Thursday, January 03, 2008

Money is Power

Title: The Count of Monte Cristo

Author: Alexandre Dumas
Abidged and translated by: Lowell Bair
Bookmark: a six-month-old movie ticket stub from a Michael Bay Splash-and-Dazzle

Plot: pretty much the same as the movie starring Jesus. (as a side note, the Plot Keywords on that page are VERY suggestive and misleading) Except without any swordfighting whatsoever. In the one scene where they were supposed to have a duel, it was pistols, and they didn't even get to shoot them! In case you didn't see the movie, Edmond Dantes (Jesus) gets set up by some jealous jerks and is imprisoned in the Chateau d'If, off the coast of France. There he meets the Abbe Faria (Dumbledore). This is all in the first thirty pages. The Abbe teaches Dantes six languages, and awards him four different humanities Masters degrees. In the movie he also teaches him swordfighting; in the abridged version of the book it's not clear where he picks this up. Then the Abbe dies, and Dantes uses his body to escape the prison.

Oh, and somewhere along the way he goes batshit crazy and swears revenge on the guys who sent him away so they could take his job, his life, his money, and his woman.

The Moral: Money buys happiness, power, and love. I think there was something about revenge and justice, too, and ethical quandaries surrounding divine retribution.

The Warning: Don't do what I did and read this at the same time as three or four other books. Get through it as quickly as possible and keep a chart handy, because each character is referred to by four or five different names and titles (excluding aliases, and there are plenty of those, too), and I could never remember who everyone was or all the connections between them. Seriously, there are more random connections and cross-mating in this book than in the entire run of Friends.

Wry Comment: In the book, the Count of Monte Cristo (who only uses a title, and never uses a name), has an entire staff of servants, each with a special ringtone on his gong a la the Sound of Music whistles. In the movie, he only gets Luis Guzman. That's right: even Hollywood doesn't have as much money as Monte Cristo.

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posted by reyn at 8:40 AM


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