Hi Bryan Here….
There has been tons of versions of this tale over the years. This 2002 version is highly entertaining and does quite a bit right. ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ is a tale of pure and simple revenge. It really is the best motivator isn’t it? So for this version, the meat and potatoes are taken from the novel and turned into a pretty great adventure full of thrills and excitement. Jim Caviezel and Guy Pearce are amazing in the film. Definitely a fun film and a great telling of this classic novel.
Based on the Alexandre Dumas iconic novel, the story follows Edmond Dantes (Jim Caviezel), a sweet and innocent man who lives for his beautiful girlfriend, Mercedes (Dagmara Dominczyk). He wants to marry her more than anything and live a quiet happy life. To his dismay, he is betrayed by his so called best friend out of jealousy, Fernand Mondego (Guy Pierce). And Edmond is set up and falsely imprisoned for treason. Dantes becomes fueled with anger and vengeance and eventually learns some useful skills and escapes. He is a changed man and the once innocent and sweet man can now transform into an insane yet charming and dangerous guy known as the Count of Monte Cristo. He now has the knowledge and guts to create a scheme to exact revenge on those who ruined his life. So yes, this is a Hollywood portrayal of the novel, so it is more adventure and action than what the novel had, but that isn’t bad. It keeps you entertained throughout the whole film. The script isn’t terrible and the direction and action is really decent. It’s well executed and is one fun ride. If you are a fan of the book or story and love adventure films, then this release is right up your alley. Definitely check it out. A timeless story and a good version of that classic here.
The movie is presented in a 1080p/VC-1 transfer in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The video looks decent here and there, but overall it seemed a bit clouded. Overall, the movie is in good shape with a very thin layer of grain. There’s just not a whole lot of vibrant color nor is there pop or depth. However the set pieces and backgrounds look amazing. It’s not the worst video I have seen, but it’s not the best either. The audio has an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 track with optional English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles. This is superior to the video presentation. The dialogue is mostly clear with a crackle here and there and is mostly a front speaker heavy mix. The sword hits and explosions sound exceptionally good though. Being an adventure film, I wanted more from this audio mix.
- Commentary with Director Kevin Reynolds – Kevin gives an insightful and very truthful commentary on how he made the film and all the problems he had while making it. This is an excellent commentary and I applaud Reynolds for telling it like it is. Warts and all.
- Deleted and Alternate Scenes (SD, 22 min) – Five deleted scenes are included here and are available to watch separately or together. An introduction by the director and editor is included before each sequence that explains why it was cut. Most of the scenes are for the minor supporting characters and one of them giving the film a much darker and sinister tone. The best one is an alternate ending duel. But it was good that they kept it out.
- An Epic Reborn (SD, 34 min) – Four featurettes are included here and are available to watch separately or together. This is your basic documentary of the making of the film. It explores the original writer of the novel Dumas, the stunts in the film, the writing, filming, costumes and much more.
- En Garde: Multi-Angle Dailies (SD, 3 min) – A split-screen version of the final duel complete with director commentary where he discusses the advantages of shooting from different angles at the same time.
- Layer-By-Layer: Sound Design (SD, 5 min) – The prison escape scene is included here with four separate audio tracks that can be toggled with the audio button on your remote. The tracks present the composite as heard in the film, and isolated mixes for the dialogue, music, and effects.
THE ULTIMATE WORD
This 2002 version of the classic ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ is simple yet very entertaining. Highly adventurous and thrilling, but somewhat lacking the heavier tones from the book. The extras are top notch on this release and the audio and visual presentations are fairly decent for the most part. This is a great release and it looks pretty good in hi-def. If you are a fan of adventure and the novel itself then this is a must own.