Thursday, February 03, 2005

Around the World in 80 Days (2004)

I'm a sucker for an English accent, so when I saw the preview for Around the World in 80 days, it got my attention! It looked like an entertaining light film, and I put it on my Netflix queue and waited for it to come out on DVD.

I am glad I made time to watch it! I found it engaging and amusing, as well as inventive in many ways. I didn't expect it to be profound cinema, so I wasn't disappointed that way, nor have I read the novel by Jules Verne, so I wasn't bothered by concerns that the film didn't correctly represent the book. (If YOU feel like reading the book, here is a link to it online! How cool is that!

I found Fogg's inventions to be cleverly rendered onscreen - the electric lights, the beautiful mansion with its spinning ornamentation, the horseless carriage, and more! The costuming was beautiful; I quite enjoy a period flick!

Steve Coogan was marvelous as Phileas Fogg. He has such an expressive face. I already mentioned the accent! :-) Coogan is a gifted comedic actor. I could see the change very clearly in Fogg's personality from beginning to end of journey. And I quite enjoyed that!

Jackie Chan really is masterful at translating kung fu fighting to the big screen. I checked out his filmography to see if I had ever seen him in any other movies, and I don't think I have. He has nearly 100 movies to his credit, although most of them are Chinese, so it's not likely I'd have seen any of those. I knew of him, of course, but probably had never sought out any movies because I didn't think I'd like watching martial arts onscreen. I was wrong!

Who'd have thought that I actually enjoy watching kung fu, even without Keanu Reeves? I learned something new about myself! LOL It probably helps that my 10 year old son currently wants to become a martial arts master. (in his own words!) I thought the fight scenes in this film were choreographed very well and exciting as well. I also appreciate the fact that there is no blood and gore and that no one dies, which makes it a movie my kids can see.

Speaking of my kids, they watched this film with me today (after I previewed it last night) and they all loved it, especially the aforementioned martial arts master.

I liked a lot about this movie. The dialogue was sharp and witty. The journey was enhanced by the CGI effects between scenes. For example, the train puffing along with sparkles in its steam. Very pretty. I thought the part of Monique was well-written, and the actress Cecile de France played her with an artless charm.

There were a lot of cameos in the film, by actors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kathy Bates. It has kept me busy at IMDB checking just who all these actors were. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ship captain was also in A Knight's Tale, which is one of my favorite movies.

Evidently the plot has very little in common with the book it is based upon, but to me, that didn't matter at all. The adventure! The inventions! The color! The romance! The kung fu! All things that I experienced with relish! And don't forget the accent.... :-) link:

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