FILM REVIEW: Tricked into watching a Chan movie
Inventors live in a world of eccentrics, thrills and possibilities – that’s what makes them so intriguing. Worldwide travel brims with adventure and mishaps – that’s what makes it so alluring.For nearly a century, the idea of transforming Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days” into a visual spectacle has enchanted filmmakers – from the silent, black-and-white 1914 version to the full-length feature in 1956 and a 1989 mini-series.But director Frank Coraci seems to have traded Verne’s enchanting story for a template to create another Jackie Chan movie.
The 1956 film’s tagline is “It’s a wonderful world, if you’ll only take the time to go around it,” and that’s exactly where the 2004 version falters.It doesn’t take time to develop inventor Phileas Fogg’s (Steve Coogan) passion, thrills, obstacles and ultimate conquests.Instead, it jam-packs scenes with Chan antics, interrupting an engaging stopover in Paris with a Chan-style, martial arts brawl. Nearly every visit to foreign lands simply acts as a backdrop for Chan’s over-the-top, not-so-funny-anymore stunts.
To the film’s credit, the beauty of scenery soars throughout the movie, and for awhile, the plot involving Chan stealing a jade Buddha from England to return to his Chinese village creates interest.But my attention waned after realizing Walt Disney Pictures essentially tricked me into sitting through a Chan movie.The movie circumvents the turn of the century’s struggle for modernization, the excitement of pushing human boundaries and the thrill of surmounting obstacles that don’t involve Chinese gangs with gnarly weapons.
Instead, it adds a series of interesting but somewhat distracting cameos by such actors as Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Turkish prince with six wives, Kathy Bates as Queen Victoria, Owen Wilson as Wilbur Wright, John Cleese as a grizzled sergeant and Rob Schneider as a hobo.Overall, the movie is fairly entertaining – especially if you’re a Chan fan – but the heart of the true adventure never fully soars into the new millennium.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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