The Three Musketeers (October 22/04)
It goes without saying that small children will undoubtedly enjoy The Three Musketeers more than older viewers, but it's hard not to derive some entertainment out of a film that casts Mickey, Donald, and Goofy as the famed trio.
They're merely janitors as the film opens, though. Working for the French royal family - led by Princess Minnie - the three characters dream of the day that they might have the opportunity to prove themselves worthy as Musketeers. The villainous Peg-leg Pete, sensing their incompetence, promotes them to Princess Minnie's security detail - with the idea being that they'll be so ineffectual, he'll be able to kidnap the Princess and usurp all her power. This being an uplifting Disney tale, it doesn't come of much of a surprise to discover that Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are far more adept than anyone gave them credit for.
The Three Musketeers is harmless, innocuous fun; there's nothing terribly exciting or riveting about the movie, but it moves at a fairly brisk pace (the fact that it's 68 minutes certainly helps). Yet even with such a compressed running time, the movie occasionally feels as though it's been padded out with an excess of songs (there are six of them!) and needless subplots. This is the sort of story that probably would've been more suited to a stand-alone episode of some animated Disney series.
But what keeps the film from sinking into utter mediocrity - along with the inherently likable characters - is the quality of the animation, which is surprisingly detailed and cinematic. Disney's use of computer effects for more complicated sequences is becoming more and more seamless (this is a far cry from Pocahontas, which melded the two formats to disastrous results), something that's certainly true here.
It's clear that The Three Musketeers will never be confused for stellar Disney fare (ie The Lion King or Aladdin), but as a one-hour time-killer, the movie is fairly effective.