If you want to see a great film adaptation of Jules Verne's novel, Around the World in 80 Days, check out the 1956 version* starring David Niven as Phileas Fogg. If you want to see an awful adaptation of Verne's classic novel, go to your local theater and watch this 2004 version. But don't say I didn't warn you.
80 Days, directed by Frank Coraci, clocks in at an excruciating 120 minutes. For those two hours, I followed Phileas Fogg (British comedian Steve Coogan), Passepartout (martial arts master Jackie Chan), and Monique La Roche (Hollywood newcomer Cecile De France) through title card after title card of cities (Paris, China, San Francisco) all the while wishing that Jules Verne hadn't included such a lengthy itinerary in his novel.
To be fair, 80 Days is not an easy story to film. Verne wrote a novel in which the story and characters traversed several continents and met a wealth of diverse people in a wealth of odd situations. Verne also incorporated his fascination with science by writing of Fogg's great inventions and ideas—things that would be difficult to put to film convincingly, even in our high–tech world of Computer Generated Images (CGI).
However, this film version does maintain the book's basic premise in that members of an elite English club challenge Fogg to travel around the world in, you guessed it, 80 days. Fogg accepts the challenge with the understanding that, if he wins, he can assume the title of Minister of Science within England's Royal Academy. If he loses, he must forfeit his right to invent and he must steer clear of the Academy. Note here the first of many departures from the original story. In the novel, Fogg's wager is 20,000 pounds, not necessarily his reputation and lifestyle ...1
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Around the World in 80 Days
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