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The Count of Monte Cristo [VHS] (2002)

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Product details

  • Actors: Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Richard Harris, James Frain, Dagmara Dominczyk
  • Directors: Kevin Reynolds
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
  • VHS Release Date: 3 Feb 2003
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000063W1Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 306,805 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Betrayed by his childhood friend Fernand (Guy Pearce), sailor Edmond Dantes (Jim Caviezel) is found guilty of trumped-up charges and sent to the island prison of Chateau d'If. Thirteen years later, having learnt the art of fencing from the Abbé Faria (Richard Harris), a fellow inmate who also revealed to him the location of a vast treasure hidden on the island of Monte Cristo, Edmond realises that the time has come and carries out a daring escape attempt. Taking the treasure for himself, he reappears as the Count of Monte Cristo and becomes the talk of Parisian society; but he soon learns that Fernand has married Mercédès (Dagmara Dominczyk), Edmond's own childhood sweetheart, and starts drawing up his plans for revenge.

From Amazon.co.uk

Retelling a story that has made it onto the silver screen more than most, this latest adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo makes yet another swashbuckling attempt to win over a new generation of cinema goers. A dashing James Caviezel takes the role of the Count, who is driven by a desire for revenge after being betrayed by his best friend Fernand (played by a dishevelled Guy Pearce) and landed with 16 years of solitary confinement in Chateau D'If, a damp cavernous prison. Thus the scene is set for a good old-fashioned romp.

The trouble with this "re-imagining" (to borrow a phrase from Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes) is that it's never quite sure whether to take itself seriously or not. Alexandre Dumas's original story is a traditionally melodramatic tale of deceit and double-crossing, with clear-cut bad guys and a moral lesson to be learned at the end. Here, director Kevin Reynolds appears unsure about whether to stick with tradition or bring the story up to date and turn it into a post-modern play on the old Victorian values and style. When the Count and his heavy-breathing loved one are reunited, their kiss is actually framed as a cameo. Both lead actors are also prone to heavy bouts of overacting, garnishing their performances with exaggerated baroque gestures.

Clearly this is a film in which the actors could over-indulge themselves and (almost) get away with it, were it not for the fact that--bar Richard Harris as the "Priest"--none of them seem to have the faintest idea about how to conduct themselves in a period drama. This Count of Monte Cristo will leave the audience a little confused as to whether they should cry along with the story or laugh along with the actors. --Nikki Disney

On the DVD: The Count of Monte Cristo on disc offers no escape from the dry drawl of director Kevin Reynolds, who features in almost every element of the extensive extras package. With a shy studio disclaimer before his commentary, he's got a refreshingly frank attitude to explaining a movie's making. Also included are details of the ambitious swordfight choreography, the origins and adaptation of Dumas's classic book and how the sound was developed as well as a behind-the-scenes feature on location. Quite often the footage feels like a tourism promo for Malta. The 5.1 sound mix is superbly utilised (when Reynolds isn't talking) and the transfer (1.85:1) is as pristine as you'd hope and expect. --Paul Tonks --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Mar 2011
Format: DVD
Every once in a while, when Hollywood is stuck for new swashbuckling ideas, they turn to the writer of The Three Musketeers, The Man In The Iron Mask and The Count Of Monte Cristo-Alexandre Dumas père. Which of course is no bad thing as long as the adaptation is given care and consideration; which hasn't always been the case. So when it was announced that the director of Waterworld; Kevin Reynolds, was to direct the latest version of The Count Of Monte Cristo, many feared the worst. Made for around $35 million, Reynolds film fared OK at the Worldwide box office, taking in around $76 million. But although far from being a flop, it upped and vanished rather quickly and was barely given a mention come the arrival of 2003. Thankfully the film gathered momentum with its rental release and is now firmly established as a much loved genre piece.

On the two big hitting movie internet sites, Rotten Tomatoes & IMDb, the film scores 75% and 7.5 respectively, that's about right I would say. Reynolds film doesn't bring anything new to the table as regards the story, but if it isn't broke then why fix it? Staying safe and true to the spirit of the source, Reynolds has simply crafted a rip roaring movie about betrayal, torture, faith, revenge and love. Costumed it up and added the necessary sword play ingredient. All that was needed was for his cast to deliver performances worthy of such period shenanigans. And he got them.

James Caviezel plays Edmond Dantes. Two years away from playing Jesus Christ, the role that would make his name known, Caviezel had prior to Cristo looked anything but a leading man. But here he finds a role to get his teeth into and it's a comfortable fit, and crucially he seems to be having a good time with it.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By "themanwhosrarelythere" on 11 July 2002
Format: Theatrical Release
I've recently started learning to fence. Why? Because I have a great love for films such as this, sword fights are amazing when done well, and the climatic duel here is no exception. If you've seen the trailer you'll have seen a clip or two of it, and it is exciting and well choreographed, lots of flashing blades, and a couple of cutting quips thrown in for good measure.
Of the direction, after a few (well deserved, have you seen Waterworld?) years in the wilderness, Kevin Reynolds has made a decent movie again, and thankfully Kevin Costner's nowhere in sight. It looks great, the underworld rescue of Fernand's son by Dantes is really well done, shadows everywhere, and Monte Cristo's first appearance (by balloon) is also great to watch, slow, majestic, with a sea of awed French aristocrats staring up at this flying man.
Jim Caveziel is fantastic as the brooding, obssessed Edmond Dantes, although the script lets him down, which is where my main complaint come in: we are left without the deep insight into the mind of a man so whole heartedly bent on revenge that a longer, less Hollywood film might have given us, and that the tv version, with Depardieu, certainly did. It is too simplistic, Caveziel does his best, which is certainly good enough, but more care and attention to detail if you please. Oh, and while we're on the subject of complaints, I wanted more sword fights! A childish request I know, but like I said, I like seeing a good sword fight on screen.
As far as the rest of the cast goes, Guy Pearce seems determined to rank alongside Alan Rickman as a movie villain, and hams it up very entertainingly, with an amazing bouffant hairdo, achieved through 18th century hairdryers, i have no doubt.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Rich Milligan on 22 Aug 2005
Format: DVD
Having read many other reviews of this film, it would seem that the general consensus is that the film has managed to capture the Saturday matinee feeling of the great epic adventure films of yesteryear almost perfectly. I'm more than happy to echo this sentiment and say this was one of the most entertaining films I've seen in a while.
Based on the classic Alexandre Dumas book of the same name, it is the story of lowly born Edmond Dantes who, whilst diligently working his way up the social ladder by hard work and honesty is betrayed by his so-called fiend, the Count of Morcerf Fernand Mondego. Mondego is green with envy and more than a little enraptured by Dantes's fiancée, the stunning Mercedes Iguanada and once Dantes is out of the way he wastes no time in moving in on the now available Mercedes.
Poor old Edmond is not only out of the way, he is sent to the infamous prison castle of Chateau D'If where the prisoners are beaten every year on their anniversary of incarceration to remind them of the time they have been behind bars. Fortunately for Edmond he receives a "visit" by fellow prisoner Abbe Faria, an ex-soldier and priest, who not only is digging a tunnel out of the prison but also undertakes to teach the naïve Edmond lessons in subjects as diverse as sword fighting, economics, unarmed combat and reading and writing.
To tell any more of the plot would ruin the film, but suffice to say that what follows in a entertaining roller coaster ride of fun and adventure as Edmond, recreated as the Count of Monte Cristo, plans to extract his revenge on those who have betrayed him.
One of the best things about the film is that the cast, whilst being fairly familiar to cinema fans, are not big major stars.
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