Around the World in 80 Days (2004)

Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Romance, Western
Jackie Chan, Steve Coogan, Jim Broadbent, Kathy Bates
A bet pits a British inventor, a Chinese thief, and a French artist on a worldwide adventure that they can circle the globe in 80 days.
Hit-and-miss family fare that bares only the slightest resemblance to Verne's novel.
  • Buena Vista Pictures Company:
  • PG Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 16 Jun 2004 Released:
  • 02 Nov 2004 DVD Release:
  • $23.9M Box office:

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A wonderfully fun film.10/10
This film is an extremely fun take on Jules Verne's novel. The storyline and characters are radically different than the originals, but there is a purpose to every detail in this movie. Phileas Fogg is a representation of Jules Verne himself, someone who sees the future. Steve Coogan performed marvelously in displaying the vulnerability of a man who wagers everything. He makes the character lovable and amusing. Jackie Chan brings to the table his classic fight choreography and humor, as well as branching into types of comedy he had not worked with before. Cecile De France is the most charming face in the film and brings an amazing spirit to her role. Jim Broadbent and Ewen Bremner provide some of the greatest laughs. Also notable is the choreography of color for each country. England is gray and dreary, lacking color. France is full of light pastels. Turkey brings in strong colors of gold, blue, and bright white. India is full of deep brown, orange, and green. China provides a lush, natural green background and warm, welcoming earth tones and dark blues. Everything is designed to take audiences on a journey around the world. The end result is a beautiful film that is suitable for all ages and provides that wonderful feel-good sensation that only the greatest adventures can provide.
Three Screenwriters Named Dave6/10

The credits roll, and I sarcastically turn to my friend, and whisper, "Dude, 3 screenwriters, and they're all named Dave."

Oddly enough, that turned out to pretty much sum up the whole movie.

It's not BAD. It leans toward good, except it's not so much a remake as it is a Disney-fication. Like 'Cinderella' and 'The Little Mermaid' before it, Disney takes the title of the story and a few major characters, and just turns it into a theme-park attraction with emotional and dramatic resonance to match.

Frank Coraci is solely responsible for making Adam Sandler's star stick. "Happy Gilmore" was cute, but it didn't have the style of a REAL movie, like his two films with Coraci, "The Wedding Singer," and "The Waterboy." Those films work as FILMS, not just Adam Sandler vehicles.

I had high hopes for this one, and for that reason, it splatted. Amusing lines here and there, and great kung-fu choreography ruined by the same poor photography that screwed up "Rush Hour." This is martial arts. DO NOT shoot your actors from the waist up. Things happen too fast, people are moving in too many directions. So in "80 Days," like in "Rush Hour," I had a sense that there was martial arts taking place, but could barely see it. Coraci does pull the camera back a few times, down to the ankles maybe, so a few scenes are reasonably well-shot. But not as well as they could have been. In fact, the entire movie feels rushed, like they're trying to cram the whole script into the alotted time frame. Some "Indiana Jones"-type pacing would have worked wonders, even if it made the movie 30 minutes longer. We're still talking about the book 100 years later for a reason, you know.

What could have been fun for everyone turns into Disney-video wackiness that will barely appeal to anyone over 13, and not at all to any fan of Jules Verne. And thus the old rule applies once again.... the more screenwriters, the worse the film. Even if they're all named Dave.
It's a Fun Film Folks, Not a Serious Re-make of a Classic8/10

There are classic films and fun films and even, very rarely, fun films that become classics. That's certainly true of Mike Todd's 1956 "Around the World in 80 Days" which captured much of the fantastical verve of Jules Verne's original story. That movie also introduced, basically for the first time, the idea of an onslaught of cameo appearances by famous screen stars, not always readily identifiable.

So now as we start to bake at the beginning of a long, languid summer, new director Frank Coraci gives us the irrepressible but getting a bit long-in-the-tooth master acrobat/gymnast/kung-fu artist/stunt man Jackie Chan in a very loose adaptation of the Verne novel.

Chan is Passepartout, valet to the inimitably neurotic inventor, Phineas Fogg (Steve Coogan), but in this film his real identity is that of a Chinese fellow, Lau Xing, whose mission is to return a stolen Buddha statue to his village. Nefarious English lords have an imperialistic and self-aggrandizing plan of their own which includes tearing down the Great Wall of China to get easy access to jade mines. Jim Broadbent is superbly Victorian-evil as Lord Kelvin, the head of the Royal Society of Science who challenges inventor Fogg to succeed in traversing the Earth in 80 days or else cease and desist forever from engaging in scientific experimentation and Rube Goldberg-like inventing.

Passepartout, who swiped the Buddha, has both cops and Chinese killers, led by a woman, General Fang, in hot pursuit and his service to Fogg is a guise to get back to China.

Arriving in Paris, they are joined by the beautiful semi-Impressionist painter, Monique La Roche played by the rising young French actress, Cecile De France. Winsome and cute, De France clearly had a great time making this flick.

Coogan plays Fogg very well-in fact he's the most interesting actor in the movie. He took his role of a Henry Higgins-type scholarly recluse who slowly falls in love seriously.

The story proceeds predictably. While Chan is the star, his performance is simply a well-choreographed reprise of past made-in-the West films where he can show off his skills. It's "Shanghai Night" all over again. Perhaps this is his last such movie as his announcement earlier this week that he intends to be a "serious" actor from now on pushed Iraq, gasoline prices and the Bush-Kerry campaign off the front pages.

As with the original movie, cameo appearances are a small but welcome treat. The guy who beat Mary Carey for governor of a western state last year is really devilishly funny as an Istanbul prince with a harem and an eye for acquiring Monique. The Wilson brothers play two young and later to be famous siblings whose great stunt at Kitty Hawk supposedly changed the world. And Cathy Bates seems to have had a tough time not laughing as she acted the part of the hardly imperious Widow of Windsor.

The set designs, cinematography and special effects are really excellent. I can see several Oscar nominations forthcoming.

Don't take this movie seriously-it won't dislodge the original from the pantheon of lastingly memorable films. Enjoy it as the summer fun vehicle it's meant to be. Or in any event is.

8/10
I didn't expect the Ten Tigers of Kwantung!8/10
Around the World in 80 Days (2004), starring Jackie Chan, currently has an IMDb user rating of 5.7. And they say it's one of the biggest flops in history, having failed to recoup more than a fraction of its (estimated) $110 million budget.

I say, give it time! Overseas box office plus rentals and DVD sales - this movie will turn a profit in the end. As I understand it, movie companies now make most of their money off the rental market, so I am rather mystified to hear that a movie flopped just because it didn't earn back its cost at the U.S. box office in the first couple of months of release. Doesn't seem like a fair and complete calculation to me.

Anyway, I go to the trouble of wondering about this because I thought this was a great and delightful romp of a comedy, and I believe posterity will be much kinder to it than "5.7". The movie is witty, beautiful, well-acted and contains virtually everything any kung fu adventure fan's heart can desire. Before watching it, I thought it would be more faithful to the original book, so I was surprised to see the Ten Tigers of Kwantung, and let me say the surprise was 100% positive. This movie is, absolutely first and foremost, a comedy. And it is something so rare as a literate one, which does not ridicule the premise it is based on. The movie makes the only right choice, namely to update the classic story and add new levels and new ideas, which keeps it fresh and adventurous. Let's face it, Jules Verne's science no longer holds up in the present day, so we have to make modified versions of the stories for a modern audience (hence also the very entertaining updated version of Journey to the Center of the Earth: The Core).

To see this movie as a remake of the 1956 movie - which seems to be the position that many reviewers take - is completely faulty. This is a riff/homage to the original novel, having nothing whatsoever to do with any previous movie version.

I thought Jackie Chan's part in this movie was great fun, and I was very entertained throughout. I can't think why it bombed in the U.S. I'm gonna get it on DVD very soon.
Decent entertainment, but forgettable.6/10

Jackie Chan has had a mixed time of late in Hollywood. There was the good fun of Shanghai Knights and around that was the poor duo of Tuxedo and The Medallion. This falls somewhere in the middle. Around The World is good fun. It's not great but it has charm and energy and is the sort of mindless, competent movie making that is hard not to enjoy watching. It's forgettable, could have been much better, but all in all not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

The look of the film feels very Disney. It is all very much orientated towards satisfying children. It's almost a cartoonish realism with the set design and costumes, clearly evident with Philleas Fogs gadget laden home. The action in the film and the looks could probably have been more gritty but in any case it looks very colourful and the various settings all catch the eye. It is clearly evident that the film had a lot spent on it, although some of the CGI effects are not of the standard expected from a $110 million film.

Cast-wise, Jackie Chan as ever is good. He's a comical genius and as usual performs his own stunts. The fight scenes are good. Nothing compared to Chan's Hong Kong stuff but far superior to much of his Hollywood action. Steve Coogan is someone I am a big fan of. He is the dog's hairy things as Alan Partridge. He is a comical genius. He doesn't seem as entirely natural here though and the character he creates doesn't always work. It seems too cartoony at times especially the accent. Cecile De France is very good as Coogan's love interest. She is attractive, in a cutesy sort of way but she has a charm and a likeability that works very well and the three leads seem to have a good chemistry. The rest of the cast are all excellent with a huge list of supporting parts and cameo's including an excellent Jim Broadbent, a great part for Ah-nuld Schwarzenegger, and it was great to see him on screen with Chan, also Rob Schneider, Luke and Owen Wilson, John Cleese, Kathy Bates, and particularly exciting to me as a Hong Kong action fan, Sammo Hung. The best supporting part for me was Ewan Bremner as the accident prone police sergeant.

Overall it's worth watching and is entertaining enough but don't expect it to blow your socks off. ***