On The Count of Monte Cristo

Book coverWell, it should come full circle: I finished the book last month after having read the comic book adaptation last year sometime, and I was going to run through Villages at Monte Crist again this weekend, so I sat down to watch the 2002 film again (the first time I’ve seen it since seeing it in the theatre in 2002).

Of course, since I just read the book, I had a keen awareness of how the book was compressed. As I mentioned in my review, the long novel really was like a trilogy, with the first part being the unjust arrest and confinement of Edmond Dant├Ęs, the middle part is the things that go on during his confinement amongst the other players along with the beginnings of his plots, and the third is the culmination of his plots and his thoughts of whether his revenge is right or not.

The film covers the first part of the book, abbreviated, along with the third, really abbreviated. You can contrast the liberties the film takes with the original storyline, which are many. Alright, it’s about fitting it into a film, so I can see that.

However: As a film, the second half, where the Count of Monte Cristo emerges, saves young Albert from the thieves and is introduced into Paris to seek his abbreviated revenge against Danglars, Villefort, and Fernand Mondego. Which he does with a single plot involving the theft of a shipment of gold.

Which is not like the book at all.

Of course, one cannot judge a two hour film adapted from a one thousand page novel. One should test how the movie hangs on its own.

It’s paced fast enough, and, again, I like the first part, but the last half moves too quickly, really, to have depth (although it has action).

Alterations to the novel’s plot in service of the film treatment are forgiven for the most part, as they tighten the plot for a shorter treatment.

So it’s good enough to watch again, which I probably will with my boys this summer.