Will anything be safe from the 3D makeover? With the way things are going, it doesn't look like it. We learn today that Paul W.S. Anderson (Death Race, Event Horizon) will direct a new adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers - in 3D no less. He has co-written the script with Andrew Davies (Bridget Jones's Diary), a script which is said to "modernize" the musketeers.
Whether justified or not, "Oh dear..." is my first thought...
This new adaptation of The Three Musketeers can be assumed to have nothing to do with the one we heard about last June, which was planned at the time by Millenium Films. This one is being produced by Impact Pictures' Jeremy Bolt and Constantin Film's Robert Kulzer (both companies are financing the project), with Anderson himself co-producing.
There has been many-an-adaptation of The Three Musketeers over the years, with cinematic visions of the classic story stretching all the way back to 1903. Notable examples include the 1948 Gene Kelly/Lana Truner/Vincent Price version; the 1973 Michael York/Oliver Reed version; and the 1993 Charlie Sheen/Kiefer Sutherland/Chris O'Donnell version.
Anderson knows Davies from their time at the University of Warwick in England, with Anderson a student and Davies a tutor. Anderson sought out Davies to co-write The Three Musketeers with him because he knew the project needed, "a script that was strong in character and romance to complement the action." Anderson says that the film is aimed to have a contemporary feel, without ditching the (essential) period setting:
"We are definitely modernizing ‘The Three Musketeers' without compromising the fun of shooting a period piece... But in our film, corsets and feathered hats don't take center stage. Our version is rich in eye-popping action, romance and adventure."
Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette is a good example of how difficult it can be to do a "modernized period piece." Sure, there can be modern ideology and themes, but at the end of the day a period setting is essential for this story. I don't know if Anderson is the right guy to try and strike the right balance between the old and the new. After all, he's mostly been known up until this point for bad video game adaptations such as the Resident Evil trilogy and two Mortal Kombat films, with Event Horizon being is his only truly "good" film IMO (Death Race was fun, though).
One thing that can be noted is that everything Anderson's done so far has been modern day or futuristic. Is he really the right guy to do a period film, albeit one with a contemporary feel? I'm leaning towards "no." He's not the absolute worst director in the world, but I would rather a classic story like The Three Musketeers be in a more... suited pair of hands.
As far as the 3D aspect goes, I've made my stance on the technology clear many-a-time: if it's used subtly and not gimmicky (*cough* The Final Destination! *cough*) then it's fine. But The Three Musketeers doesn't in anyway seem like a movie suited for the 3D technology. I just don't see the point in doing it in that format.
What do you think of this news? Is Anderson the right guy to bring us The Three Musketeers? Should the film be in 3D?
Anderson hopes to start shooting The Three Musketeers sometime next year in France and Germany, with a tentative 2011 release being eyed.