The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo ★★★½

As a swiftly paced, populist adaptation that never pretends to convey the depth of the classic novel, it nevertheless entertains and engrosses through its sweeping character arc. It's a little too simplified and comical to take all that seriously (to my never-ending annoyance, my brothers would often comically quote this entire film), with an edit job that keeps characters and plot developments at arm's length, but it does capture the appeal of the novel whilst effectively drawing in a new generation of fans. It might be one of the more effective examples of the recent wave of Dumas flicks. For those with a soft spot for Reynolds problematic but functionally compelling, family-friendly films, this will hit the spot with some fun casting (including a perfect Passion of the Christ audition and Pearce's camp cornering of the slimy scumbag market), lots of memorable adventure and plot intrigue, and moving romance. It's a competent populist adaptation, if one dated to the era, and Reynolds once again pushes out a great guilty pleasure flick with all the right ingredients, if a little plastic. He has a formula, and it works.