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Around the World in 80 Days is a 2004 comedy/adventure film based on Jules Verne's novel of the same name. It stars Jackie Chan, Steve Coogan and Cécile de France. The film is set in 19th-century Britain and centers on Phileas Fogg (Steve Coogan), here reimagined as an eccentric inventor and his efforts to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. During the trip, he is accompanied by his Chinese valet, Passepartout (Jackie Chan). For comedic reasons, the film intentionally deviated wildly from the novel and included a number of anachronistic elements.

Despite boasting of several big stars and containing many celebrity cameos, the film was a box office bomb and ended up generating a huge loss for the studio.

Plot

The film starts with a man (later known to be Lau Xing) (Jackie Chan), robbing and escaping from the Bank of Englandmarker. To evade the police, he hides in Phileas Fogg's house. From a window he observes police officers searching for him, asking foreign-looking men in the street for identification; so when Phileas Fogg (Steve Coogan) asks him for his name he responds "Passport...too". Phileas takes his name to be "Passepartout" (pronounced Pass-port-too), and takes him on as a valet. Phileas Fogg is trying to break the 50-mph speed barrier, and after succeeding with the help of Passepartout and managing to avoid the police, they head to the Royal Academy of Science.

There Fogg is insulted by the other 'brilliant minds', in particular the bombastic William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (Jim Broadbent), who believes that everything worth discovering has already been discovered and there is no need for further progress. The bank robbery is also discussed. In his blind rage, Phileas says that he is glad the bank was robbed, because it is outdated and says that the thief could be in China in little over a month, which interests Passepartout. Phileas Fogg is pressured into a bet to see whether it would be possible, as his calculations say, to travel around the world in 80 days. If he wins, he would become Minister of Science in Lord Kelvin's place; if not, he would have to tear down his lab and never invent anything again.

Passepartout and Phileas retreat to Phileas's home, where he mourns on his rash decision to take the bet; yet Passepartout says that to bet on something he believes in, means the bet is in no way foolish. That sets Phileas on the start of his journey around the world. Without losing a moment, they take a carriage and leave Londonmarker, after crossing with Inspector Fix (Ewen Bremner), a corrupt officer who was hired by the Royal Academy of Science to stop them travelling round the world.

They then journey to Parismarker, where Passepartout must evade warriors sent by the murderous female soldier General Fang, who is after the precious Jade Buddha that he stole. She had previously given the Buddha to Lord Kelvin, in exchange for military assistance in her enterprises to conquer Lau Xing's village. [Remember at this point that Passepartout'real name is Lau Xing!]. Pretending to take Phileas to a convention with Thomas Edison, Passepartout leads him instead to an Art School, where Phileas meets Monique (Cécile de France), a would-be impressionist. Realizing how busy his boss is, Passepartout fights the minions using every material available: canvas, brushes and buckets of paint, etc, while in the process of accidentally making a painting. Meanwhile, Phileas and Monique discuss Monique's paintings of 'impossible things', such as dogs playing poker. Moments later, Phileas sees a painting of a man with wings. To make a machine that could allow men to fly was always Phileas's dream; he therefore feels touched. All of a sudden, Passepartout returns and tells his boss that they are running late. The two men, accompanied by Monique, depart in a hot-air balloon, while being chased by General Fang's warriors.

Phileas initially refuses to allow Monique to travel with them due to a misunderstanding in allowances, but after consulting him, he does allow her. Then they travel to Turkeymarker, where they are greeted by Prince Hapi (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Here, they were entertained for some hours in a swimming pool, in which they also chat about their ideas of better mankind and tuck into a delicious feast. The Prince, having become infatuated with Monique, ordered her to stay as his seventh wife, (one for each day of the week), while the men were ordered to leave. The men leave, but blackmail Prince Hapi into releasing Monique, using a prized but apparently flimsy 'The Thinker' statue of the Prince as a bargaining counter. The statue is ultimately destroyed, though the three travelers escape.

Lord Kelvin, hearing of all this and of the theft of the Jade Buddha, becomes angry; he is later contemptuous, when he learns that Phileas has been involuntarily abetting a thief's escape. Using this as an excuse to delay Phileas, he and his aides order the British colonial authorities in India to arrest both men. In India, Passepartout sees notice of the price on his head and warns his companions. Disguised as local women, they evade the police, but are attacked by General Fang's warriors again. Using Inspector Fix and a sextant as weapons, Phileas and Passepartout defeat their assailants and flee to China.

Guided by knowledge of China, Passepartout leads his friends to a village, where they are happily greeted. They spend several days here, during which Phileas discovers that Passepartout is in fact Lau Xing, a local warrior, and that the repeated attacks by General Fang's (Karen Joy Morris) militia, the Black Scorpions, are part of a power struggle centred around the Jade Buddha. Phileas is disappointed by this and more so, by the revelation that Monique has known the truth for many weeks. Later, the village is attacked by the Black Scorpions. Phileas, Monique and Lau Xing are held captive. In the next morning, Lau Xing challenges the arrogant young leader of the group that has seized him to a fight. Lau Xing at first fights alone and is defeated (when the leader cheats); moments later, he is joined by the martial arts masters of the "Ten Tigers of Canton", of which he is one. The Tigers, though outnumbered, drive the Black Scorpions from their village and free the Westerners. The Jade Buddha is then reinstated in the village's temple.

Phileas now desires to continue alone, having been disappointed by his companions. He travels to San Franciscomarker, where he is tricked out of his money. He attempts to replenish his supply with the aid of a beggar (Rob Schneider), but fails, as he is punched by a passerby as he begs for money. He is soon, however, recognized by Lau Xing and Monique, who have come to find him. In the desert, they find the Wright brothers (brothers Owen and Luke Wilson), and the 3 inventors discuss the flying machine. Taking a look at the plans (which Wilbur Wright claimed to be his silly brother's doing), Phileas finds them brilliant and suggests a few mere changes (Wilbur says he was proud of his brother and had always believed in him).

Lau Xing (still called Passepartout because of force of habit on the other people's part), Monique and Phileas' next stop is New York Citymarker, where a massive crowd who had placed bets for or against Phileas winning, greet them and make it impossible for them to pass and reach their ship. A policeman allows this to be possible, by taking them through a building he called a shortcut. Here more minions await them, ready for one last face-off. They made arrangements with Lord Kelvin to take Lau Xing's village and tap the jade reserves underneath it, but if Phileas wins the bet, Lord Kelvin will not have the means to help them. A major battle between the three friends and General Fang and her minions commences in the workshop, where the Statue of Libertymarker was constructed, with Lau Xing using his skill to stop his enemies and the other two using luck. Fang is crushed to death by the statue's tablet. In the end, the three friends are victorious or so it seems, as the minions had stalled them enough to make them lose their ship to England. Though Phileas could have gotten to the boat, he decides to miss it to help Lau Xing.

Phileas feels like he had lost, but the other two say they might still make it, if they caught the next ship. Phileas knows the unlikelihood of this, yet chooses to carry on. The old ship was owned by a sailor, who had lost both his nipples in an attack by a great white shark. Phileas tells the captain they weren't going fast enough and run out of coal, and after a lot of talking, he manages to convince the captain to let him build a plane out of the old wood from the ship, in exchange for a new ship and a surgery to give him new nipples.

Using the changed Wright brother's plans, Phileas builds the machine. On it is Passepartout/Lau Xing (pedalling), Phileas (driving) and Monique (commenting). The machine seems to be working fine and soon they reach London. Then, the machine begins to fall apart and they have a crash-landing right in front of the RAS (Royal Academy of Science). Lord Kelvin sends police to stop them from making it to their actual destination, the top step of the Royal Academy of Science and the clock soon strikes noon, which is the time Phileas started.

Lord Kelvin proclaims himself the victor. Several people, such as Monique, Fix and other ministers, begin attesting to Kelvin's unfair methods and his bullying nature, but Kelvin scoffs at them. However, in the process, he insults Queen Victoria (Kathy Bates), who is nearby listening. She had found out he had sold her arsenal to Fang (in exchange for jade mines in China), thanks to one of his aides, and soon realizes this fate. Kelvin tries to run away, but is apprehended. Phileas is also lucky enough not to have lost the bet; he is one day early, thanks to crossing the international date line, yet believed himself late, because of an error on the part of Passepartout. He ascends the stairs of the Academy and there, embraces Monique, victorious in his bet.

Notes

The movie was never released on IMAX theaters. It was one of the Disney movies ever, since Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure, to be close captioned by the National Captioning Institute.

Response

Around the World in 80 Days was not very well received by film critics, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 31% "Rotten" rating. It was criticised for having little to no resemblance to the novel it is based on and for its laboured attempts at comedy. With production costs of about US$ 110 million and estimated marketing costs of $30 million, it earned US$ 24 million at the U.S. box office and US$ 72 million worldwide..

Box office

U.S. Gross Domestic Takings US$ 24,008,137
Other International Takings US$ 48,170,758
Gross Worldwide Takings US$ 72,178,895


Cast

Actor Role
Steve Coogan Phileas Fogg
Jackie Chan Passepartout/Lau Xing
Cécile de France Monique La roche
Jim Broadbent Lord Kelvin
Roger Hammond Lord Rhodesmarker
David Ryall Lord Salisbury
Kathy Bates Queen Victoria
Arnold Schwarzenegger Prince Hapi
Owen Wilson Wilbur Wright
Luke Wilson Orville Wright
Rob Schneider Hobo
John Cleese Grizzled sergeant
Ewen Bremner Inspector Fix
Sammo Hung Wong Fei Hung
Karen Joy Morris General Fang
Daniel Wu Bak Mei
Robert Fyfe Jean Michel


See also



References



External links




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