Sunday, 6 July 2014

Around the World in 80 Days

Around the World In 80 Days, 1956
Directed by Michael Anderson
Nominated for 8 Oscars, Won 5
Wins Include: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography (Colour), Best Film Editing, Best Music (Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture)

Around the World in 80 Days is a story in which I'm quite certain would definitely work better as a novel. Indeed, it is adapted from the novel written by Jules Verne, and I'm sure it's quite a delightful novel. And while the film adaption is certainly an ambitious one, I'm not sure it was overall a very good film.

The story is quite simple. Phileas Fogg, an upper class English gentleman takes on a bet from some friends that, using all the new technology and advancements of the world, he can travel around the world in 80 days. And of course, the film is about his time traveling, trying to make the deadline and going on some grand adventures in between. However, the film is three hours in length, and the plot is as described above. Stretching this out over 3 hours is quite bloated and unnecessary but is done anyway.

The main thing this film had going for it was it's cinematography, which was definitely a well deserved win. The film takes us around the world, and it's in the moments that it's showing off the landscape of our new location is when it hits it's best. We get high up views when in the hot air balloon, and almost GoPro type views of cameras sitting atop trains.

However, this is the best we get from the film, by far. The character are very caricature, and there are tons of racial stereotypes and whitewashing within. The Americans are shown as cowboys and we then have savage native Americans attacking the train with bow and arrow. All the Spanish do is dance and bull fight and the Indians are riding on elephants and about to sacrifice one of their princesses. And said Indian Princess is played by a white woman- Shirley MacLaine.

The movie wasn't wholly uninteresting though. While it didn't have more of a plot than the title expresses, Phileas and his valet (and later on adding in the Indian Princess) do get into all sorts of trouble while travelling. The train they're on reaches the "end of the line" a little too early, they haven't constructed the whole line yet. Not to mention, there is a robbery of the Bank of England mentioned at the beginning of the film and Phileas is the main suspect, so the police are after him, though he is unaware. So we also have a police chase going on. My favourite part of the film was their landing in Spain and having an extended scene of the Spanish people dancing. They were very talented dancers and it was very fun to watch. However, there extended "ethnic" scenes came along a little too often and stayed a little too long.

Overall, the film is not overly terrible. It has some fun little moments but is by far too long and definitely overstays its welcome, especially with the racial stereotypes (though they aren't as bad as some other films and probably can point the finger toward the source material). However, the acting is not overly interesting and the main characters seem too caricature to be really bothered with getting to know. Had the film been an hour or so shorter (or even 45 minutes shorter) the film would've moved along at a better pace and would've been more fun. However, thus is not the case.

Acting- 6/10 
Directing- 6/10 
Screenplay- 6/10 
Visuals- 9/10 
Music- 8.5/10 
Emotional Connection- 5/10 
Entertainment- 6/10 
Rewatchability- 3/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 6/10 
Overall Package- 6/10       

Total: 61.5/100

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