I was skeptic as I approached the theater to see this flick. Iíve tampered my mind already thanks to mattmulcahey when he said that the film wasnít faithful to the book in many certain ways, and also because the mastermind behind this film, Kevin Reynolds, is responsible for doing such train wrecks like Robin Hood and Waterworld. Fortunately, I havenít read the book, and with that in mind, I went to watch it. I found it surprisingly good. Sure, the storyline is pretty shaky, and it drags at some points, and inaccurate, I believe in others, but itís actually a pretty good movie, my dad liked it, and I must say that I also approve.The film, based in the classic by Alexandre Dumas, is the story of two friends, Edmund Dantes (James Caviezel), and Fernand Mondego (Guy Pearce), that have landed on the island of Elba, where the British have exiled Napoleon (Alex Norton). They arrive with one hope, save their captainís life. They fail, but Napoleon gives Dantes a letter supposedly with non-military intentions. Mondengo though, finds out about the letter, and when the time comes when they return to Marseilles, Dantes is betrayed by his friend, and is sent prisoner to the Chateau DíIf. There he meets an old man called Abbe Faria (Richard Harris), and old Army captain who is prisoner there for not telling where the treasure of a famed prince is located. Dantes would befriend Abbe, and soon heíd be taught by Abbe and be educated. After being imprisoned for 13 years, Dantes manages to escape, and soon he sets course towards the island of Monte Cristo, where Abbe said the treasure was. Soon, with new riches, he finally sets in motion his plan to seek revenge against Montero and all those involved that betrayed him, including Dantesí former girlfriend Mercedes (Dagmara Dominczyk) whom married Montero.
"An All Right Movie"
One of the actually good things that I found great in the movie were the action scenes, since they were really well staged, and there was some great suspense buildup in many scenes. I liked that since it was well executed. Seems that Reynolds has finally learned the lesson. The cinematography in many scenes was actually petty cool, and that helped a lot in building the movieís atmosphere of suspense. The storyline was actually good, and it had its share of good moments. Though I must give the benefit of the doubt of the scripts faithfulness, that it doesnít follow closely the book in certain parts, especially in the very relationship between Dantes and Modego. I also had a problem with some of the scenes, where it involves Dantes, now the count of Monte Cristo, manages to pass by unrecognized despite the fact that even a blind man can tell who the hell is the little fuck behind that short mustache and beard. Those scenes were good enough to spin off some chuckles from me. It wouldíve been better had he done himself some better facial work, simply by just making his beard larger or shaving his head, but no, and the resulting effect is just ridiculous. Other than that, the rest of the film was really good, and I managed to enjoy the film. The swashbuckling scenes somehow left something to be desired but they manage to be still intriguing.
The performances were all right. James Caviezel finally gives a good performance since The Thin Red Line, after such wooden acting back in Frequency and Angel Eyes. Guy Pearce is surprisingly good in the role of villain Mondego, and is actually the first time I see him on the other side of the coin. Richard Harris is still proving why heís such a great actor and such an underrated one. The rest of the cast was also up to standards. Kevin Reynolds for the look of it, has finally learned how to direct a film well, and despite a few fuck ups, within the script amongst others, I must say that this is a decent work, and I praise him for that, lets hope he keeps improving.In the end, I must say that had I read the book, I wouldíve blasted this film to hell for every flaw that it committed, but since I havenít and from what I saw in this film, Iíd recommend it. Itís actually a very entertaining film, and I liked it. The film deserves a casual view from everybody, for those who have read the book, you may hate it, but for those who havenít youíll probably like it.
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originally posted: 02/08/02 21:40:22