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Comedy - Family

Around the World in 80 Days (2004)

Duration2h 00mRating (UK)PG
Source of storyVery roughly based on the novel of the same name by Jules Verne
DirectorFrank Coraci
Writers/ScriptDavid Titchner, David Bunulio, David Goldstein
StarringJackie Chan, Steve Coogan, Cécile de France, Jim Broadbent, Ian McNeice, Ewen Bremner, Richard Branson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maggie Q, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Mark Addy, John Cleese, Kathy Bates, Karen Mok

Elevator Pitch: Phineas Fogg an enthusiastic inventor in the 19th century finds himself at odds with the chairman of the Royal Scientific Society, and takes on a bet that he can circumnavigate the planet in less than 80 days. Fortunately for him a Chinese man, Lau Xing, who has robbed the Bank of England joins him as his valet and off they go, in Paris collecting, accidentally, a young Frenchwoman Monique. The trio are pursued by a group of Chinese criminals, and fairly early on it is revealed that Xing, calling himself  Passepartout, had robbed the bank to get back a sacred idol, which he was transporting back to his home village, using the round the world trip as his transport.

Content: Fogg invents Heath-Robinson machines for our entertainment and from the start they are pursued by a Chinese gang. In France the balloon figures after Xing has fought the gang entertainingly. Indeed as they trek across the world, Xing takes on the gang on every continent allowing them to escape and continue. In Turkey the Prince attempts to keep Monique as his seventh wife, forcing them to escape again. In America they meet the Wright brother who show Phineas the plans of their aircraft. When the ship transporting them to London runs out of coal they must construct an aircraft themselves to carry on.

A View: Since Jackie Chan is executive producer we should have known what the expect. Steve Coogan is a consummate comedy actor but he never got a chance in this tiresome vehicle for some comedic fisticuffs.  It garnered  a poor 32% on Rotten Tomatoes, one critic saying that “it is less about travelling, more about beating the crap out of people”.  It cost over $100 million and did not nearly get it back. Even now you might let the kids watch it for nothing, while doing something else.

Additional Info: Sir Richard Branson, amongst other things, a well known balloonist, has something to say about the team’s ballooning capabilities.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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