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The Count of Monte Cristo is an American adventure film released in 2002. The film was directed by Kevin Reynolds who had decided to create an adaptation of the novel written by Alexandre Dumas. Kevin Reynolds is known for such movies as Fandango, Waterworld and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Many experts and critics say that the director tried to follow the plot of the book. However, numerous elements differ from the original bookish variant. I want to emphasize that we must not compare the novel and its adaptation inasmuch as Kevin Reynolds demonstrated his own vision and understanding of the novel. What is more, it is impossible to create a movie that will contain every detail of the original book. Thus, I will share my impressions about Reynolds’ interpretation of The Count of Monte Cristo.
As might be expected, the film was very successful in its time. Its budget was about 35 million dollars. The entire team earned more than 75 million. The movies of the first parts of the 2000s were still based on performance and plot. Special effects and computer technologies were not so intensive at that time. For that reason, much money on the film’s budget was spent on decorations, equipment, weapon, costumes, etc. Without a doubt, it is possible to ‘draw’ these elements on the computer now. Unluckily, I have not read the novel written by Alexandre Dumas yet, therefore I will dwell on the quality of the film paying little attention to the book.
Foremost, I will focus on the plot of The Count of Monte Cristo. The whole story whirls around the love affair between the main character Edmond Dantès and Mercédès. Dantès and his friend Fernand Mondego traveled on a French trading ship in 1815. They were chased by British Dragoons who thought that both friends were the spies of Napoleon Bonaparte. The adventure starts with the task offered by Bonaparte. He asked Dantès and Mondego to deliver a special letter. The task was secret and dangerous. Mondego decided to betray his friend and the latter becomes imprisoned in Chateau d’If where he spent many years. Mondego committed such a sneaky and ignoble thing whereas he wanted to separate Dantès and Mercédès. In prison, Dantès met an elderly priest Faria who helped him escape from jail and become rich. He shared his treasure map with his new friend. When Dantès found this fortune, he called himself Count of Monte Cristo to hide his personality. He decided to get Mercédès back forasmuch she was Mondego’s wife. Undoubtedly, in the end, Dantès killed Mondego and stayed Mercédès.
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Although the plot of the movie is quite predictable and even banal, it is still gripping and admirable. If you are a fan of adventures and old-style weapons, pirates, duels, Napoleon, etc., you will definitely enjoy The Count of Monte Cristo. I appreciate the work of the entire staff, especially the designer’s work. The costumes and weapons are authentic and resemble genuine rifles and swords of the 19th century. Furthermore, you will notice excellent and grand costumes of the aristocracy and shabby rags of common poor people. As a result, we catch the image of the French society of the 19th century. The director chose the right place for the film. You will see fortresses, old buildings, rocks, caves, tunnels, seashores and picturesque views of the seaside.
I respect the performance of the cast. Such stars as Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, James Frain, and Dagmara Dominczyk played well and improved the total atmosphere of the film with the jokes, sorrow, puzzlement, etc. As I have said before, the film would not be successful without the skills and professionalism of the cast. They impress with their behavior in the scenes of battles and in comic situations.
After all, I want to pay attention to the soundtracks that transfer us into the 19th century. Kevin Reynolds chose classical music performed by the London Metropolitan Orchestra.
The Count of Monte Cristo is a remarkable film that is surely worth attention. Although I have seen several adaptations of this novel, I admire this screen version most whereas it charms the viewer with its quaint and magnificent atmosphere.