AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS is Disney's silly and energetic riff on the classic
Jules Verne novel. Although it has some similarities to the 1956 movie of the
same name, this version, which stars Jackie Chan, is a mixture of his physical
comedy with an old science fiction tale, featuring steam-driven mechanical
Steve Coogan, last seen in COFFEE AND CIGARETTES, plays the lead character of
Phileas Fogg. Chan plays Passepartout, Fogg's "French" valet. You might
wonder how the heavily accented Chan can play a Chinese man trying to pass
himself off as French. Passepartout explains that his French father never
spoke while his Chinese mother never shut up.
The dual themed plot has Passepartout being chased by an evil Chinese warlord,
along with the more traditional part of the story, a wager between Fogg and
Lord Kelvin (Jim Broadbent), the head of the Royal Academy of Sciences. The
wager is that Fogg will not be able to circumnavigate the globe in eighty days
or less. Set just before "the turn of the century," the slapstick movie is
filled with madcap mayhem. Some of the best parts of the picture are some
good-spirited cameos, including one by the Governator.
In a type of role that once would have gone to Piper Perabo before she dropped
off the radar screen, Cécile De France plays Monique, a hat check girl and
would be impressionist painter, who becomes Fogg's other sidekick and his
Perhaps the best part of the production is the way that Disney cuts to
magically colorful, animated overlays of street scenes whenever our three world
travelers arrive in a new location. AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS is pure fluff,
but it's cute.
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS runs a tad long at 2:00. It is rated PG for
"action violence, some crude humor and mild language" and would be acceptable
for kids of all ages.
Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes