Marceau Carries The Day
Reviewer | 04/26/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The spirit of Dumas is alive and well as D'Artagnan and his three legendary companions regroup and once again go forth in defense of the Crown in "Revenge of the Musketeers," directed by Bertrand Tavernier. This time around, however, it's D'Artagnan's daughter, Eloise (Sophie Marceau), who sounds the alarm after witnessing a cold-blooded murder at the convent she has called home these many years, having been raised there while her father was off on one adventure after another in service to the King. And it's the King for whom Eloise is concerned; in the wake of the murder, she has uncovered a conspiracy to assassinate the about-to-be-crowned Louis XIV during his coronation. Her evidence is a cryptic message discovered among the personal effects of the recently deceased resident of the convent. So throwing caution to the wind, Eloise takes to horseback, alone, to seek out her father and inform him of this threat to France and the King. What she doesn't know is that D'Artagnan (Philippe Noiret) has recently withdrawn from the service of the King, and not by his own choosing. It seems that the King-to-be is something of an upstart, the fact of which D'Artagnan conveyed to him personally-- in no uncertain terms-- after which the now former Musketeer retired to private life to give lessons in the art of swordsmanship. All of which is about to change with the arrival of the daughter he hasn't seen for many years, and who to his knowledge is still safely ensconced in the convent. To successfully present yet another episode of "The Three Musketeers," it must have that certain sense of bold carelessness born of confidence and larger-than-life adventure, and Tavernier's film has it. Though it takes a couple of scenes to find it's legs after an intense opening that makes you sit up and take notice, when it finally kicks in (which it does fairly quickly) it becomes a rousing adventure steeped in the tradition of it's predecessors. And, as in the best of the "Musketeer" movies, it's laced with subtle humor and intrigue. Tavernier sets a pace that is at times inconsistent, but he provides enough action and fun that it can be easily overlooked; it may threaten to stall occasionally, but never actually does. Philippe Noiret cuts a striking figure as the aging D'Artagnan, who though slowed somewhat by the years, is still one of the best swords around. He successfully embodies that spirit and sense of "legend" that makes his D'Artagnan believable, and delivers it all with the confidence befitting his character. The highlight of the film, however, is the lovely Marceau, who as Eloise proves that she can cross swords with the best of them. Her technique with a blade may be a bit awkward at times, but it gives credibility to the character; a young woman raised in a convent-- even the daughter of a famed Musketeer-- wouldn't necessarily be a master swordsman. And Marceau gives a lively performance as Eloise, diving into the action with a reckless abandon that makes her endearing, as well as fun to watch. She has a radiant screen presence that draws the eye to her, even in a crowded scene. But what really puts this character across-- and again, the entire film, for that matter-- is that unabashed spirit of adventure, which Marceau manifests in Eloise. The supporting cast includes Claude Rich (Crassac), Sami Frey (Aramis), Jean-Luc Bideau (Athos), Raoul Billerey (Porthos), Charlotte Kady (Eglantine de Rochefort), Nils Tavernier (Quentin), Luigi Proietti (Mazarin) and Jean-Paul Roussillon (Planchet). Proving that even Musketeers beyond their prime can be engaging, especially when combined with a spirited beauty like Marceau, "Revenge of the Musketeers" is a welcome cinematic chapter in the saga Dumas began so many years ago. In the end, it's a satisfying experience that will transport you to another place and another time, when chivalry was alive and well, and right always triumphed over wrong."
Excellent adventure, a must for Sophie Marceau fans!
Reviewer | 08/17/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film is originally titled "La Fille De D'Artagnan", which translates to D'Artagnan's Daughter. Sophie Marceau plays a headstrong young Eloise, the daughter of one of the famous three muskateers, now retired and making a living teaching fencing. Eloise uncovers a plot to overthrow the king when the convent where she is living is attacked by soldiers - and she sets off to make things right, with or without her father's help. Full of humor, great swordfights (Sophie performs her own fencing), and excellent cinematography, this is a really supurb adventure movie. There is some violence and nuditity, this is not a movie for children, but it is a very enjoyable film for adults."
All for One, One for the Ages!
Robert D. Matzen | Pittsburgh, PA USA | 02/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With all due respect to The Three & Four Musketeers of Richard Lester, Revenge of the Musketeers surpasses these and all other Dumas musketeer films ever. This takes into account a lot of movies, from Fairbanks to Walter Abel, the Ritz Brothers, Louis Hayward, Gene Kelly, Hal Roach Jr., Gordon Scott, Louis Jourdan, Cornel Wilde, and lately Leonardo with Gabriel Byrne et al. Never mind Sophie Marceau fencing with the guys with nary a lesson. Sophie's fine. My money's on Sophie over feisty Kim Cattrall of Lester's Return of the Musketeers. It's reverence that really makes Revenge a winner; reverence for Dumas Pere. D'Artagnan first sees his daughter (Sophie) and mistakes her for long-dead Constance. He alludes to the 'Porthos thrust' and the 'Aramis thrust.' Planchet remains addled, and now aged. Porthos can be lured out of retirement with mounds of food. Brooding Aramis as always follows intrigue. Athos says much with few rasping words. They reunite and allude longingly to the old days, and we feel their aches and pains, and smile at inside references to old foes among the Cardinal's guards. Never mind the slow spots and confusing plot machinations. This is Dumas-inspired after all. Just savor the French sensibilities and the gentle mockery of Mazarin, and D'Artagnan spurring his comrades on by saying, 'We can't let Cyrano have all the fun!' Oh yeah, Sophie gets naked, which can't hurt. And the swordplay is excellent, a la William Hobbs. We may never see the likes of this one again. Magnifique one and all!"
"What's nice about hemorrhoids is, you forget the rheumatism
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 10/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've only ever seen Sophie Marceau in English-speaking roles before, and, while I thought she was a fine actress, it wasn't until I saw her in her native French milieu that I duly became impressed. REVENGE OF THE MUSKETEERS is a Sophie Marceau vehicle all the way; the scenes are never more delightful than when she graces the screen. I enjoyed her infectious enthusiasm as she threw herself fully into the role of the headstrong, adventurous Eloise D'Artagnan. Philippe Noiret was also noteworthy as the grizzled D'Artagnan, father of Eloise, now retired in disgrace from the ranks of the Musketeers. The rest of the cast was excellent, as well, with special mention going out to Sami Frey (Aramis), Gigi Proietti (Cardinal Mazarin), and Claude Rich (Duke of Crassac).
The convent in which the young Eloise D'Artagnan is being fostered is assaulted by swordsmen led by a woman in red. The Mother Superior is murdered and, in the aftermath of the attack, Eloise finds a blooded document, which she believes is the key to uncovering a deadly plot. She goes to Paris in search of her famous father, D'Artagnan, whom she hadn't seen in years, and finds him happy to see her but disinclined to believe her tale. However, certain events occur which alter D'Artagnan's thinking, who then decides to involve his old comrades. When you add to that mix a lovestruck but combat-ignorant poet, a one-eyed spy, a duplicitous femme fatale, an ambitious duke, a conniving cardinal, a slave ring, and coffee, well, somewhere in there, there just HAS to be a conspiracy in the offing, right? Right. There is a conspiracy and it's that same old conspiracy again, namely, to assassinate the monarch of France. But, thanks to the not-quite-decrepit ex-Musketeers and the resolute Eloise - who is powered by a sense of honor and justice, even if she's a bit lacking in the finer points of fencing - the King of France is in good hands.
A bit reminiscent of Richard Lester's THE THREE MUSKETEERS (1973), the lighthearted storyline proficiently toes the line between swashbuckling and comedy. The sword fights aren't that exemplary, but the film does have an out in that the main protagonists consist of a girl raw with the sword and four curmudgeonly, even arthritic, blades. But, what they lack in speed and dexterity, they make up for in enthusiasm and elderly flair. The comedy is superb and is nicely meshed within the story. I got a kick out of the fact that each of the opposing parties come upon innocuous messages (one a laundry list, the other a poem) that they think are in secret code and end up wasting much of the movie attempting to decode them. One of the verbal high points is when Aramis is apprised of yet another plot to kill the king; he remarks with an offended "But that's so dated!" Another is when, after Sophie has the frustrated villain, Crassac, at an impasse in their deadly swordfight, he asks her if her blade was longer than his. And then, of course, there's all those elderly jokes, as offered by the aged D'Artagnan and his cohorts.
So, here's what we got: misunderstandings, behind-the-throne machinations, high adventure and swordplays, low and high-brow comedy, a father-daughter relationship, the return of classic Dumas characters, and the introduction of a lovely and fiery heroine - Eloise D'Artagnan. Which brings us full circle to Sophie Marceau. As I've said, this is her vehicle. She displays full commitment and brings beauty, unaffected charm, and unfettered zest to the table. Her Eloise doesn't mind getting muddy or physically exerting herself; she athletically jumps on and rides horses, leaps on tables, violently slings furniture, and recklessly brandishes a sword. The only thing she doesn't do is swing on chandeliers, though I have no doubt she would've done that with gusto, as well.