johnlink ranks THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (2002)

This is a movie I think of as an old stand by. I’ve seen it a few times, and it is thoroughly entertaining. This, unless something completely strange happens here on New Year’s Eve, is my last film of 2011. I figured I would go out on a fun note.

I watched THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (2002) on 12.30.11. It was my fourth viewing of the film.

I am a sucker for pretty much any film which features some light comedy, high adventure, swordfighting, imprisonment, mentoring, and revenge. I have sort of a blind spot for these flicks. A movie could do these things at a slightly above average rate, and I would hold it in higher regard than some other genres.

I say that because I know that THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO has its flaws. I see it in the plastic gold coins poorly foleyed to sound like real gold. I see it in some of the set pieces which are clearly less authentic than one would hope. I hear it in Luis Guzman’s voice, an actor I normally love, who’s dialogue comes across as regrettably too modern in this film.

But there is too much fun to be had here to ignore, and certainly enough to render the flaws nearly moot. The late Richard Harris, King Arthur (or perhaps a Man Called Horse) to an older generation and the original Dumbledore to a younger generation, is stellar as the prisoner who teaches Edmund Dantes all he will need to eventually become the Count of Monte Cristo. Their scenes in the Chateau D’if are the lightest and most entertaining parts of the film, while also being the darkest aesthetically.

I love the Guy Pearce and Jim Caviezel relationship as Mondego and Dantes, respectively. Their friendship seems dangerous, even if Dantes comes across as a bit too naive and uneducated to ever be worthy of a captaining a ship. I’ve been watching Caviezel’s TV show this year, PERSON OF INTEREST (created by Jonathan Nolan), and seeing that show makes me appreciate his portrayal of Dantes even more. Dante and John Reese may not be all that different despite their century plus removal from each other, but I like the characters Caviezel creates.

This movie skips along quickly, the revenge seeming to come barreling together all at once. I do wish that the payoff could have been dragged out some more. I’m not sure it goes too fast technically speaking, but after watching Dantes suffer for so long, I want to see him revel in the misfortune of his enemies (even if that is not what Richard Harris wants).

Watching this again reveals to me that the filmic nature of this movie is not all there, and that the writing is a little bit weaker than I had thought. But the performances are very solid, and there is no denying that this is about as much fun as a Alexandre Dumas film gets. Now, if only they could get a THREE MUSKETEERS right…





~ by johnlink00 on December 31, 2011.

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