The Count of Monte Cristo

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Edmond Dantes (Gerard Depardieu) has been rotting away in a French prison for over fifteen years now, serving this sentence after having no trial, not even a charge brought against him. He was arrested while celebrating his engagement to his love (Naike Revelli), and has not breathed the air of a free man since. Over the years, he developed a friendship with some prisoners, but the strongest of these bonds is with Abbe, who is now nearing the end of his life. Just before he kicks off, Abbe tells Edmond of a place which is filled with riches and treasure. With his friend gone and wealth on his horizon, Edmond stages a brave and dangerous escape, and reclaims his freedom. Fresh in his mind is the task he wishes to complete, which is to gain revenge on those which caused him to lose years of his life and his former lover. Edmond goes under the guise of The Count of Monte Cristo, and begins to use his newfound riches to gain acceptance in the social ranks. Through pure chance, he becomes in the good favor of the man his former lover was forced to marry, and initiates his plans of revenge against his two former friends and a local lawman, who were responsible for his woes. With an almost endless supply of riches and favor with highly ranked people, Edmond has everything in order to avenge himself, but even that cannot truly ease what burdens him. After all the years, can Edmond reclaim the heart and love of Mercedes, his former flame?

This a cinematic telling of the classic writing, which captures the feeling of the work well. While the series is long and slow moving, this time is used to explore characters and events in a very literary fashion, in the finest of detail. The acting is very good, but it’s sometimes difficult to assess delivery when the speakers are foreign. The scope and grandiose is present, and I feel the series pays adequate homage to the written version. The costumes and set design are excellent, and really add to the realism, which is vital for a period piece like this. The cast includes Gerard Depardieu (Green Card), who is one of France’s finest performers. If you are a fan of the novel, you should give this release a look, if for no other reason than to see a remarkable cinematic vision of the written word. The series consists of four complete episodes, with the segueways well placed on all breaks. In total, the series clocks in at four hundred minutes, or about six hours and forty minutes. While that’s a very long running time, you can choose to watch the episodes by themselves, so no time issues should be stressed. This series is presented on home video through Fox Lorber, who has issued the complete series on two discs, which are housed in a double Alpha case, like what The Abyss and A Bug’s Life Special Editions were issued in. Each disc is dual layered and contains two episodes, plus some minor special features. While I enjoyed the series, the price tag is pretty high, so a rental is called for, if you’re a first timer.

Video: How does it look?

The Count Of Monte Cristo is presented in a full frame transfer, which is the original broadcast aspect ratio, so don’t go running away on me. This was a television production, so the gloss and shine of a major motion picture transfer is not present. This looks a little better than broadcast quality, which is about as good as you could expect from this release. The colors are presented well, with brightness and no bleeding occurs. The contrast levels vary a little, but enough to make a case out of. While this is not the flashiest transfer out there, it serves the material well, and that’s all I can ask for here.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio is presented in stereo format, with the language track in French. Don’t worry though, English subtitles are present, so even if you’re not multilingual, you’ll understand what’s shakin’. While my three years of high school French don’t amount to enough to understand the language, the dialogue sounds good, with no volume issues and the words never get buried, although you’ll be reading subtitles, more than likely, so it won’t matter anyway. The score is excellent, and has a recent ring here, as do what effects appear.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The discs includes filmographies, production notes, and a television spot for the series.

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