July 18, 2006

A Miniseries You Can "Count" On

If you feel like investing seven hours of your life in a miniseries but simply can't bear to give your well-worn copy of A&E's Pride & Prejudice another viewing, consider putting the 1998 French miniseries "Le Comte de Monte Cristo" (based on the book by Alexandre Dumas) at the top of your Netflix queue. Gerard Depardieu stars as "The Count," (a.k.a. Edmond Dantes) a former sailor who, after being wrongly imprisoned for two decades, makes a daring escape, finds a buttload of treasure, and uses his newfound wealth to seek revenge against his former so-called friends who betrayed him in the first place. Kim and I just finished the movie last night and give it two thumbs' up. That said, we do have a few bones to pick:

1) Why does the booty in movie-version treasure chests always look like the fake plastic jewels that came as an accessory to my "truly, truly, truly outrageous" Gem doll?

2) It's certainly possible that Edmond's friends wouldn't have recognized him after 20 years, but given Gerard Depardieu's signature bulbous schnoz, it's quite unlikely. (Ditto for no one figuring out he was also flitting about town disguised as a priest and an English banker, each with equally noticeable noses.) But okay, once we suspended our disbelief, we bought into it.

3) Gerard Depardieu is a great actor, but he should not be allowed to remove his shirt on camera. In this case (during what was supposed to be a gloriously romantic denouement) it seriously ruined the moment.

4) The Count's long-lost love, Mercedes, should not have worn as much eye makeup as Pat Benatar in her "Love is a Battlefield" video.

5) If you can repeatedly sneak in and out of a mansion to deliver an antidote to a young woman who is being routinely poisoned by her psychotic stepmother, perhaps you should simply remove said girl from the premises.

Nevertheless, the movie is entirely worth watching, not to mention a wonderful option to help you survive this summer's worthless television schedule. (When will that Big Brother just go away to the hell from whence it came?) -- Amy

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