Mad scientists, evil villains, hot air balloon rides and life or death chase scenes come together in order to deliver the whirlwind experience of travelling around the world in eighty days. What could be more fun then watching a brilliant but physically hapless man escorted by the confused but super-human sidekick – sort of a Sherlock Holmes and Watson kind of deal. Around the World in 80 Days stars Steve Coogan as Phileas Fogg as the typically misunderstood mad-but-brilliant scientist. A man ahead of his time, Fogg is intent on winning recognition from the prestigious Royal Academy of Science. Aristocratic snob Lord Kelvin (Jim Broadbent) leads this pompous institution.
Finally, in an effort to forever end Fogg's infernally unfortunate experimenting the institute comes up with a plan. If Fogg can circumnavigate the globe in 80 days or less, he will become the new head of the Academy. If he cannot, well, he must promise to give up his lifelong quest for scientific betterment and improvement of humanity in general.
Further dimension is added to the plot with supporting characters. Jackie Chan comes along for Fogg's ride; but as a thief (albeit a justified one – stealing back a priceless Buddha that was stolen from his village). Cecile de France plays Monique, the love interest. Besides these entertaining diversions, they encounter a host of setbacks-mostly from Lord Kelvin and his accomplices. You know these are the bad guys because they stole the Buddha in the first place.
As you can imagine, Chan gets to show off his superior fighting abilities in a few scenes and fans will be happy if not overly surprised. The highlight of the movie has to be the guest appearances-one gets to see Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathy Bates, and Ron Schneider as well as Luke and Olsen Wilson as the Wright Brothers. On the down side, the story is predictable and the aerial scenic imagery is virtually non-existent. However, I did enjoy the very original transition between scenes where the images started off as drawings only to turn into the actual scenery.
Special DVD Features:
-Alternative ending; of course you will have to watch the DVD to find out more.
-Deleted Scenes- this segment is always fun to watch, it puts you in the director's chair.
-"Discovering Around The World In 80 Days" Behind the scenes featurette; I always enjoy this tidbit since it brings the set and actors into my living room.
-Cast and Filmmaker's commentary – Another enjoyable segment that lets you in on what the crew of the film is thinking about.
-Music Video – this music video is performed by Dave Stewart (The Eurythmics) and The Sylvia School Children's Choir.