Tag Archives: musketeer media monday

Musketeers: The Next Generation [2004]

d'artagnan's excellent parenting skillsAnd now, the management would like to present the final essay in the Musketeer Media Monday series. Tune in on Wednesday for the final installment of Musketeer Space.

Musketeers: The Next Generation (2004)
[AKA: D’Artagnan is the Best Dad]

So I knew nothing going into this except that as with D’Artagnan’s Unsatisfactory Parenting Skills (1994), the made-for TV mini-series La Femme Musketeer (2004) promised to be a sequel to the Three Musketeers with a female protagonist, creaky old Musketeers who are too old for this shit, and Cardinal Mazarin as the new villain.

With Michael York as the elder D’Artagnan, I was cautiously optimistic…

In the first ten minutes, we learn that this D’Artagnan is happily co-parenting his talented swordsdaughter Valentine (Susie Amy) with his wife Cecile, he earns extra Dad points by allowing said daughter to cosplay as a highwayman attack him in random public duels.

The choreography is top notch and like almost everyone else filming historical European drama, they are using Croatia as a location. The music is somewhat loud and jangly, but mostly doesn’t get in the way of the story. The editing and pacing is quite jarring, but look, swords, never mind.

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D’Artagnan’s Unsatisfactory Parenting Skills (1994)

eloiseAs it turns out, there are so many Musketeer related movies that I ran out of Musketeer Media Mondays long before I ran out of DVDs – in particular, I didn’t get to many of the sequels, including the entire Man in the Iron Mask oeuvre and the 80’s sequel to Musketeers Crack Me Up Seventies Style and Musketeers Break My Heart Seventies Style featuring the original cast and creative team.

But before this epic project of mine rolls to a close, I wanted to give a bit of attention to the imaginary daughters of D’Artagnan.

As well as the ageing Musketeers, the book sequels focus on two ‘next generation’ kids, both male: the son of Milady, and the son of Athos. The girl in these stories is Louise de la Valliere, who isn’t related to anyone. Obviously that’s no fun at all, so several media adaptations (including, let us never forget, Barbie and the 3 Musketeers) provide D’Artagnan with a daughter to carry on his legacy.

On the whole I disapprove of Musketeer film sequels, as they seem largely an opportunity to kill off elderly versions of characters I adore, or show how miserable and lonely they’ve been since we saw them last. (Also they rarely provide what I actually want to see from next generation stories, which is Athos Being A Surprisingly Good Dad) Still, I remember loving La fille de D’Artagnan (D’Artagnan’s Daughter/The Revenge of the Musketeers, 1994) as a teenager, and I was hanging out for a bit of female-centred Musketeer action, so…

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Musketeers Brooding in Shirts (2015)

first-musketeer-adThere are three essential aspects to a good Musketeer story: friendship, swordplay, and attractive men in diaphanous shirts. The new web series “The First Musketeer” hits all three notes, though it is a little heavy on the atmosphere (and light on humour) for my own personal tastes.

The first series is 6 episodes, each somewhere around 9-13 minutes long, and three quarters of each episode is Athos brooding in a diaphanous shirt, which… is not a poorly chosen aspect of the story to focus on.

Athos is the First Musketeer of the title, and this prequel to the classic story sets up an origin for how he came to Paris and became friends with Aramis and Porthos. But mostly Porthos and some other blokes.

The first few episodes are very heavy on the gothic shadows and Byronic mournfulness, but I quite like this version of Athos even if the show feels like the set up for a vampire romance rather than a cheerful tale of bros with swords. This is one of the most ambitious web series I’ve seen, with location filming, special effects and proper fencing choreography. Some of the acting is a little of the ‘slightly stilted, I went to stage school’ variety, and the pacing is slooooow at times, but the whole piece hangs together well.

four musks

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Listening To Random Musketeers (2002)

marie-de-rohan-duchesse-de-5One of my favourite, more obscure characters from the original The Three Musketeers novel is Madame de Chevreuse – AKA Marie de Rohan AKA Mademoiselle Monbazon AKA the Duchesse de Chevreuse.

She’s the queen’s friend, the cardinal’s enemy, the Duke of Buckingham’s co-conspirator and romantic enabler and oh yes, she has romantic/sexual ties to two of the Three Musketeers. Fair enough that most movies don’t include her in the adaptation since Dumas never let her appear in person in the novel. But she’s SO IMPORTANT.

Ahem. My point is, she’s not commonly found in Musketeer adaptations. So imagine my surprise on relistening to Big Finish’s Doctor Who/Musketeer adventure, “The Church and the Crown,” to discover that this particular story features Chevreuse, but none of the actual named Musketeers from Dumas’ story.

It’s not an adaptation of The Three Musketeers at all, in other words, but a Doctor Who story set in the time period that inspired the book. The main historical characters from Real History™ – King Louis, Queen Anne of Austria, Madame de Chevreuse, the Duke of Buckingham and Cardinal Richelieu – are all in play, but even the real life Musketeers who supposedly inspired our boys: Auteville, Aramitz & Du Vallon, are absent.

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Dogtanian’s War on Moustaches (1981)

Dogtanian-the-Three-MuskehoundsDogtanian and the Three Muskehounds is a charming Japanese-Spanish co-produced animation series that aired from 1981 in various languages. I first came across it in England in the late 80’s where it was my original introduction to the Musketeer story.

And actually… it really could have been worse! This episodic serial is remarkably close to the tone and storyline of the original novel, the only difference being that the majority of the main cast are cartoon dogs.

Milady is, of course, a cat.

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K-Drama Musketeers Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (2014)

The-Three-MusketeersI will admit that I know very little about K-drama (Korean soaps?) except that they are apparently awesome and often terrible and possibly an acquired taste.

Many people feel the same way about The Three Musketeers, so I heard there was a K-drama adaptation from 2014 I knew I had to check it out.

Set in the Joseon dynasty during the reign of King Injo (1623-1649), I’m pretty sure the story takes about as many liberties with Korean history as Dumas did with French. Notably, one of our main characters is Crown Prince Sohyeon, who was apparently (possibly) murdered by his father for bringing western innovations to the country including science and Catholicism.

There’s also a narrative framing story about scholars arguing whether or not General Park Dal Hyang (our D’Artagnan) was a real historical person or not – which nicely acknowledges the original novel, where Dumas claims this whole thing is a genuine reflection of the historical shenanigans of the Comte de La Fere and his friends.

But let’s start at the beginning, with D’Artagnan Park Dal Hyang and his horse. His horse is unnamed but you know I’m gonna call her Buttercup.

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All the Musketeer Ladies (2015)

tamla maimieSo, last year I launched my Musketeer Media Monday series, writing happy snarky essays about Musketeer movies and other media properties (but mostly movies) and then the BBC TV series came out, and blew my mind.

Part of what I love about the BBC series is that it’s not a straight adaptation at all, nor does it try to be – it works with the spirit of the swashbuckling original text, and the essence of the characters, to create a wild alternate universe in which the historical French Court and the Wild West come together to make beautiful leather-clad babies.

That sounded less weird before I typed the actual words.

So now the second season is done, and I have so many feelings about it, but instead of doing an episode-by-episode breakdown like last time (which turned into THREE essays) I wanted to talk about the characters who were really the centrepiece of this particular season of television: Queen Anne, Constance Bonacieux and Milady De Winter.

You might have been watching a show about four handsome fellows in leather and three hats (D’Artagnan still doesn’t have a hat), but I was watching a show about interesting, complex women who will probably stab you.

You can read my previous BBC Musketeers reviews here:

Looks Good in Leather: BBC Musketeer Edition Part I (2014)
You Can Leave Your Hat On: BBC Musketeer Edition Part II (2014)
It’s Raining Musketeers: BBC Musketeer Edition Part III (2014)

This essay will completely spoil Season 1 & 2. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Watch it first if that stuff matters to your brain.

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Russian Musketeers Own my Soul (1979)

kinopoisk.ruSo we remember the crushing disappointment that I felt when the Gene Kelly version of The Three Musketeers turned out to not be a musical?

ALL HAIL THE RUSSIANS.

Enter D’Artanyan i tri Mushketyora (1979), a glorious three part mini-series, featuring all the satin shirts, lace collars and Musketeer shenanigans you could desire, along with an adorably cheesy musical score. THEY SING THEY DANCE.

I had so much fun watching this, I can’t even tell you. Musketeers singing their feelings out is now my favourite everything.

EPISODE ONE

D’Artanyan (Mikhail Boyarskiy) has no sooner arrived in Meung than he is treated to a song about how the Cardinal sees and spies on everything – when the Red Guard chases off the unpatriotic singers, D’Artanyan ends up fighting them.

Rochefort (Boris Klyuev), sadly sans the eyepatch though he does have a bright violet suit and a scar, insults D’Artanyan’s yellow horse, which leads to a splendid scuffle in a street full of sheep. Mikhail Boyarskiy reminds me very strongly of Gene Kelly’s take on the character, and the tone of the movie is very similar to that 1948 version.

As D’Artanyan lies bleeding in a haystack, we meet a sinister, Dolly Partonesque Milady (Margarita Terekhova) – seriously, she’s all blonde curls and black cowboy hat, if she doesn’t sing country-style I will be very disappointed.

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Bat’Magnan and the Mean Musketeers (2001)

themusketeerI wasn’t sure what to expect from The Musketeer (2001) but the title didn’t give me a lot of confidence – after all, while the number of Musketeers in the title is canonically questionable, it’s the plural that’s important. I mean, last time I reviewed a piece of Musketeer Media that was only about a single Musketeer, we got Athos being sad on the moon.

This time around, we have Tim Roth in a hat, and a script that thinks it’s okay to tell the Musketeer story without Milady and, for the most part, without giving Athos anything to do.

It’s not okay.

We are introduced to the young Bruce Wayne D’Artagnan as a small boy, fencing with his father, until an arch Tim Roth in a glamorous all-black ensemble turns up to snark about taxes and kill both D’Artagnan’s parents for shits and giggles.

Just as I was wondering why you would cast Tim Roth as Rochefort and not give him an eyepatch, newly-orphaned Bruce Wayne D’Artagnan went at him with a sword and made an eyepatch supremely necessary.

The kid is left in the charge of Jarvis Alfred Planchet, a kindly servant who will do his best to raise him without anyone building a Batcave, creating a utility belt, or dressing up in silly costumes to fight crime.

Well, two out of three isn’t bad.

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Musketeer on Mars (2008 & 2012)

last musketeerSo the trouble with Musketeer sequels, as opposed to adaptations of the original Three Musketeers, is that they’re kind of depressing. Instead of being about our boys at the height of their adventures, they are usually about the end of the story – either focusing on the next generation, and/or a reunion plot making it clear that the best fictional BFFs of all time have been sorely neglecting each other for years or even decades.

(Friendship stories based on the premise that the friends have gone their separate ways for most of their lives are the WORST friendship stories)

Also, unlike adaptations of the first volume of stories, and regardless of the original fictional fates, our boys tend to be somewhat expendable in the Gallery of What Maybe Happened Next.

As of the New Year, I’m opening up my Musketeer Media Monday posts to sequels as well as straight adaptations, to change it up a bit and keep it all fresh. However, I think you need to congratulate me, because I’m pretty sure I just found the most depressing Musketeer sequel of all time on my first try.

Seriously, I don’t want to be proven wrong on this one. Even that Leonardo Di Caprio Wears a Mask movie can’t be this depressing, right?

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