Beatrix Potter | St. Louis, MO | 01/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favorite books of all time so I was hesitant to see it translated on film. I purchased this version as opposed to the newer/American one, because I thought a French production would lend a certain authenticity to it. Not surprisingly, the dvd leaves parts of the story out; that's the harsh reality of translating a book into film. There were a few cheesy images--like a small boat surrounded by whipping waves but the boat didn't really move. Oh well. It's not perfect. But it is VERY good. I would rather rationalize a large Gerard Depardieu as a starved prisoner than watch a version that purports to condense a fabulous story like this one into a two hour movie. Very well acted and I highly recommend."
An Amamzing Production
Yogi-D | San Antonio, TX. | 02/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a superb translation of the Dantes classic, quite possibly the best one to date. Gerarde Depardieu delivers a deep and moving performance as the count, and the star laden international cast does not disappoint either. I must admit it is difficult to perceive the 200+ pound Depardieu as a starving prisoner in the Chateau-Dif, but this is part of where a viewer must suspend belief and let the story be told, and it does this in such a wonderful manner. This is the first version of the story I have ever seen that does not try to abbreviate the tale, or make characters into composites of people from the book in an effort to save time. Albeit there are always some changes in a screen-play from a book, but this so far is the truest adaptation of Dantes work. For those who are learning French, or already know it and want to keep your language skills sharp what better way then to do it while watching a movie you will definitely enjoy. For those intimidated by subtitles, don't be with this film. The story is so easy to follow you could turn them off and still understand what is going on. You can't go wrong with this movie it's a sure winner for any fan of classic stories."
Best film adaptation yet, but still not perfect
Adam | 02/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a big fan of Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo, and read an unabridged version (the penguin classics edition) about 2 years ago. As you can imagine, faithfully converting a 1200+ page novel to film, even a 6 1/2+ hour film, is extremely difficult.
Judging the film on its own merits, it probably would have earned 5 stars. Despite it's length, it really doesn't have very many "slow" parts and I enjoyed it quite a bit, watching it over a period of two evenings. There are a few cheesy parts (it seems somewhat low budget and/or cheesy at times compared to the hollywood films we're used to), but the overall piece is excellent. The acting was good and the subtitles didn't bother me a bit, although I've never been bothered by subtitles.
I am a little bit surprised, however, at some of the reviews stating how true this film is to the novel - there really are a number of completely unneccessary differences versus the novel.
For example, it completely glosses over the entire first 1/4 or so of the book, without developing the relationship between Dantes and his accusors, and between Dantes and Faria. They also unneccessarily changed the dialogue of several key scenes, such as with Dantes' controntation with Morcerf, which detracted somewhat from the story if only for those of us who have read the book (come on though, how could the director think he knows better than Dumas?). The worst offense, however, was the ending - they completely changed it! Now, I understand some of the differences versus the novel were necessary given the task of converting 1200+ pages to 6.5 hours, but many of the differences were quite simply unnecessary and detracted from the story - hence the reason for 4 stars instead of 5.
On the plus side, I think Depardieu's interpretation of Monte Cristo was quite good, if a little unbelievable (come on, in order to pull off masquerading as 3-4 different characters without anyone catching on would require somewhat nondescript features, i.e. near average height and build ... Depardieu sticks out like a sore thumb regardless of which disguise he's wearing). But his Monte Cristo isn't the all-knowing, invincible Monte Cristo from the novel, and I think that does make the viewer better able to relate to the character.
Overall - a good interpretation of a great story. It's not perfect, but it's probably the best film adaptation out there."
Missing a star or two
J. MOLDOVAN | 10/06/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Almost everything that needs to be said about this version has already been said by other reviewers. I will only add three things which may explain my painful three stars instead of the five I would desperately like to give.
Firstly, as already mentioned, but needing emphasis in a big way - the physical quality of the two disks I got were atrocious. I had to rip and re-burn them to enable me to watch the whole series without interruption, and even then I had a hard error which I could not recover. Come on!!! This isn't the 1930's and we aren't talking about 45rpm scratchies. Not good enough!
Secondly, as a keen intermediate level student of French, I looked forward to being able to pick up a few gems while enjoying this magnificent story presented by a superb cast. It would have helped if the idiots who created the subtitles actually translated what was being said instead of just making some of it up themselves. (Example: "Donc, tu est sûr de ne pas pouvoir aimer une autre femme que Valentine de Villefort?" translated to "You're sure that Valentine is the one?".) I know, I know. Subtitles are always a problem, but gee, give us a break.
The final problem is the ending. It's ridiculous and has nothing to do with the original story. The ending for Monte Cristo was not some idyllic return to the past with his long lost love, who incidentally also betrayed him, but an attempt by an emotionally and physically exhausted man to find some happiness with a woman, the princess Haydée, who was also betrayed and who also suffered terribly as a result. The faux ending must have been created as a feel-good finale with an eye to the American market or something like that. It does leave a bad taste in the mouth though.
With all this in mind, you should still buy this version. It has lots and lots to offer and you will, as I have, enjoy hours of splendid viewing.