Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: The Count of Monte Cristo

My mom and I happened to find this on TV one Saturday. We didn't know much about the Count of Monte Cristo except what we knew from watching an episode of Wishbone, the popular children's show from the 90s. And from further reading of the plot line of the original book, this movie varies greatly from the story, especially towards the end. But since we didn't know much about the original plot, we still enjoyed the movie for what it was. Here is the review.

Edmond Dantes, a sailor, has returned to his home in Marseilles. With his captain dead and because of seeking help for his dying captain on Elba, Edmond is appointed the new captain of his ship, which would allow him to marry his fiancee, Mercedes. His friend, Fernand, becomes jealous of him because he is in love with Mercedes. Fernand, when Edmond was getting help for his captain, saw Napoleon give Edmond a letter on Elba and after reading the letter saw that it was a conspiracy letter. Fernand uses this information to have Edmond arrested.

There was only one actor that I recognized in this movie: Guy Pearce (Fernand) was also in The King's Speech as King Edward VIII. Other than that, there weren't any familiar faces to me. However, Jim Caviezel (Edmond Dantes) was also in The Passion of the Christ as Jesus Christ (I haven't seen it due to the graphic nature of it, but I've heard it was good).

The Prison
One of the things that my mom noticed (and I also noticed) was that there was a good portion of the movie devoted to Edmond's prison time. The conditions of the prison are not very clean and as a prisoner, Edmond is not treated well. These scenes can be a little gritty, but it's not too bad. During this time, Edmond is educated by a former soldier turned priest. Spoiler I know the prison scenes were building up to the point where Edmond becomes the Count of Monte Cristo, but it seemed like the film makers spent more time than necessary on the prison scenes and educating Edmond. It did give me an insight to the friendship of Edmond and the priest. Edmond helps the priest dig out of the prison in exchange for education. The priest, it turned out, knows the location of a great treasure on the island of Monte Cristo, but he tells Edmond that he must only use this wealth for good (something that Edmond says he will not be able to do) End of Spoiler

Left to Right: Edmond as the Count of Monte Cristo,
Albert Mondego, and Fernand Mondego.
Fernand is a very despicable character. He claimed that he did everything thing that he did to Edmond at the beginning because he kept a secret from him. (Really? That's why you had him arrested? More like you were looking for an excuse to arrest him.). Spoiler Then after Fernand marries Mercedes, he neglects her and their son (needless to say, their marriage is an unhappy one and Mercedes is still in love with Edmond, who she believes is dead). End of Spoiler

We see the growth of Edmond's character in multiple dimensions throughout the Count of Monte Cristo. Spoiler When he is imprisoned, we see him move from uneducated to educated. We see him lose his faith and replace it with revenge and then see the error of his ways and redeem himself to God. We see him move from being a person bent solely on revenge and using his wealth for revenge to a person who realizes that there are more important things in life than revenge and uses his wealth for good. We do see that in some instances even in his "revenge state", Edmond does have some compassion for others (namely when he spared the life of Jacopo, a smuggler who was going to be killed by his fellow smugglers). End of Spoiler 

There's a great deal of nice scenery for The Count of Monte Cristo. We get to see scenes around the city of Marseilles: outdoor scenes, seaside scenes, though the houses towards the beginning are poorer than later in the movie. We get to see the prison that Edmond spends a good deal of time in (like I said before, it is gritty): because of it's grittiness, there aren't a lot of colors that are used during the prison scenes and is mostly grey. Later in the movie, we get to see more of the grander houses (which look very nice, by the way).

Edmond as the Count of Monte Cristo with Mercedes.
Costuming is great! Though I did have a little difficulty placing the years the story takes place later in the movie. The beginning of the story features what are obviously Regency fashions, but later in the story after Edmond is in prison for over a decade, the fashions give mixed signals. There were some women walking in public that had on some 1820s fashions, but at the same time, Mercedes had what appeared to be Regency fashions (and since she married into a wealthy family, she would be able to keep up with the latest fashions. But nevertheless, the costuming is beautiful!

Overall: 4/5 
My mom and I enjoyed this movie. It was suspenseful at times. The plot was interesting and didn't leave us bored to tears. Sure, it's not like the book (from what I've read about the book), but the movie is a good movie in it's own right. The costumes are great and definitely worth a look at.

The Count of Monte Cristo is rated PG-13. Keep in mind, that my mom and I caught this on TV one day, so some of the content was cut out. From what we saw, there wasn't anything too horrible in this movie. There is some violence with some blood, but nothing is overtly graphic. There are also a couple of "more mature" scenes, but they are short and not graphic. Probably the PG-13 parts were more for the violence than anything else.

The Count of Monte Cristo is available on DVD. It is rated PG-13 and runs for 131 minutes.


  1. this movie is fantastic, is one of my favorites

  2. The count of monte christo is one of my all time fave books....which is why no film will ever live up to the book (I think you'd need a tv series- breaking it up into 'chapters to really get all the nuances and details of the book).
    But for something loosely based its not bad. I like the costumes and also how there is a focus on the prison 'section' as in the book its quite significant to his 'emotional' state and some of his later decisions.


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