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3.9 out of 5 stars 216 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Richard Harris, James Frain, Dagmara Dominczyk
  • Directors: Kevin Reynolds
  • Writers: Alexandre Dumas père, Jay Wolpert
  • Producers: Andrew Somper, Chris Brigham, Chris Chrisafis, Derek Evans, Gary Barber
  • Format: NTSC
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Buena Vista
  • VHS Release Date: Sept. 10 2002
  • Run Time: 131 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 216 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00006AUN6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,009 in Video (See Top 100 in Video)
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Product Description

Special Features

Audio Commentary With Director Kevin Reynolds --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I read Dumas' book, though an abridged version, and really enjoyed the pace of his story. So when I had to stay over at my uncle's house for the weekend, I got a chance to view this movie adaption from his movie library. After first choosing a Guy Pearce movie called "Memento", which had something to do with memory loss, I turned that movie off after 20 minutes, when I got too confused with it. To my surprise, Pearce is also in the The Count of Monte Cristo. I first saw Pearce in the superb L.A Confidential. Pearce is an impressive actor, even after the "what's the plot" story of Memento. Pearce plays the chief villain in the movie, Fernand, jealous of Edmond Dantes played by Jim Caviezel.
Dumas' classic story of wealth and revenge is unforgettable. Caviezel is very good as Edmond Dantes, the wrongly accused scapegoat of the Assistant Prosecutor, Villefort. The scene in which he is imprisoned and whipped with full beard, long hair made me wonder if Mel Gibson chose Caviezel to play Christ after viewing this scene. It reminded me of the crucifix scene of Gibson's "Passion" film. Dantes (Caviezel) is aided by an imprisoned priest played by an unrecognizable Richard Harris. The priest helps Dantes by helping him learn to read and improve his dexterity in dueling. The priest's death however helps Dantes the most, for Dantes uses the body bag meant for the priest to make his escape and find the treasure that will make him the Count of Monte Cristo. Once he becomes the Count, he exacts revenge (the fun part of the movie) on those who wronged him.
I suggest reading the book first, because you'll be imagining the actions taking place as you read Dumas' words.
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Format: Blu-ray
This swashbuckler from Kevin Reynolds has enough going for it to leave one ultimately satisfied and entertained but I can't escape a conviction that the film achieves no more than the sum of its parts. With so many screen adaptations of Alexander Dumas' literary classic, it was a monumental challenge to come up with something fresh and relevant without losing the spirit of the book. Other critics have pointed out that the film departs substantially from Dumas towards the end. Much is changed although the main storyline of betrayal, imprisonment and revenge remains. Strictly within its own terms of reference the production works quite well.

Director Reynolds, like Ridley Scott, excels with lighting, colour and framing his pictures to "force the eye." He captures an appropriate classical look with rich, deep colours, and the shadow contrast in scenes with candles or firelight is noticeably good. Acting is uniformly accomplished in the main roles. Jim Caviezel offers a thoroughly believable hero in Edmond Dantes and Guy Pearce is a delight as the dissolute and cynical betrayer Count Mondego. My own favourites are Richard Harris who brings a gentle wisdom and humanity to the part of the Abbe Faria, and the extraordinary Michael Wincott as the deliciously sadistic warden of the Chateau d'If, Armand Dorleac.

One can revel in neat lines of dialogue like "treason is only a matter of dates," or "I lied....I am a priest, not a saint." There are also many humorous asides that are guaranteed to elicit a chuckle, but here I think is a problem. The dialogue contains sudden lapses into modern idiom which, while often amusing, conflict with the general period language of the story and this may break the spell for certain viewers.
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Format: DVD
I love the book, which supposedly means I'm in no condition to enjoy a good movie, much less know a bad one when I see it. Anyway, I put off watching this thing because I figured they would screw it up. But actually, the first third of the movie was pretty good. My hopes rose, foolishly, and then the harsh glare of bad scripting sent them crashing into the sea. The 1975 version is vastly superior, being much more believable and stylish. This 2002 effort isn't exactly awful, mainly it's just boring.
The Caviezel fellow did a nice job in the first part of the film, playing the naive sailor/prisoner. The conversion to the Count was never believable, however, always coming off as a bit of a putz. He simply didn't fill the role. The scenes with the Abbé Farria were the most successful. And although the Chateau d'If whipping scenes were gratuitous, and the book never actually portrayed the landing on Elba, I think they enhanced the story. So there!
So the betrayal, false imprisonment, suffering, and relationship with the Abbé weren't badly done. Caviezel played the prisoner bit very well, and it seemed a real evolution was going on as the years went by. Thus, the set-up of the main plot was accomplished, but the execution was definitely botched.
It all went downhill with the hot air balloon bit. It was stupid. I like Luiz Guzman, but what was he doing in this movie? His absurd portrayal, I guess some see it as "comic relief" was just campy, just plain bad, and the rest of the movie sank like a stone. Caviezel's "Count" was merely foppish and ridiculous. With Caviezel as Count Clown dandy, instead of the dangerous and inscrutable figure of the novel, it all just fell apart. That's not being a stickler to the book, that's just translating the basic character to film.
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