Around The World In 80 Days (2004)

FRANK CORACI

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5

USA/Germany/Ireland/United Kingdom, 2004.  Walden Media, Spanknyce Films, Mostow/Lieberman Productions, Studio Babelsberg, Babelsberg Film, Fitzwilliam Productions, 80 Days Productions, Blue Rider Pictures.  Screenplay by , , , based on the novel Le Tour du Monde en Quatre-Vingts Jours by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

In this moderately entertaining action comedy, Jules Verne’s classic tale has been turned into a travelogue video game, with eager scientist Phineas Fogg (who is an inventor in this version) making a wager with the Royal Academy of Science that he can circumnavigate the globe in eighty days. What Fogg doesn’t know is that the entire idea is an invention of his Franco-Asian valet Passepartout (), who has recovered a Buddha statue that was stolen from his village in China and needs to get it back there immediately. They set off on their journey, along the way picking up not the Indian princess of Verne’s tale but an aspiring Parisian artist (), risking life and limb to make it back in time to win the wager. Like the 1956 version starring David Niven, this one also features a few celebrity cameos including , , , and  and as the Wright Brothers, but there’s no sense of grand adventure to it at all, nor are you convinced that this trio have really seen the entire world by the time they get back. Chan is great in all the big fight sequences they have created for him, but the action also feels totally out of place in its setting. Personally, it just seems ludicrous to me that a book I enjoyed so much as a youngster and the Niven version (not to mention a terrific made-for-television adaptation starring Pierce Brosnan) would need to be amended so very much in order to be considered entertaining for the modern masses.

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