Jackie Chan, Steve Coogan, Jim Broadbent, Kathy Bates, Cecile de France, Ewen Bremner, John Cleese, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, Richard Branson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark Addy, Wim Wenders, Rob Schneider
In this highly inventive take on Verne’s enduring classic, Passepartout (Chan) must make it to China in order to restore a valuable jade Buddha that was stolen from his family’s village. He seeks refuge with an eccentric London inventor, Phileas Fogg (Coogan), who puts his reputation, fortune, and career as an inventor on the line in a daring bet to make it around the world in eighty days. Joining them is Monique (de France), a young French artist who decides a trip around the world would be a perfect cure for her lost inspiration. After convincing them to take her along for the ride, she finds not only her artistic spirit, but also falls in love with uptight scientist Fogg. Opposing the group is Lord Kelvin (Broadbent), who has wagered his position as head of the Royal Academy of Science against their journey’s success. In order to “stop Phileas Fogg by any means necessary,” Kelvin sends the bungling Detective Fix (Bremner) who plays the comic punching-bag to Passepartout’s martial arts genius.
Their adventure takes them to many colorful and exotic lands from historic London to Paris, India, China, across the Great Seas, to the burgeoning United States and more. Along the way, the group runs into an eclectic assortment of characters including Queen Victoria (Bates), Scotland Yard Sergeant (Cleese), Parisian painter (Wenders), hot air balloon engineer (Branson), Turkish Prince (Schwarzenegger), eccentric hobo (Schneider), steamer captain (Addy), and other international star cameos.
I love the ’56 David Niven version – I’m not sure what the emphasis on martial arts will do to the tone.
The original Jules Verne novel can be read online here.