Around the World in 80 Days
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while they may cringe at this adaptation of the classic novel, kids who aren't familiar with the classic story may enjoy the adventures and the always-likeable Jackie Chan. If nothing else, you can use the movie as a way to get your kids to check out the book (maybe read it as a family read-aloud). There is a lot of slapstick-, cartoon-, and action-style violence, including many crotch injuries, but no one is seriously hurt. Characters use mild bad language ("bloody hell"). There is some crude and vulgar humor, including bathroom jokes, drunkenness played for comedy, a weird cross-dressing joke, and a comic situation involving a man with many wives. A strength of the movie is the portrayal of women and minorities who fight stereotypes and prejudice; however, some people may find some of the portrayals in the movie itself offensively stereotypical.
What's the story?
This retelling of Jules Verne's classic novel centers on Lau Xing (Jackie Chan), valet to inventor Phileas Fogg (Steve Coogan). The previous valet quit because he refused to test any more of Fogg's wild contraptions. Xing, on the run after stealing a valuable jade Buddha from the Bank of London, thinks the police will not find him if he is working for Fogg, so he pretends to be French and gives his name as "Passepartout." Fogg's bet with the peppery Lord Kelvin (James Broadbent) that he cannot circle the globe in 80 days provides Xing with the perfect cover for getting to China as quickly as possible to return the Buddha to his small town. There are a lot of stops in exotic locations and a lot of adventures involving obstacles to reaching the next stage of the journey and a few surprising cameo appearances, including Arnold Schwarzenegger as a sybaritic king.
Is it any good?
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS may take its title from the Jules Verne classic, but it is really just a Jackie Chan movie, and a so-so one at that. Overplotted and under-imagined, this movie tries hard to distract the audience with razzle-dazzle, but not even the stunts or fight scenes make much of an impression and the preposterous final mode of transportation comes across as so lazy a concept it is almost insulting.
Coogan has an endearing sincerity and spirit and Cecile De France has a few nice moments as Monique, a pretty French artist who comes along for the ride. But Chan seems tired, even distracted, impatient to get it all over with. I was, too.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how transportation has changed since the novel was written -- how many days would it take to circle the globe today?
|Theatrical release date:||June 18, 2004|
|DVD release date:||November 2, 2004|
|Cast:||Jackie Chan, Jim Broadbent, Steve Coogan|
|Studio:||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Genre:||Family and Kids|
|Topics:||Adventures, Book characters|
|Run time:||120 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||violence, some crude humor and mild language|