Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Review: Around the World in 80 Days

Around the World in 80 Days has always been one of my favourite non-Jackie Jackie movies. If that makes sense lol. It isn't really a "Jackie Chan Movie" featuring, as it does, a whole host of other stars. And it avoids the Jackie trademark outtakes at the end which disappointed me no end because I sat through the entire credits in an emptying movie theater to watch them and they never appeared onscreen but all was not lost as the song that plays out over the end credits is very sweet. It is indeed a small world after all.

The movie is made by Disney so it is very much aimed at a younger audience and despite people saying that "Spy Next Door" was the first kids movie Jackie made - this movie truly qualifies for that title. But perhaps people don't recognise it as such because it has such adult appeal as well.

Ok so what I like about the movie is that it will appeal to both kids and adults alike. This is one of those kids movies that get it right. The visual humour and easy to follow story line and creative use of animation to keep the plot moving are very kid friendly but the clever lines and 'spot the celebrity' cameos will keep adults entertained.

There is also just sufficient real (accurate) information (history, science and art in particular) in the movie to (hopefully) educate and generate follow on inquiries.

A number of real historical figures pop up throughout the movie and it is as fun to watch out for them as it is to watch out for the celebrity cameos.

There are two cameos I must mention in particular - the first is Richard Branson - who did attempt to fly around the world twice (unsuccesfully) in a hot air balloon so his comment 'That is impossible!' when they steal the ballon is hysterically funny. The other is John Cleese in a very Monty Python-esque scene with the 'Flying men are coming' which is also an oblique reference to Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Some one really did their homework on this movie. Toulouse-Lautrec was indeed a dwarf and worked for the Moulin Rouge so the scene with him and all the 'ladies' was amusingly accurate. Van Gogh and his missing ear as well as the brief walk through art history via Monique's sketch book is delightful.

I loved the Wilson Brother's cameo as the Wright Brothers - I don't know if they really argued about who invented what but families being what families are with sibling rivalry it is all to easily imagined and works so well in this scene. The sneaky reference and role reversal with Jackie from Shanghai Noon to this just adds another delightful layer to these scenes.

You can have fun looking out for all the other cameos throughout the movie. There are just too many to mention.

There is almost nothing to fault in this movie. It is delightfully child-like and utilises Jackie's humour extremely well. The scenes with the cameos are cleverly worked out to reflect something of the celebrity themselves. It has some wonderful lines that are hysterically funny (even if you have to be something of a buff to get them).

The movie works well on a simple easy to follow level with no great inconsistencies while having layers of depth that make it fun for adults as well.

The only thing I don't like about the movie is that they cut the fight scene in the art gallery short. I know the movie is quite long already and something HAD to be cut but the scene is just so brilliant and it bothers me every time I watch the movie that we don't see the painting being created in it's entirety.

All in all this is lovely movie and I would highly recommend that you go put it in the machine and watch it again and this time watch for all the nuances!


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