The Count of Monte Cristo – Media

I’ve posted about The Count before.  It’s one of my favorite books, despite my having only read it about one and a half times.  I don’t remember all that I’ve said about it; if I repeat myself, I apologize.

The Count of Monte Cristo is a brilliant book.  I’ve spent hours discussing it with friends and family.  I can’t get enough of the story.  A year ago, I thought I’d found a sequel, and was heartbroken to learn that it was written by someone simply hoping to piggyback on the original book’s fame.

It didn’t take too long to recover, though.  With such a fabulous book, less is more.  A sequel would lessen the brilliant ending already in place, cheapening it.

I watched the movie some years ago at my sister’s recommendation.  If you’re a fan of the movie, please forgive me.  I was horrified.

The movie (made in 2002) is not a bad movie.  I simply feel that, as a lover of the book, it fails miserably in doing the masterpiece justice.  It’s all right on it’s own – but I feel it an abject failure as an adaptation of the epic journey of Edmund Dantes.  My favorite scenes are lost or distorted, major subplots overlooked or – I would say “condensed beyond recognition,” except that there’s not enough left of the original story in these places to be considered “condensed” from anything.  Changed – not shortened, but drastically different from the book, so much so as to be completely incompatible with the original.  I can understand a small change here and there, artistic license in restructuring certain elements, combining a few minor characters – but this movie goes beyond that.  It’s essentially a different story altogether.

I was just talking with my mom about the sad state of The Count’s fame.  Some days back, I learned that a friend has never read the book, but greatly enjoyed the movie.  As we talked, she asked if it – the movie – was different from the book.  I laughed.  And died a little inside.  And began sharing a summarized version of the book.

She soon agreed with me that an extended, but well-planned, movie would be well worth the money spent to watch it.  My discussion with my mom furthered that.

She – Mom – mentioned that it would be marvelous if everyone in charge of the Lord of the Ring movies could create a film series of The Count.  It would be done well, and would stay true to the spirit of the book.  Scenes could be condensed, expanded, and rearranged as needed – they’ve proved their skill with this – and characters would be portrayed accurately.  No extra drama, we decided, would need to be added.  Some dramatic music, expansion of scenes that are discussed but aren’t directly shown – there’s plenty of intrigue and drama already in play, whether murder, crime, or unknown near-misses with incest.  With great actors, the book would truly come to life.  We talked over how this could be great as a four-movie package – the first ending with Edmund’s escape from the Chateau D’If, the second with his arrival in Paris.  The third and fourth would be free to show in full detail his schemes for revenge – the third, his elation with long-awaited vengeance, leaving the fourth for his realization that he has been playing God and must pull back.

These movies could elaborate on his rescue of Haydée and Ali, as well as many other exploits hinted at.  Viewers would come to root for Maximilien’s budding romance, and cheer for Julie’s discovery of the true identity of “Sinbad the Sailor.”  Everyone, even repeated viewers, would wonder just when, just when does Mercedes realize that Edmund Dantes is the Count of Monte Cristo, and that he means her family harm?

If I were a rich movie director….

But, alas, I’m not.  I am in the company of Maximilien and Valentine.  I, too, wonder if I shall ever see The Count – not cheap imitations, but the friends I have come to know and love.  My only consolation is that, as Edmund Dantes explains, “all human wisdom is summed up in these two words — `Wait and hope.'”


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