Today’s Prayer Focus

Around the World in 80 Days

MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for action violence, some crude humor and mild language.

Reviewed by: Brett Willis

Moral Rating: Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Family Kids Adults
Genre: Action Adventure Comedy
Length: 2 hr.
Year of Release: 2004
USA Release: June 16, 2004
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
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Featuring Jackie ChanPassepartout/Lau Xing
Steve CooganPhileas Fogg
Jim BroadbentLord Kelvin
Arnold SchwarzeneggerPrince Hapi
Rob SchneiderSan Francisco Hobo
Luke WilsonOrville Wright
Owen WilsonWilbur Wright
John CleeseJohn Cleese … Grizzled Sergeant
Kathy BatesQueen Victoria
See all »
Director Frank Coraci—“Click,” “The Zookeeper,” “The Waterboy,” “The Wedding Singer
Producer Walden Media—“The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,” “Holes,” “I Am David,”
Hal Lieberman
Bill Badalato—“Men of Honor,” “Mafia!”, “Alien Resurrection,” “Broken Arrow”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “In this highly inventive take on Verne’s classic, Passepartout (Chan) must make it to China in order to return a valuable jade Buddha that was stolen from his family’s village. He seeks refuge with an eccentric London inventor, Phineas Fogg (Coogan), who puts his reputation, fortune, and career on the line in a daring bet to make it around the world in eighty days. Joining them is Monique (De France), a young French artist who decides that a trip around the world would provide new inspiration.

Opposing the group is Lord Kelvin (Broadbent), who’s wagered his position as head of the Royal Academy of Science against their journey’s success. Their incredible adventure spans many colorful and exotic lands from historic London to Paris, Turkey, India, China, across the Great Seas, to a burgeoning United States, and more. Along the way, the group encounters an eclectic assortment of characters including Queen Victoria (Bates), a Scotland Yard Sergeant (Cleese), a hot air balloon engineer (Branson), a Turkish Prince (Schwarzenegger), an eccentric inventor (Schneider), the Wright Brothers (Owen and Luke Wilson), and many other international star cameos.”

I’m not sure what Jules Verne would think of this newest rendition of his forward-looking Sci-Fi novel. It plays fast and loose with history and it departs radically from the original story, although there are hidden tricks whereby it’s sometimes closer to the original than we at first assume. It’s nothing like the 1956 Best Picture Oscar-winner or any other film adaptation. It’s a modern comedy-satire, built around poking fun at everything it can and nibbling at the edges of its PG rating.

In this version, the valet Passepartout (Jackie Chan) is the first-billed and lead character, rather than his master Phineas Fogg (Steve Coogan). How Chan comes to have a French name and identity is one of many humorous twists. And when Detective Fixx chases Fogg and Passepartout on the suspicion that they’re connected to the Bank of England robbery, he’s CORRECT this time. But since Passepartout, otherwise known as Lau Xing, was only stealing back a jade Buddha that was stolen from his village by Lord Kelvin (Jim Broadbent) and a female warrior named General Fang (Karen Mok, billed as Karen Joy Morris), Passepartout isn’t the bad guy. Except that he manipulates Fogg into the around-the-world trip, as a means of escaping the authorities and of delivering the Buddha back to his people. And instead of a widow from India, Fogg’s love interest is the French would-be impressionist painter Monique La Roche (Cécile De France). She too practices some deceit, as do many other characters.

The violence is heavy, but comedic in tone. Chan engages in fantastically-coreographed Martial Arts fights with many bad guys. But don’t think of these fights in Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris terms. Three Stooges would be more like it. The fights contain crotch and buttock violence, bloodless stabbings, and lots of sight gags. But no one is killed anywhere in the film.

There are sprinkles of mild profanity like d* and h* and various low-grade insults. Some mild cleavage, Middle Eastern girls in belly-dancing outfits, and some sexually suggestive situations and offhand references (including gay and cross-dressing jokes). Much of this material should go over the heads of younger children. Arnold Schwarzenegger has a cameo as a Turkish prince who tries to make Monique his seventh wife. “I have one for each day of the week. Does Tuesday work for you?”

The use of alcohol is shown several times, with Fogg becoming falling-down drunk on a couple of occasions. Smoking is shown a few times. We occasionally hear some gunshots in the background. There are thieves, pickpockets and other unsavory characters all along the trip.

I don’t particularly care for the practice of making fun of historical figures. The Wright Brothers (Owen Wilson and Luke Wilson) are shown as buffoonish, and the scientist Lord Kelvin is made an extremely nasty one-dimensional villain. The rights against invasion of privacy and against defamation of character are “personal” rights, meaning that they don’t survive the person. Legally, you can say almost anything you want about a deceased person. But that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate. (Kelvin is also shown as an anti-Evolutionist and as resistant to change, therefore casting those positions in a negative light.)

There’s some positive content along the lines of never giving up (Fogg) and of being loyal (both Passepartout and Monique “make up” for their deception of Fogg by voluntarily helping him out on the later legs of his journey, even when he says he doesn’t want their help).

The days when families could hop into the car for a fun night of seeing most any movie that was playing are, of course, long gone. To avoid being grossed out, you have to be very choosy. While far from perfect, this film is probably one of the “least bad” choices of the summer for a family outing.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Mild

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—First of all, I liked the film, despite a few shortcomings. The fellow who portrayed Mr. Fogg is quite attractive when I first laid eyes on him while watching the movie (well, uh, I can elaborate on that later). I have read parts of the novel so I can understand what the plotline is. Mr. Fogg, an inventor, is challenged to travel around the world in 80 days or else, he should never invent again. Along the way, he meets the woman of his dreams, an up and coming painter and a Chinese man who becomes his friend. I was also in a bit of shock when I saw my “governator,” Arnold Schwartzenegger (yeah, I live in CA) as an Arab prince (he was horribly miscast). Needless to say, he was a total ham.

There are some historical inaccuracies in the film. I doubt every Chinese individual in the late 19th century were skilled individuals in Kung Fu. And having read up on Queen Victoria, I doubt she would’ve approved of Mr. Fogg’s inventions because she disliked the new technology of the era (she preferred to hand-write her letters instead of using a typewriter). Still, the history was done right.

India and most of the Asian nations mentioned were indicated as British colonies, which they were during the end of the 19th century (as the old saying goes, “The sun never sets on the British Empire.”). There was a minor (if not obscure) reference to Irish and British citizenship in the film (during this time, Irish citizens of Ulster were adamantly against British rule). Otherwise, everything seems to be okay. There was some blue humor here and there but it doesn’t dominate the film.

The movie has important issues in the film such as never give up and always persue your dreams in life.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/3]
Positive—My two boys (ages 9 and 7 years) and I went to see this movie and were pleasantly surprised. The main characters showed admirable traits and even though their were some mild offenses, such as the “D” word twice and some mildly revealing costuming in two scences, the overall message had to do with living out the beliefs you hold and not compromising your integrity to the temptation of power or wealth. There is one scene where the main characters replace an idol (Budda) in a village in China but it was a platform for me to discuss idol worshipping and the importance of spreading the gospel through prayer and action. Overall, it was adventurous and funny.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4]
Jenny, age 35
Positive—Despite an onslaught of early negative reviews, my family found this film to be fun, fast-paced, and completely entertaining. If your family is like mine, then you search (desperately) for wholesome, fun movies that you can see on a Saturday afternoon—and this one truly qualifies. My eleven year-old loved it, by the way. Go see it and have fun. No one ever erected a statue in honor of a critic!
My Ratings: [Excellent!/4]
Mike Koger, age 43
Positive—I don’t understand the negative comments. This is one of the best comedies I have seen.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
Stanley Swanson, age 76
Positive—…it was funny and had some humor that some people wouldn’t understand, so I would say teens to adults would enjoy this movie, but it had violence unlike any other Jackie Chan movie!
My Ratings: [3]
Kat, age 19
Neutral—For the most part, this movie represents a funny slapstick film that both my 7 and 14 yr old sons liked. Yes, there was some violence, but it was presented in a comedic tone. My problem with this film was the persistent unnecessary elements designed to appeal to the prurient interests of adults. There were repeated references to cross-dressing and several mild expletives. While mild, they were totally unnecessary. Luckily, my 7 year old did not leave the movie repeating these lines!
My Ratings: [Average/3]
Rob Overton, age 40
Negative—We were very disappointed in this movie. I took my two daughters (ages 10 and 6) and my parents to see it based on the review we had read. We were trying to avoid some of the themes in Shrek 2. This movie had so many objectionable items for Christians, I don’t think I could name them all. For starters: the martial arts action was excessive and consistent throughout the entire movie! The whole basis of the movie was the evil martial arts lord trying to kill Jackie Chan. Jackie Chan’s character and whole village worships a Buddah idol.

Several characters get very drunk. In the end, there was a totally unnecessary reference to the captain losing part of his anatomy to a shark attack. Then they have to reference it again. I wasn’t quite sure what they were referring to the first time! To top it all off, the movie itself was poorly made and seemed to be a “show off” for Jackie Chan. It would have been a much better movie if they had made his character just a normal part of the story and not focused so much on the martial arts theme. We all left wishing we hadn’t wasted our money or time.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/2]
Katie Wyrosdick, age 33
Comments from young people
Positive—I had fun watching “Around The World In 80 Days.” Our whole family watched it together, the youngest was 4. There was definitely too much comedic action and fight scenes—I personally like realistic violence and in realistic amounts. Jackie Chan did well with the fighting, but you have to be a little kid to laugh at some of the stuff. We were all disappointed that everyone in the Chinese village worshipped Buddha—and why did they have to show that on screen?

Also, in the beginning one of the leading scientists makes a reference about God creating the world and he is made to look stupid because he believes God created the world. We are to assume that these “ignorant, stuck up scientists” believe in an old outdated theory that will soon be proved wrong. Most people don’t catch that, but it definitely in there.

Besides that, I recommend the movie for younger kids—I loved the cameos of Arnold Schwarzennegar and Owen Wilson, they were very funny. I wish there had been a little more plot and a little less comedic fighting, but most of the jokes were very good (especially the ship captain).
My Ratings: [Better than Average/3]
Andrew McAllister, age 16
Neutral—…a pretty good movie, but the best thing about it was Jackie Chan’s fighting. The rest of it was somewhat questionable, but still a good entertaining movie. It had some good humor too.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4]
Zack, age 15
Neutral—“Around the world in 80 days” was GREAT!!! The only sexual content was a bit of kissing towards the end of the movie. I was a bit upset that they worshiped a small gold idol.
My Ratings: [Average/3½]
Peter, age 10