Main cast: Jim Caviezel (Edmond Dantès), Guy Pearce (Fernand Mondego), Richard Harris (Abbé Faria), James Frain (Monsieur de Villefort), Dagmara Domińczyk (Mercédès Iguanada), Luis Guzmán (Jacobo), Michael Wincott (Dorleac), Albie Woodington (Hermine Danglars), and Henry Cavill (Albert Mondego)
Director: Kevin Reynolds
Can I say that the book on which The Count of Monte Cristo is based on is one of the worst books I’ve ever read? Nonexistent characterization, worse sense of pacing, and misogyny – the book has this and more crap. I think Alexandre Dumas is a horrible writer who writes pap best for lil’ boys to read, and it pains me that someone like RL Stevenson is relegated to being a hack while people make movies out of Mr Dumas’s leftovers.
But this movie is amazing in that it makes the book looks good.
The main problem is Jim Caviezel. He plays Edmond Dantès with all the liveliness of a ten-day old corpse warmed over. Edmond is supposed to be the hero framed by his good friend Fernand Mondego, the son of a Count as opposed to Eddie, the son of a mere clerk, and sent to rot for more than ten years in a rank and nasty island jail. In this movie, the prison is like a kung fu camp, as our hero chances upon an old priest who not only teaches Eddie to read but also to do brilliant swordplay, understand Newton’s laws, dig Eddie a tunnel to escape, and even hand Eddie a treasure map to fabulous treasures hidden in Monte Cristo! And even when dead, Mr Deus Ex Machina allows Eddie to use his corpse as a means of escape.
So Eddie comes out, free, looking not a day older or wasted from 13 or 14 years of incarceration and beating, and joins a pirate crew oh, ten seconds after he has swam far, far away to a distant island. This after he can still find the energy to fight the supposedly nastiest, bestest knifer in the pirate pack. I am not making this up!
The bestest knifer becomes Eddie’s devoted slave forever and ever, and Eddie grows a goatee, so nobody can recognize him even if he looks just like he was before he was incarcerated. He and stupid follower find the treasure in, oh, three minutes after setting foot on Monte Cristo – it is very carefully hidden, I’m sure, with huge dark caskets at the bottom of a clear blue lagoon that doesn’t seem that deep at all.
He learns that his girlie is now married to his enemy. He ruins the enemy and his partner, gets the girl, girl gets shot, hero leaves her to indulge in a swordfight with enemy, and cut to a happy ending, where said heroine bears no bullet wound scar on her fair, creamy skin.
To call this movie crap and stupid beyond belief is an understatement. The only good thing is Guy Pearce, whose Fernando reeks of sheer animal magnetism. But of course, he has to turn into a one-dimensional nutcase in the end, a nutcase with bad, oily curly wig to boot. Eeuw.