Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

I am writing this review in 2021, which means that the original film version of Around the World in 80 Days came out 65 years ago. There have so many advancements in filming techniques and special effects that it is hard to sit here and knock a film for those. However, there is one aspect that has been around since the beginning of time, and that is whether or not the story being told is any good. 

That is where Around the World in 80 Days comes in. I’ve now seen over 62 Academy Award winners as of this writing, and this one has to be the absolute most boring of them all. 

I never found myself entertained or even slightly engaged in the story of two men risking their lives to travel around the globe in less than 80 days. Whether it was hot air balloons, cruise ships, sailing boats, trains, or even carriages, I never felt the sense of adventure from our lead characters. Everything felt dry and very monotone. The majority of the supporting cast spent their screentime being stuck up and rude that there was never a moment to actually get to know and like these characters.

I read this book when I was a kid. I don’t remember a single thing about the story. That is a problem because I don’t recall the whole detective angle, where we find Phileas Fogg (David Niven) being chased at every stop on his journey, accused of robbing a bank. The men who Fogg has a bet with on whether he accomplishes his goal think that he’s funding the trip from the bank robbery, so applaud the chase and arrest so they can win the bet. 

I really disliked this movie and thrilled to have crossed it off my list. The only few minutes I enjoyed was on the final leg of the journey; Fogg and his right-hand man Passepartout (Cantinflas) are passengers on a steamboat going at a plodding pace. Fogg buys the boat and instructs the crew to disassemble it to burn it to fuel the furnace and speed up the journey. I laughed as the men go on to take apart every nonessential piece of wood on the boat. It was the only part that made me chuckle, and I was actually happy to watch. 

As much as I hated most of the film, the ending, which happens abruptly, really left a sour taste in my mouth. I felt it was like a slap in the face for the three hours I spent watching this garbage. 1/10


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