenery in Africa is beautiful.  Because the second film really emphases Flynn’s background, especially his loss of his father, the story has more heart, and less comedy than the previous film.  Flynn is also experienced and professional, and no longer bumbling in his role as the Librarian.

Flynn and Emily find the second piece of the Map Legend, and run into Flynn’s Uncle Jerry who helps them. Jerry explains to Flynn that the reason he has his father’s amulet, is that his father got it from his father, who got it from his father before that.  Flynn responds, “The secret shall be passed.”

Flynn and Emily examine the map and the two pieces of the legend.  Flynn realizes the map is sheet music. He plays the music on one piece of the map legend, and the map becomes a 3-D map showing them how to get to the mines.  Flynn and Emily leave the train, and Uncle Jerry, who goes his own way. Once again, Flynn and Emily are off on an adventure, in search of  the Mines.

As they follow the map, Flynn realizes that the pictures he drew as a child, based on his father’s bedtime stories, are actually places they will find while searching for King Solomon’s Mines.  Flynn realizes with some astonishment, that his father was preparing him for this quest his entire life.

Eventually, they reach the ante-chamber to the Mines, Flynn and Emily have to cross a stone bridge over a river of  lava.  They do, and Flynn discovers his father’s amulet is literally a key to the treasure chamber. Inside, Flynn opens the web-covered book, which sits on a plinth in a shaft of light.  Emily distracts Flynn before the weird stuff the book is doing to Flynn completes.

The concluding scenes are quite good, and I don’t want to spoil them.

This chapter in The Librarian series isn’t as funny as the first – it’s definitely more adventure than comedy. However, the story, by emphasizing Flynn’s relationship with his father, and that history, has more heart. The conclusion is wrapped around the relationship between Flynn, his father, Jerry, and Flynn’s mother, so it works well.  Flynn is no longer the bumbling professional student.  He is now an experienced Librarian and adventurer.  Emily is impressive, an archaeologist with twenty-five degrees, she’s smarter than Flynn but knows nothing about The Library.  And, The Library is only seen at the beginning and very end of the film.  Once the quest is over, Flynn does go back to the Library, having learned about his own personal history, as well as having first-hand experience as to exactly what Judson meant by, “Sometimes, you have to give up what you want for the greater good,” and has progressed in his career as the Librarian.  Emily goes off on another dig, continuing her own personal quest to discover more about the Queen of Sheba.

The Librarian Return to King Solomon’s Mines is still a good, light adventure film.  Although it doesn’t have the strong comedy elements of  The Librarian Quest for the Spear, it makes up for it by having more heart, and delving deeper into the character of Flynn Carson, Librarian.  There are references to the Indiana Jones films, especially Last Crusade, but also references to Batman and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It’s quite the enjoyable film.

  • Recommendation:  See it!  This film is especially appropriate for children and pre-teens.
  • Rating:  3.5 of 5
  • Next Film:  The Librarian  Curse of the Judas Chalice