What I Watched Last Night: The Four Musketeers (2005)

We all have certain types of stories we like to see every movie version of, right? As of right now, my thing is to watch different versions of Alexandre Dumas père’s The Three Musketeers, of which there are countless film versions. Netflix has a whole slew of them, some of which are available on Instant, but this one, starring Emmanuelle Béart as Lady de Winter and Vincent Elbaz, was on DVD. The title in English is The Four Musketeers, but the original French one was D’Artagnan et les trois mosquetaires.

This particular DVD version was dubbed to English from French, and very badly at that. There was no option for French on the DVD, so while the voice actors were reciting the lines in English, I could so see what the actors might have been saying in French, and it drove me absolutely crazy.

The movie basically followed the original plot of Dumas’s story, with a bit of a supernatural twist thrown in: Lady de Winter had super powers because she had sold her soul to the devil. In this film, young d’Artagnan witnesses Athos, then the Comte de la Fère, sentence his wife, then Anne du Breuil, to death by hanging and carry out the sentence himself. After Athos leaves, believing that his wife is dead, the skies darken and a storm blows in out of nowhere, and lo and behold, Milady is resurrected from the dead SUPERNATURALLY. This part doesn’t make sense because d’Artagnan was from Gascony and Athos from southwest France, but whatever, right? There has to be a plausible explanation for it!

4 Musketeers DVD Cover
The DVD cover. Image via

So years later, when d’Artagnan journeys to Paris to join the musketeers, Milady is working for Cardinal Richelieu and also the devil. So while ostensibly carrying out the cardinal’s plans to undermine Louis XIII, she’s really furthering the cause of her real lord and master. And did I mention that she has mad fighting skills that are even superior to Buffy’s? It’s like she trained with Morpheus and was using those Matrix moves!

This film came out when Twilight and other retellings of classic tales with a supernatural twist were insanely popular. While the premise was good, the story basically imploded on itself. And they never answer the question of why the fuck Athos was all the way in Gascony to carry out Milady’s death sentence when he could have done so on his own lands. Maybe I’m overthinking that, but there were all sorts of tiny plot holes that were never resolved, and Dumas usually very neatly ties up his endings. So really, don’t watch this unless you can find the original French version and need something to snark on and are majorly jonesing for some dress porn.


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