The Count of Monte Cristo (Blu-ray)
Based on the classic literary masterpiece of the same name, the 2002 cinematic version of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO is a fun and entertaining adventure. A young sailor is betrayed by a lifelong friend and confidant and is sentenced to death. All believe the sailor, Edmond Dantes, to have died thanks to the false treason accusation. Dantes, however, has not died and suffers thirteen long, torturous, solitary years in a brutal prison. His hope is renewed when an educated prisoner tunnels into Dantes’s cell. Finding friendship, the duo work together to tunnel out of the prison. Sharing knowledge and a treasure map to an incredible fortune it is unfortunate that only Dantes makes the escape yet now he has the means to act on revenge. Through a series of adventures after his escape, he finally returns home after sixteen years to many surprises and a wealth that masks his former identity.
For some reason, the idea of this film never quite appealed to me. So, when my husband suggested I would like this picture, I was reluctant to give it a try. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome. The adventure, while cheesy at times, greatly entertains. Truly, we are taken on a fabulous journey, tracking one man’s growth from an innocent, naïve sailor, to a wealthy, brooding count in need of revenge and redemption. Toss a love story into the mix and I think I’ve found the perfect blend of engaging cinema.
As the tortured sailor, Dantes, Jim Caviezel is superb. He shows an incredible range with this character that I didn’t fully appreciate until the brief flashback when Dantes returns to Marseilles after a decade and a half. The transformation is seamless that it was not until this point that I realized how great of a job Caviezel had done with Dantes.
THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO would be nothing without the best friend villain, Fernand Mondego, exquisitely performed by the fabulous Guy Pierce. The haughty confidence he exudes from start to finish is a treat. From the way he duels with a sword or the sweeping grand gesture he makes just to sit down is deliberate and precise. Caring for no one or nothing except for his bank account, he is spoiled and impulsive, which explains the ease in which he betrays a loyal friend. Watching him unravel as his funds dry up, you gain a sense of his desperation.
Other standout performances that require recognition are Richard Harris as the prisoner who befriends Dantes. Randomly, this made me miss him as the original Albus Dumbledore in HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE. Mentoring Dantes much like he mentored Harry, I was sad for the loss of such a talented and seasoned actor. I really enjoyed the onscreen friendship between the two prisoners. Speaking of prisoners, no one can pull off creepy, sinister prison warden like Michael Wincott (THE CROW). Just thinking about his icy cold voice and delight he took whipping the accused, gives me chills! Lastly, up and coming star and household name, Henry Cavill (IMMORTALS, MAN OF STEEL) as Albert is decent as the eager to please sixteen year old boy.
If you haven’t seen this movie, what are you waiting for? It is an enjoyable adventure that has a little bit of everything for everyone. I am excited and look forward to my second viewing.
Video (1.85:1): Nice transfer to Blu-ray.
Audio (5.1 Dolby Digital): Excellent sound for this picture that has great dialogue and fun explosions.
An Epic Reborn (34:05): Four featurettes (The Pen, Adapting A Classic, The Napoleonic World, The Clash of Steel) creating the world of “The Count Of Monte Cristo”.
Deleted & Alternate Scenes (22:17): Six deleted and alternate scenes with introductions by director Kevin Reynolds and editor Stephen Semel. The two men discuss their reasoning behind specific cuts and edits.
En Garde: Multi-Angle Dailies (3:02): Take a multi-camera look at the pivotal final sword-fighting scene with Kevin Reynolds narrating.
Layer-By-Layer: Sound Design (4:47): View the “Edmond’s Escape” scene with four different audio tracks. With this feature you can use the Audio button on your remote to switch between the composite track, dialogue track, music track or sound effects track.
Audio Commentary: Director Kevin Reynolds walks us through the film in this typical commentary. He discusses areas that the film varied from the book written by Alexandre Dumas.