The Count of Monte Cristo (DVD, 1996)

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The Count of Monte Cristo - A Tale of Betrayal and Revenge

Oct 30, 2002
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Good plot and actors

Cons:Moves a little slow at times

The Bottom Line: The Count of Monte Cristo was a really good movie that is worth watching


Lately I’ve been really busy thanks to a class I had to take for work. I haven’t had as much time to rent movies because of that class. I did get a chance to watch The Count of Monte Cristo recently and I really enjoyed it. I remember seeing some previews for it when it was in theaters and I thought it looked good, but I didn’t get the chance to see the movie then.

PLOT

Edmund Dantes was working on a ship. His friend Fernand Mondego was also on the ship as some kind of representative of the owner of the ship. The captain of the ship was sick with brain fever. Edmund, Fernand, and a few other men took the captain in a rowboat to the nearby island of Elba where Napoleon was being held. Fernand was already drunk and he was drinking more in the boat.

Edmund and Fernand went ashore and got into a fight with several guards. They eventually got permission to bring the captain on the island. Napoleon’s doctor treated him, but the captain died. Later that night, Napoleon and Edmund had a talk. Napoleon wanted Edmund to deliver a letter to a friend. Napoleon didn’t give Edmund a choice about the letter, saying that was the payment for his doctor’s treatment of the captain. Napoleon made Edmund promise not to tell anyone about the letter. Fernand saw Edmund get the letter, and he was very upset because Edmund didn’t tell him about the letter.

Once they returned home, Edmund was promoted to captain by the owner of the ship. Danglor, the first mate, was very upset because he had assumed that he would be the new captain. Edmund was engaged to Mercedes. The two planned to wait to get married until Edmund became a captain. Fernand, Edmund, and Mercedes had been friends for years. Fernand wanted Mercedes for himself and was jealous of her relationship with Edmund. While Edmund was meeting with the owner of the ship, Fernand and Mercedes were together and Fernand was trying to convince her that she would be better off with him instead of Edmund. Mercedes wasn’t interested in Fernand that way. Edmund arrived and shared his news. Mercedes was thrilled but Fernand was upset. He acted like he was happy, but he wasn’t. He went off and drank some more. He ran into Danglor. The two men sat and discussed Edmund and how he shouldn’t be the new captain.

Mercedes and Edmund were visiting his father when the authorities showed up and took Edmund in for questioning. Villefort had been told that Edmund was delivering a letter from Napoleon. Villefort questioned a confused Edmund, who was then taken off in a police wagon. Edmund discovered that Fernand had something to do with what was happening to him. Edmund was charged with treason and taken to Chateau d’If, a prison on an island with horrible conditions.

After several years, an older man came up through the floor of Edmund’s cell. The man had been digging a tunnel for years, trying to escape. Edmund called the man Priest. They became friends and worked on the tunnel together. Priest taught Edmund how to read, write, and fence. He also taught Edmund about several different subjects. Edmund worked through what happened when he was arrested and decided that he wanted to get revenge on Fernand, Danglor, and Villefort.

After fourteen years, Edmund was able to escape. He hooked up with some pirates for a while. When he first returned to France, he learned something about Mercedes that made him want to get revenge against her as well. He eventually went looking for a treasure that he had learned about. The treasure was supposed to be hidden on a deserted island. Soon after that, a very rich man arrived in Paris. He called himself the Count of Monte Cristo.

CAST

Jim Caviezel - Edmund Dantes
Dagmara Dominczyk - Mercedes
Guy Pearce - Fernand Mondego
James Frain - Villefort
Alex Norton - Napoleon
Richard Harris - Priest
Albie Woodington - Danglor
Michael Wincott - Corleac, Warden of d’If

Kevin Reynolds - Director

Jay Wolpert - Screenplay

The Count of Monte Cristo was based on a book of the same name by Alexander Dumas. I’ve never read the book, so I don’t know how close to the book the movie stayed. The movie was 131 minutes long and rated PG-13 for some adventure violence, sword play, and some sensuality. I don’t think that young children should see this movie because of the violence.

I really enjoyed The Count of Monte Cristo. The movie was a little slow at first while things were being set up, but I wasn’t bored at any time. The movie was complex with a lot of things happening. The plot was fairly complicated. When Edmund was arrested, the pace picked up briefly before he was taken to the prison. The pace slowed back down for a little while. Once Priest turned up in Edmund’s cell, the pace of the movie picked up again. The movie became more interesting as the men worked on the tunnel and Edmund started to plot his revenge. Some people may be a bit bored at the beginning of the movie since it was slower, but that was necessary to show how Edmund ended up in the prison.

The Count of Monte Cristo was an adventure movie. There was some action near the beginning of the movie when Edmund and Fernand arrived on Elba. They got into a fight with the guards on the island that resulted in some men being injured and a death or two. There was a little more action when Edmund was arrested. Later in the movie, when Edmund first met the pirates, he had to fight one of them. There were some more fights in the movie after that, but I’m not going into specifics on them because I don’t want to spoil anything from later in the movie. There were several sword fights throughout the movie which reminded me of The Three Musketeers. That movie was also based on a book by Alexander Dumas. There was a little bit of violence in the movie. Even though there really wasn’t a lot of violence in the movie, it could be too violent for some people. I think it is too violent for children to see.

There really wasn’t any mystery in The Count of Monte Cristo since it was known who was involved in betraying Edmund. At least the viewer knows. He was completely clueless about what was going on though. Even when he arrived at the prison, he was still wondering what was going on. While he was in prison, Edmund worked through things and figured out who was responsible for his arrest. There were a few suspenseful scenes in the movie and I did have a few questions - how would he escape? What would he do? - that were answered later in the movie. I didn’t really think those things were mysteries. Even though there were a few suspenseful moments throughout the movie, it wasn’t extremely suspenseful overall.

There was a small amount of romance in The Count of Monte Cristo, mainly near the beginning of the movie between Edmund and Mercedes. They were in love and planning to get married. After Edmund got his promotion, he and Mercedes went off alone together. There were on a beach somewhere and they anticipated their wedding vows. I’m not sure if that was the first time they did that or not. There were some things shown that were intimate, but it didn’t show that much. Some skin was shown, but there really wasn’t any nudity in the movie. There was another scene later in the movie that was sexual in nature, but I’m not saying anything specific because I don’t want to say anything more about that part of the movie. That scene wasn’t very long and it didn’t show much either. People who are offended by those types of scenes in a movie probably should avoid seeing the movie.

I thought that the acting in The Count of Monte Cristo was really good. Jim Caviezel was wonderful as Edmund. I have seen him in a few other movies, but I think that this was his best performance. The character of Edmund started off being fairly straight forward, but he became more complex as the movie went on. Caviezel was very believable as Edmund. He started out rather naive and confused about what was going on. Later in the movie, he was completely different. His years in prison changed him into a harder, colder man. Caviezel’s eyes were very expressive and full of emotion throughout the movie. In some scenes his eyes were full of confusion and in others they were full of hatred. It was clear just how much he hated someone by the look in his eyes.

Guy Pearce was very good as Fernand. He did seem to be over doing it at times, but it worked for this character. Fernand was not a likeable character. Pearce was very good playing a nasty character. He was arrogant, pompous, and nasty at times. He would get this smirk on his face at times that showed that Fernand thought he was better than everyone else. I’ve never seen Dagmara Dominczyk in any other movies before. Nothing really stood out about her performance in The Count of Monte Cristo. Richard Harris wasn’t in a lot of the movie, but he was good in the scenes he was in. I thought that the other actors were also good in their roles, though none of them really stood out like Jim Caviezel and Guy Pearce did.

Edmund was the main character in The Count of Monte Cristo. The whole movie was focused on him and what happened to him. He was the most developed character in the movie. Many of his thoughts and feelings were shared, so it was known why he did some things. Edmund changed a great deal over the course of the movie. He started off being kind, and naive about some things. He was uneducated. During the movie, he learned how to read and write. He learned how to fence. He learned how to act like a rich, cultured man. He became cold and was seeking revenge. Edmund was really the only character that was thoroughly developed. None of the other characters were in as much of the movie as Edmund was. They were some scenes here and there, and none of them were developed that well. Fernand was a nasty, arrogant man with a drinking and gambling problem. He wanted what others had. That was really all I learned about his character from the movie. It was never really explained why Fernand was the way he was. There were other characters who were only in one or two scenes, and they weren’t developed at all.

CHARACTERS

Edmund Dantes - He was a naive young man. He was uneducated. His family was poor. He was betrayed by his best friend and a man he worked with. Edmund was sent to Chateau d’If where he was treated horribly. He changed a lot during his years in the prison. He learned to read and write thanks to another prisoner. He became colder and set out to get revenge. He learned how to act cultured. He was determined to get revenge.

Mercedes - She was the woman that Edmund loved. They had known each other for years. They planned to get married after Edmund became a captain of a ship. She was very much in love with Edmund and was devastated when he was arrested. After that she did something that she didn’t really want to do, but felt she had to.

Fernand - He was Edmund’s best friend. The two had been friends since they were children. Fernand was from a rich family and lived in a huge home. He drank a lot. He was jealous of Edmund’s relationship with Mercedes. Fernand liked to manipulate things so he got his way. He got very upset when he didn’t get his way. He got very mad at Edmund over the letter from Napoleon. He was actually cold emotionally. He was willing to do horrible things to get his way. He developed a gambling problem.

Danglor - He was the first mate on the ship Edmund worked on. He hadn’t wanted Edmund to try to get help for the captain. Danglor was positive that he would be the new captain. He was furious when Edmund got the job instead. Danglor plotted with Fernand to get Edmund out of the picture. Danglor ended up becoming successful in the shipping business.

Villefort - He worked with the authorities - I can’t remember his exact position. He was the man who questioned Edmund. Villefort had been ready to let Edmund go, but Edmund said something that caused him to change his mind. Villefort had Edmund thrown in jail and charged with treason. Villefort was mixed up with Fernand somehow. Villefort was willing to do some lousy things to protect himself.

Priest - He was another prisoner at Chateau d’If. He was an older man and had been there for several years. He had been digging a tunnel so he could escape for years. He was an intelligent man. He dug up through the floor of Edmund’s cell. Priest convinced Edmund to help with the tunnel. Priest taught Edmund many things. He talked about God and religion a lot.

DVD

I saw The Count of Monte Cristo on DVD. It was in the widescreen version. The picture was gorgeous throughout the movie. The sound was also good, though it did seem a little low in a few scenes. There were some extras on the DVD, though I didn’t get the chance to check all of them out. There was a commentary, but I didn’t listen to that. There was something on the making of the movie, but I didn’t get the chance to see that either. I did check out the deleted scenes. There weren’t that many of them, and they were actually longer or alternate versions of scenes that were in the movie. The director and producer talked about why they decided to cut some of the scenes. I think they should have left the longer version of one scene in the movie. It was only another few minutes and it really showed a different side to Mercedes. The part that was cut out showed that she was a stronger person.

I really enjoyed The Count of Monte Cristo. It was an entertaining movie that had some action and romance in it. It is worth watching if you like this type of movie.





Recommend this product? Yes

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