When the trailers began playing for the latest remake of “The Three Musketeers” last year, it looked impressive to me right away.  A lot of action set against elaborate locations, this period costume movie didn’t disappoint when I finally saw it recently.  I liked it for a number of reasons and I also feel that it had a little something for everyone in a story that brought both familiar faces and newcomers.

Of those playing the musketeers, only Matthew MacFadyen was familiar to me from previous roles.  Joining him in the story of a well-known swordfighting foursome were Luke Evans, Ray Stevenson and Logan Lerman.  Things start out rough for D’Artagnan (Lerman) when first arriving in a small village and encountering the experienced musketeers.  As they carry on, the adventure takes them from the town of common people in wood-detailed homes to the grand estates of royalty. Both settings display the contrasting ways of life through the realistic costumes and architecture.

As a fan of many movies with historical time period costumes and ornate architecture, these two elements caught my attention early on.  These details were stunning as they not only brought to life the musketeers’ time but also inspired awe toward the many great halls of Europe.  Beautiful paintings on the ceilings, sculpted interior and elegant furnishings bring you into that regal time as characters in equally regal garb live, love, scheme and swordfight among them.

Such beautiful details in the location made me curious as to where some of the scenes were filmed.  I looked up the filming locations on IMDB, which stated a Bavarian castle that I hadn’t heard of before but would love to visit.  So I found more info on it in this Suite 101 article by Henk Bekker, published in July 2008.  If I ever do get to visit this particular film location, I have Bekker’s article as one helpful resource.

Camera use during a chess scene between King Louis XIII of France (Freddie Fox) and a red-cloaked Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) was very eye-catching. It circled around them from a slightly low angle, the elaborate wall decor passing in the background before finally the men are shown from a high angle.  This camera movement added some intensity and secrecy to the discussion at hand, really putting the two characters in a world all their own and shutting everyone else out.

The King of France is one source of humor, as he is always trying to keep up with the Duke of Buckingham’s fashion choices.  When he fails to do so, even with the title of King, he acts awkward and even childish.  He seems an odd match for the woman who is his queen (Juno Temple), as she has greater maturity.  However, that works well for the storyline of the king and queen’s relationship and how it plays into the overall story.  The King is unsure of himself in the queen’s eyes and meanwhile, a scheme is set into motion that would reflect badly on her romantic loyalty to him.

As the Duke of Buckingham, Orlando Bloom took on mannerisms that I hadn’t seen him do in previous roles.  So far, that is, since I haven’t seen all of Bloom’s work.  Bloom turned out a Duke of Buckingham that was very cunning, sly and devilish, all with a cool rockstar swagger.  A grand entrance by the Duke of Buckingham, upon arriving at the King of France’s estate, reflects just such an image for that time.  Although a foe to the Musketeers, this was one movie villain that draws people in with his style and attitude.

This remake of “The Three Musketeers” has other elements I enjoyed that in some way, reminded me of those in some of my other favorite movies.  For instance, there is the poor country boy who falls for a girl of royalty, a lady in waiting to the Queen of France.  There are the scenes is which Milady (Milla Jovovich) unlocks secret passages hidden right under foot or behind a mantel.

A jolly friend of the Musketeers brings a hint of what’s to come regarding his role in assisting them on their mission.  He does this by referring to himself as one of them to a certain extent and later, that moment comes to mind as some foreshadowing in the story.  To me, foreshadowing is an interesting element that brings characters, objects or places together in the storyline of many movies.

I’ve seen the 1993 version of “The Three Musketeers” a few times over the years, but not any earlier ones.  The special effects and more elaborate detail in the settings really makes the 2011 version my favorite over the one from 1993.  I liked Chris O’Donnell as D’Artagnan in the 1993 version, which also had a popular theme song by Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting.  For either take on the musketeer story, as with any historic costume-heavy movie, the characters’ garb is always impressive to any extent.  It’s been a while since I last saw the 1993 version, so I don’t remember to what level their costumes’ detail was in comparison to those in the latest Musketeer tale.  I’ll have to watch it again sometime soon.