Around the World in 80 Days

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating:Rated PG for action violence, some crude humor and mild language. 
Starring:Steven Coogan, Jim Broadbent, Jackie Chan 
Directed By:Frank Coraci 

Final Grade: 

There is nothing more admirable than putting everything on the line for something you believe in. It’s a lesson I have learned as a critic time and time again. Way back in the day, before I had wonderful readers like all of you, I believed that I had what it took to be a critic. A few years later, I have realized, maybe I’m not as good as I think I am, but I have learned a thing or two. I’ve stuck my neck out on some films that no one else has stood up for. I was one of the few critics who didn’t name Gigli on my year-end worst list. I admitted to liking films Like Dragonfly with Kevin Costner. I’ve taken flack for liking the remake of Walking Tall, and I am beginning to see the repercussions of saying that I enjoyed Garfield The Movie. But my opinion is my opinion. I know what I like and don’t like. I think I know a good film when I see one. If you think I am wrong, then I will simply say, that’s your opinion, but I think differently. I’ve never been one to conform when it comes to grading a film. If that means I put my credibility as a critic on the line, that’s a chance I’ll take. Enough about me though, there are other people who put much more on the line every single day for a lot greater causes. Around the World in 80 Days is such a tale.

A remake of a classic film, Around the World in 80 Days is the story of inventor Phileas Fogg. Hoping to one day be accepted by his scientific colleagues, Fogg tries to dazzle them with his calculations and inventions with no luck. But when an English bank is robbed, Fogg tells everyone that they could capture the bandits who are running to the far side of the world. Laughed at and scoffed at by his peers he boldly announces that he will prove to the world that he can travel around the world in 80 Days or he will never invent again. With the help of a Chinese Assistant named Passepartout (Jackie Chan), Fogg embarks on a journey that will put everything he knows on the line.

As far as the story goes, this film is a solid film. It’s filled full of great inspirational messages, a great cast and some really fun scenes. Actor Steven Coogan does a great job as Phileas Fogg, and Jackie Chan does a great job as his assistant. Jackie Chan fans of the past will be sad to not see as much action sequences as usual, but then again, fans need to accept that Jackie is not as young as he once was. His acting is more based on some bad jokes mixed with some mediocre action scenes that you have seen before in other films of his. All in all though, the acting is solid, and it has some fun cameos. From the Governor of California, Arnold Schwartzenegger, to Rob Schnieder as a smelly bum, and a great cameo by the hilarious Wilson Brothers, Owen and Luke playing the famous Wright Brothers (the creators of the first airplane) this film gives you plenty of reasons to smile.

The problem with Around the World in 80 Days is that it doesn’t really know what it wants to be. It doesn’t take itself seriously enough to be an inspirational film, and it doesn’t pack in enough “good” laughs to make it a comedy. Because of this you find yourself with a middle of the road film that reeks” mediocrity. It also is poorly directed, and you find scenes that seem to drag on longer than they should and some of the worst transitions I have ever seen. They try to use this pink “pixie dust” glow, as they make a transition and it just doesn’t work for them. The only thing missing out of the cheesy transitions was a My Little Pony jumping over a star that is winking at you. It just feels out of place. Also a movie about going around the entire world you would think would have some great scenery. Aside from a nice scene of Fogg walking on the Great Wall of China, the scenery and settings were cut out, and they didn’t capture the beauty of the different parts of the world at all. Instead it looks as though it was all filmed on a second rate artist’s idea of the world, with props done by a group of mentally challenged set makers.

In the end, Around the World in 80 Days, Just doesn’t cut it. It has high hopes, but it never really achieves them. It’s lack of solid direction and style makes this film so easily forgettable that it will be forgotten in 80 Days. There’s just nothing memorable. I admire them for trying to bring a great story to life for a new generation, but in the end it just doesn’t live up to expectations. Save your buck on this one guys. If you are bored and it’s on cable, watch it for a few smiles, but definitely don’t rush out of your way to see this one. 

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