A couple of years ago, I revisited the Richard Chamberlain The Count of Monte Cristo (1975) and was treated to an eye-opening example of how movies that seemed pretty great as a kid really did not hold up over time. So, today I got around to re-watching Jim Caviezel in The Count of Monte Cristo (2002), a film that I saw 20 years ago and thought was terrible, hoping maybe time had mellowed me out somewhat to help me see the film with new eyes.
Well, I’m here to report that it’s still a terrible movie, but I kept finding myself enjoying it despite that fact. I’m honestly at a loss to explain how I could sit through a film that was managing to get on several nerves all at once and yet I still was sucked into the underwhelming drama of the two very flat-affect leads so I couldn’t just turn it off and walk away. Jim Caviezel as Edmond and Dagmara Dominczyk as Mercedes are two very pretty people who managed to be blander than day-old oatmeal as they mumbled their way through the dialogue, while Guy Ritchie must have gotten TMJ from chewing all that scenery. About the only actor that didn’t make my teeth itch was Luis Guzman as Edmond’s right hand man, Jacopo. Honestly, this is not surprising considering it was directed by Kevin Reynolds, the same guy who brought us Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1987), another film that is notable for its absolutely dull-as-fuck main characters and an over-the-top scene-stealing villain who somehow manages to make watching the film worth it.
The Count of Monte Cristo clearly had a Budget(TM), because the costumes, sets, and props were all really good. This helped assuage the pain of listening to Mercedes and Edmond deliver their lines without moving their lips or having expressions because there was always something interesting to look at when the main characters were too boring to give a fuck about. The costumes were designed by veteran designer Tom Rand, who also designed another one of my favorite Napoleonic Era films, The Duelists (which I would love to cover one of these days, if only I could find someone who actually knows anything about Napoleonic military uniforms to talk about the costumes with some expertise and not just my usual “Uh, I dunno, it just looks hella cool” take on everything).
Have you seen The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)? Tell us what you thought about it in the comments!