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Overall Rating
3.85

Awesome: 30.38%
Worth A Look40.51%
Average: 13.92%
Pretty Bad: 13.92%
Total Crap: 1.27%

6 reviews, 43 user ratings


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Count of Monte Cristo, The
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by EricDSnider

"I'm down with the Count -- for half the movie, that is."
3 stars

“The Count of Monte Cristo” is a dazzling, old-fashioned adventure story that brings the Alexandre Dumas novel roaringly to life. For an hour or so, that is. Then it turns into dull Hollywood hokum.

“Monte Cristo” is a grand story, and one deserving of a good Hollywood treatment. It posits that revenge is not altogether a bad thing, if it’s justified -- though the film version makes sure the revengees are thoroughly despicable, too, just so there’s no ambiguity about whether the revenger has the right to punish them.

Edmund Dantes (James Caviezel, from “Frequency”) is an innocent sailor-merchant with a gorgeous fiancee Mercedes (Dagmara Dominczyk) and a best friend Fernand Mondego (Guy Pearce, from “Memento”). They have all three been friends since childhood, giving Fernand plenty of time to develop an unhealthy jealousy over Edmund’s good fortune in the love-interest department.

Fueled by this jealousy and aided by snively politician Villefort (James Frain), Fernand falsely accuses Edmund of treason and has him shipped off to the forbidding Cheateau D’If, whence no prisoner returns. While there, Edmund encounters Faria (Richard Harris), a priest who educates him, trains him and eventually helps him escape. Now Edmund wants revenge against all those who did him wrong.

The first half is, as mentioned, highly enjoyable, with character strokes that give it life. Edmund is too trusting and even naive. Fernand is very wealthy, yet jealous of dirt-poor Edmund’s happiness. These are interesting touches.

They are almost completely ignored in the second half.

The turning point is Edmund’s prison break. Almost immediately, he gains a sidekick, the ludicrously anachronistic Jacopo, played embarrassingly by Luis Guzman (who was so good in “Traffic”). Even aside from that, the movie descends into formulaic silliness: Apparently, if your appearance changes in no way other than growing a goatee, no one will recognize you.

It’s a mistake for director Kevin Reynolds (and first-time screenwriter Jay Wolpert) to ditch the character traits established in the first hour, especially since they are replaced with nothing. As he plans his various revenges, Edmund is not vicious or calculating enough to be a creepy dark hero of vengeance, but neither is he outrageous enough to be funny. He just muddles along, his motivations unclear and his plans equally fuzzy. In prison, he seemed hardened and cynical by the experience. When he gets out, he’s just a moody guy.

And poor Fernand goes from being a complex best friend/worst enemy character to being just a plain old jerk who cheats on his wife.

Dagmara Dominczyk barely registers as Edmund’s beloved; one wonders why seeing her again was such a priority to him.

There is some fine swashbuckling action, and several moments of tension and excitement. But it is a disappointing enactment of a fine story, and it feels far longer than it is. Dumas deserves better.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5715&reviewer=247
originally posted: 01/25/02 08:38:46
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User Comments

4/24/12 dsfasasd klsadf jsadf jas df jasdf ;j asd f Great book terrible movie 4 stars
2/28/11 brian EVERYTHING worth seeing a movie for. 5 stars
7/28/10 the dork knight Too much swashbuckling. Ignores the real MEAT of the story 3 stars
8/15/09 zaira it's really a nice movie, it reminds us that "jesus will give us the just justice!" 5 stars
12/08/08 Joshua it is nice and good movie 4 stars
5/16/08 PAUL SHORTT COUNT ON COUNT PUTTING A SMILE ON YOUR FACE 3 stars
7/18/07 johnnyfog Great first half, awesome cast. Gets pretty dull by the end though... 4 stars
5/22/06 R.W.Welch Good production of the old revenge yarn tho it lacks the dash of the 30's version. 4 stars
2/07/06 Paul Horine Nice design and acting 5 stars
8/12/05 ES This is probably the best telling of one of the best stories ever told= awesome 5 stars
3/29/05 tatum Big, grand, old fashioned film entertainment 5 stars
2/25/05 ALDO Enjoyed it heaps... 5 stars
1/13/05 victor hernandez the muvie is greate and I recomendet to enibody 5 stars
11/17/04 ? <('o'<) (^'o'^) (>'o')> 5 stars
7/18/04 Jason J Lynch A fine classic that's not outdated nor too updated. 5 stars
6/21/04 Rock Hound Not as good as the CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED version (c. 1964?). Was that balloon in the book? 3 stars
1/02/03 The Freshmaker Pales in comparison to the Richard Chamberlain version for TV... 2 stars
11/06/02 Bob Vloon A simplistic version of Dumas' great story. Read the book. 2 stars
9/27/02 John McNew Smart, fun, but ultimately predictable and tiresome after the first hour and a half 3 stars
9/15/02 syrius kicks ass 5 stars
5/25/02 darkjosh@hotmail.com Pearce is the sexiest man alive... grrrrrr ;-) 4 stars
5/24/02 Marcia Lartz Superb and tense thriller. Well acted and with good scene design. 5 stars
3/24/02 Lala It's like the Tom Cruise Mission Impossible movies; it's great, just change the title. 4 stars
2/18/02 Nuse090 it was all i ever wanted from a hollywood movie 5 stars
2/17/02 AgentDS It's a feast for the eyes its elegance. And a welcome departure from a cynical world. 4 stars
2/17/02 ToneCapone Really good movie. Entertains throughout. 4 stars
2/15/02 Kooler Gorgeous, swash-buckling good times. But what is with Guy Pearce's hair? 4 stars
2/14/02 The Flaming Chancehead FUCK THIS MOVIE AND EVERYTHING THIS MOLDLY LUMP OF CUM STANDS FOR!! GUY EATS SCROTUM! 1 stars
2/12/02 seldom scene tremendous action and not preachy with beautiful settings 5 stars
2/11/02 ngacpro Sneaky good and very entertaining. 4 stars
2/09/02 Meryl Kopy Bleeeech. 2 stars
1/31/02 Zertaut Dopey simplification, and Caviezel is boring, but Guy's great and the girl is beautiful 3 stars
1/31/02 Solonor Rasreth Egad! How far can you stray from the original? Pretty far, it seems. 2 stars
1/30/02 Butterbean So what if the book wasn't followed. I liked this movie! 4 stars
1/29/02 Jesus Christ I condemn this movie. 2 stars
1/29/02 rogue James Caviezel has found new respect as an actor in my book 5 stars
1/28/02 Joe Too bad it's not eligible for 2001 oscars! Awesome 5 stars
1/28/02 Carter Very entertaining 5 stars
1/27/02 Titus Good fun, some funny bits, very enjoyable 4 stars
1/26/02 Brenda Awesomely entertaining. Go see it! 5 stars
1/26/02 bill excellent entertainment 5 stars
1/26/02 Gibbo Guy Pierce is just wonderful - an interesting story 4 stars
1/23/02 Buddy41 A good ride - good story - good acting - rcommended 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  25-Jan-2002 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-May-2002




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