Monday, July 16, 2012

Film Cemetery

Case Study #9

Where we explore the more 
obscure films that bombed

This entertaining Disney flick should have 
been a box office winner. I mean, it's a kids 
movie and it has Jackie Chan...

What could possibly go wrong?

I saw Around The World In 80 Days in the theater with my daughter back in 2004. And I rather liked it.

Is it silly and somewhat preposterous? You bet.

Does it have plenty of Jackie Chan martial arts action that's funny and well-choreographed? Umm...yeah, actually.

Does Arnold Schwarzenegger put on a cringe-worthy performance? Absolutely.

Jackie Chan is Passeportout, a Chinese guy trying to retrieve a stolen jade Buddha from the Bank of England and return the idol to its home. 

Steve Coogan is an eccentric inventor that has bet fellow scientists he can break the 50 mile an hour speed barrier....and travel around the world in 80 days. 

Is all of that important? Not really. The plot is somewhat non-existent, and the film in no way follows Jules Verne's original tale.

What is important is that this is Jackie Chan's last real action movie before his work became heavily CGI'd. 

The fight scenes are highly entertaining, and a lot more enjoyable than they have a right to be. Jackie Chan is at his best here, infusing martial arts with comedy. 

The script-writers let this movie down, as most of the dialogue is stunted and above a child's head. So the producers were damn lucky to get Jackie Chan, who saves this dreck.

My daughter was six when we saw this movie, and I'm not sure who laughed more...her or I.

There is some good news. Disney, it seemed, opened up the purse strings, fortunately.

And the 140 million spent making and marketing Around The World In 80 Days is evident in every scene. From the costumes to the period sets, the film-makers didn't take shortcuts.

The background shots in the various countries and historical places are breath-taking, and the mad inventions are truly stunning. 

Some of the film is fantastic, and some of it outlandish, but as far as kid's movies go, you could do a lot worse.

But there is another reason to see this movie. No, not for Steve Coogan...or even Schwarzenegger as a drunk Turkish prince.

You handsome man, you

The reason you need to see this film is simple. You won't being Jackie Chan at the top of his game anymore like he is here.

That's right. Jackie has gotten old, which I find to be extremely inconsiderate. He won't be making any more action movies like this.

This movie, in many ways, was the perfect vehicle for Jackie Chan. He's very good at pure entertainment for entertainment's sake, and he shines here. 

I kinda wish this film had lived up to Chan's sense of adventure and humor.

Around The World In 80 Days bombed big time financially and critically. It lost about 40 million, and got mostly negative reviews.

A whole bunch of families decided to stay away from this movie, and I'm not entirely sure I understand why. It was fun, and made my kid laugh. I rarely ask for more than that in a children's film.

Yes, this film is far from perfect...there is no doubt about that.

But like I said, you could do a lot worse.

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