When I asked my husband if he wanted to watch The Count of Monte Cristo with me, he groaned and said something about English assignments and high school and “all over again.” When I told him it was a recent adaption (2002), he stopped acting like he was being tortured but didn’t seem convinced that he would like it. Guess what. Here’s what he said when the movie was over: “That was actually really good. You have good taste.” I mean, I think I have good taste but it’s always nice to get validation. :) I love that he said “actually” as if he were surprised.
I agree with my husband. I thought this was a great and entertaining adaption of The Count of Monte Cristo. There were, of course, differences from the book (Read my book review of The Count of Monte Cristo). Since I love to over analyze things I’ll give you a short and long version about which was better. The long version might be kind of spoilery of either the book or the movie but I’ll keep the short version spoiler free.
In the movie, some of the motives and some of the relationships changed, but the theme of revenge stayed the same. Some of the relationship changes were so drastic that it might bug you if you’re a purist to the book. They did bug me a little since I knew what they were supposed to be, but having these new relationships really amped up the drama which is always good for a movie. There’s also a few scenes added to amp up the action – like a really cool sword fight – but I think overall, the changes that were made to the movie added to the entertainment even if it wasn’t a very faithful adaption. I also think the changes made it so you could enjoy the movie on it’s own without having read the book. If my husband who hadn’t read the book really enjoyed it, I think that’s a sign of a good movie regardless of how faithful to the book it was. I wish it had stuck a little more to the book, but a lot of the overall story lines stayed the same and I think it was a great, fun movie worth watching. I felt like the book had much more depth and the revenge was better. I think I would pick the book over the movie on this one.
The relationship changes are quite drastic from what they are in the book. Here’s the first example of a change. Mondego is Dantes’ friend and not Mercedes’ cousin. This added some interesting drama because it made the betrayal by him even more awful and they probably took away the cousin thing because ew. But I missed the story line of Mondego in the book becoming a Count (he already is one in the movie) by questionable means and then having it come back to haunt him.
The motive behind Dantes carrying the letter that dooms him to prison was to save his life and not as a favor to a dying captain. This makes him look more like a victim and less like an idiot that would carry a letter from Napoleon when he’s been exiled. I’m just realizing as I’m writing this that Dantes was kind of dumb in the book. He’s definitely not dumb after he gets out of prison, but he was to start with. Poor Book Dantes was a victim of his own idiocy.
Dantes gets unjustly arrested. In the movie he’s much more active in fighting against his arrest because he’s smarter apparently than he was in the book. He even gets away and goes to his “friend” Mondego’s house for help! Oops he’s the one that sent him there. Dantes doesn’t find out in the book who betrayed him before he went to prison because, as I’ve said before, he was dumb as a rock.
Chateau D’if was a real place. How cool is that?! I don’t know if the movie was filmed here, but I think it’s awesome that this prison is still around so I googled it, of course. As one does.
The prison stay at Chateau D’if and escape was pretty accurate with the book, though they added whipping so that SOMETHING at least is happening. They also notice Dantes is missing when he escapes a lot sooner than they did in the book. And the Warden falling in after Dantes was strange. That wasn’t in the book. I’m not sure what the point of that was.
I loved how the movie added a fight to the death to join the smugglers. It showed Dantes cleverness. In the book he just gets to join when they see how good he is at sailing.
After that, we go straight to Paris and then they go to Italy later which is reverse from the book. Danglars has a career change in the movie – he’s a shipper instead of a banker.
After how long it took in the book, the revenges seem to come one right after the other in the movie. Villefort’s story line was sadly shortened. Villefort kills his father by conspiracy in the movie, but the book was much better because he used his father to play political games to stay on top. It made Villefort a much more shady character. And the whole poisoning story line was left out. Even though it was slow getting around to all the people being poisoned, that was part of the drama of it all. Sadly, Danglars revenge was much better in the book.
Then the end goes out with more drama! And an exciting sword fight! Which, honestly, was an exciting way to end the movie. The end of the book was good as well but it was more of a tying everything up ending.
Overall, I really enjoyed this entertaining adaption but it’s not a very faithful adaption and I enjoyed the depth of the novel much more. So book wins for me!