WATERWORLD's Kevin Reynolds is simply the wrong director to attempt yet
another adaptation of Alexandre Dumas's classic tale, THE COUNT OF MONTE
CRISTO. He covers all of the bases, but his rendition is lifeless and flat.
The film's talented leads are miscast, and Reynolds's by-the-numbers movie
would be more appropriate as a Hallmark television production than as a
theatrical release. Still, the sets are sumptuous and the scenery -- it was
filmed completely on location in Ireland and Malta -- is uniformly
As most of us know, the story is a tale of long planned revenge. Edmund
Dantes (James Caviezel from FREQUENCY) is falsely imprisoned for treason by
Villefort (James Frain), who is working in collusion with Fernand Mondego
(Guy Pearce from MEMENTO). Edmund thinks that Fernand is his best friend,
but Fernand is a deceitful guy who has his eyes on Mercedes, Edmund's
fiancée. Dagmara Dominczyk phones in her part as Mercedes.
The supporting cast is much more effective. Richard Harris does a nice turn
as Faria, Edmund's next-door neighbor in prison. Edmund and Faria spend
many long years together trying to dig their way to freedom. The best
performance is turned in by Luis Guzman, as Jacopo, Edmund's right-hand-man
after Edmund becomes known as the Count of Monte Cristo.
If you haven't seen other cinematic versions of this Dumas story, you'll
probably enjoy this one. But if you've seen others, this one just feels
like warmed up leftovers that aren't heated enough to be tasty.
THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO runs too long at 2:10. It is rated PG-13 for
"adventure violence/swordplay and some sensuality" and would be acceptable
for kids around 8 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 12, gave it *** 1/2. He liked the story and the
authentic sets. His favorite part was the prison sequence, especially the
tunneling. He said he would have been happy to have had it all set in the
prison and was disappointed when the story shifted to Paris.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes