22
Jul 04

Do not base your knowledge of 19th century travel

Do You SeePost a comment • 218 views

Do not base your knowledge of 19th century travel on the Jackie Chan/ Steve Coogan Around The World In 80 Days. Its setting at the turn of the twentieth century gives it a number of problems, not least that the route taken by Fogg is frankly ludicrous. He takes about twenty days to get to Turkey, all by train. The Suez Canal had been open for a considerably longer period at this point and if he wanted to get to India by the fastest route possible this was surely the way to go. And even giving him twenty days to get from the Himalayas to Hong Kong misses the key point that much of this job is done on foot and via the not particularly handy Great Wall Of China.

Luckily the China detour gives us the excuse for the one long pure combat sequence in the film which Chan and his young charges relish. The rest of the film seems a mish-mash of inaccurate travelogue, inaccurate history lessons and dodgy art history (an awful lot of dodgy art history – suggesting that Schwarzenegger was the initial model for Rodin’s the Thinker is pushing stuff a bit). At the moment they invent one of those terribly Victorian flying machines – cf Young Sherlock Holmes – you fear they might not even use the twist in Verne’s book. They do, luckily, but the wind is aleady taken out of its sails by the victorious if a minute late arrival from the sky. 

And the Richard Branson cameo? What were they thinking? (I hope they were thinking he might give them some money, because they need it).

Oh. And I loved it.

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