Around the World in 80 Days - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Around the World in 80 Days Reviews

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Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ August 20, 2014
Before "Logan's Run", Michael Anderson presented us "Fogg's Run"! This guy might can take only 80 days to make it around the world, but it takes a couple more than that to watch him do so. No, it takes "way" more days than that, because the total time taken up by the Edward R. Murrow-hosted prologue that has the audacity to show footage from [u]another movie[/u] ("A Trip to the Moon", if anyone's vaguely interested), and the animated credits sequence at the end, runs about 80 days, or at least it probably felt like it did at a time when they didn't even have ending credits sequences. Yeah, if you're going to be ambitious enough to employ Saul Bass to make some cartoon for you, even if you just use him at the end of your movie, he's going to need to have his time to shine, so maybe it's a good thing that this film is ultimately over two-and-a-half hours long. There better be something to justify that length, because although this film is plenty adventurous, it isn't exactly the most dramatically sweeping epic to take home Best Picture. I don't know how much depth you can get out of a film that is based on a Jules Verne novel... or features an extensive cartoon sequence by the guy whose other major globe design was for AT&T. Well, at least the film a whole lot of fun, even if it does take its time to work its way down a path that isn't even especially original.

The film has refreshing touches, but they just shine a light on the conventional aspects which render the final product predictable, and to make matters all the more aggravating, a lot of the tropes are taken from cheesy formulas. The film is not as corny as I feared it would be, thanks to all of the wit, which can still do only so much to dance around the cornball bits, even within characterization that, even in the context of this fluffy pseudo-fantasy flick, can be a little hard to buy into, limiting engagement value which is further shaken by questionable structuring. As I said, this film is simply too long, with momentum being all but completely lost once the film finds itself running into moments of sheer filler, if not overtly extensive observations of the lavish settings which force a sense of immersion, and dilute a sense of progression, though perhaps not as much as the overdrawn dedication toward each segment of this episodic adventure. I reckon the episodicity is more excusable than the many moments of playing Cantinflas' conceptually secondary lead Passepartout character over David Niven's Phileas Fogg lead, but it's still detrimental to focal consistency in this epic which thrives on its episodic shenanigans, seeing as how it doesn't have much conflict to focus on. This film is plenty well-done, despite the aforementioned issues, so the final product could have rewarded if it wasn't so superficial, even in concept, following an ultimately inconsequential story that doesn't have much value beyond the entertainment sort. It's ultimately natural shortcomings which hold the film back, but they certainly make, say, the lengthiness all the more problematic, driving the underwhelming final product as about as challenging as it is lively. Still, the point is that the film is a lot of fun, even with its superficiality, offering scope, charm and even aesthetic value.

Victor Young's Oscar-winning score is far from original, but it's closer to outstanding, with a beautiful whimsy and sweep, not unlike cinematography by Lionel Lindon which is lush and grand in scope, capturing the diverse environments of this adventurous opus beautifully. To be fair, the locations of this film are beautiful by on their own to begin with, as this film explores distinguished culture after distinguished culture, immersing you with its tastes, especially when it enhances the sets with pieces from James W. Sullivan art direction that further capture a sense of dynamicity. Really, the narrative itself is dynamic, not having enough depth or consistency to its layers for an often aimless runtime of around two hours and three quarters to feel justified, but still establishing a lot of potential for range as a cosmopolitan adventure epic. At the very least, there's a potential for entertainment value that is done about as much justice as anything, with director Michael Anderson keeping style and scene structuring tight enough to keep a sense of pacing a whole lot sleeker than the plotting's momentum. Anderson also has a knack for getting across-the-board decent performances, as this cast is full of colorful performances, the most colorful of which being by the leads, with David Niven being charismatic as a visionary and somewhat obsessive adventurer, while Cantinflas, despite having some issues with molding his Mexican accent into a French one, - ...especially during the scenes in which he speaks Spanish - is almost iconically charming as a good-hearted and colorful second-hand adventurer who particularly falls victim to shenanigans. It helps that these leads have plenty of delightful material to work with, because even though James Poe's, John Farrow's and S. J. Perelman's script gets a little excessive and formulaic to be working with such superficial subject matter, it delivers on sharp humor that often rings with moments of hilarity that stand true today, and mark heights in a cleverness that is more recurrently applied to the crafting of dynamic, colorful and altogether memorable set pieces. I've said it time and again, and I once again say that this film is a lot of fun, trying your patience, sure, and not having that much meat to begin with, but still keeping you entertained enough throughout its sprawling course to at least border on rewarding.

When the trip is done, among the many tropes in this film is cheesy occasions, while excessiveness leads to unevenness to the episodic telling of a story that isn't even all that meaty to begin with, having enough superficiality to drive the final product shy of rewarding, but not enough to prevent grand scoring and cinematography, immersive locations and art direction, colorful direction and performances, and a thoroughly clever script from securing Michael Anderson's "Around the World in 80 Days" as a thoroughly fun, if somewhat superficial epic.

2.75/5 - Decent
½ August 3, 2014
Not bad. Had the potential to be frightfully boring, especially considering its 3-hour running time. The plot is quite conventional, and feels reasonably padded. Also can be a bit mundane if you already know the story (and who doesn't).

However, it was fairly entertaining. Made so mostly by the scenery and excellent cinematography. Felt like a travel documentary.

The occasional humour also helps.

Performances are nothing to write home about. David Niven is overly stuffy as Phileas Fogg. (But that's all he knows how to do). Supporting cast have a host of big names in minor, sometimes very fleeting roles: Noel Coward, Sir John Gielgud, Trevor Howard, Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, John Carradine, Buster Keaton.

Certainly didn't deserve a Best Picture Oscar, but not that bad.
½ July 29, 2014
(First and only viewing - 11/22/2010)
July 13, 2014
Perhaps the most amazing cast in cinema history, although most of the stars appear for just a few seconds. The script is rather thin but visually it is as big the world it circumnavigates.
July 6, 2014
Great film for its locations. All star cast and cameos. I would love to see it again when it comes out on Blu-ray; that would be something!
½ May 12, 2014
One of the weakest Best Picture winners. A not bad, not good movie.
½ April 21, 2014
Lavish, yes, but too lengthy and drawn out. The music felt cloying to me, as did many of the actors.
April 11, 2014
A travel log for its time.
½ April 3, 2014
Around the World in 80 Days has fine cinematography and visuals, but it has a bloated running time, a cheesy and dated story with a tone that lacks seriousness and is filled with a number of boring and overly stretched scenes making this film one of the least deserved Best Picture winners.
½ February 16, 2014
Michael Anderson puts all of his best efforts into the creation of Around The World In 80 Days, but the entertainment is very limited and there is little payoff from this outdrawn adventure film.
½ January 20, 2014
An extraordinary film. Well-acted, beautifully shot, wonderfully scored, excellently-written. It gets it right in most facets. My qualm is that some of the show numbers wane unnecessarily long. It's simply too long, & I'm not sure that the story is quite defined or involved enough to warrant such extravagant length. Regardless, it is otherwise one of the best illustrations of what a film spectacle should be.
December 15, 2013
Colourful, lavish fantasy tale based on Jules Vernes novel. A touch too long possibly but keep an eye out for all the cameos from a great cast
Super Reviewer
½ September 19, 2013
'Around the World in Eighty Days' is a curious disaster. Its lavish production design, expensive sets and celebrity cameos are used to disguise its shallowness, unevenness and dated British humor, but they don't. Maybe in 1956 they did, but not today. It works in small bits, but not as whole. As a side note, one of the most peculiar things about it is how Cantinflas won the Best Actor - Comedy/Musical award at the Golden Globes while the film itself won the Best Motion Picture - Drama award. No one ever brings that up and it just doesn't make a lick of sense.
½ August 11, 2013
Historical value of this movie is unquestionable. However it ignores all fundamental principles of modern storytelling and that makes these 3 hours almost unbearable. Depiction of native Americans is also ridiculously biased and ignorant.
June 3, 2013
It's infinitely better than the terrible remake, but this is by no means a classic. Should not have won Best Picture.
May 30, 2013
A rich guy travels around the world for the hell of it.
May 13, 2013
Very different from the book. But that didn't mater.
April 7, 2013
I saw it as a very young child and loved it!
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