As if being fortunate enough to receive free movie tickets wasn’t enough, I have to go and waste my time on a second film. See, when you arrive three and a half hours before the free movie starts you have two options: 1) go have a pleasant meal, read a book, then attend the free movie OR 2) grab a snack, rush into one movie then hurry out and into line for the next while scarfing down a theatre hot dog. Guess which one I chose. In truth, the only problem I had with these movies was that I really had to pee. But enough about me… time for some facts.
This movie was absolutely wonderful. My major complaint from the trailer was the shift in Fogg’s character from sensible banker to flighty inventor and that damned flying machine. But watching the movie and Steve Coogan’s performance, I thought the shift makes more sense on screen. Plus his inventions (and the plane) were wonderful showcases of a Verne-esque imagination. Jackie Chan added a lot of humor and a wonderful base for Coogan to play off of. It might have been the writing, but their energy was beautiful. A wonderful caveat of this film is the glut of celebrity cameos. You’ve got the Governator, Kathy Bates, John Cleese, Rob Schneider, and in one of the funniest on-screen moments ever, Luke and Owen Wilson. Then there’s the clumsy Inspector Fix played by funny-man Ewen Bremner (the awesome Scottish dude from The Rundown) who took every opportunity he could to fall down, run into a wall, or get smacked around. The travel around the world was abbreviated (obviously you can’t sit in a theatre for 80 days waiting for the movie to end) beautifully by these animated segments where you would zoom out of one city and travel over a map, then zoom into an animated version of the next important location. I really liked it. Of course the movie had your typical hero overcoming impossible odds and struggling through adversity to find that true love and friendship are the most important things of all, but the movie was incredibly fun, making it well worth it to sit through the boring parts about a Jade Buddha and the British plot to conquer China (or something, I didn’t care about that part). Jackie Chan (as always) did some awesome fight sequences and spiced it up with his special brand of “physical comedy.” A definitely recommended movie with lots of laughs.
The movie begins kind of slowly with Tom Hanks getting arrested and processed as an unacceptable (pretend these potato chips are Krakozia…POP!) and gets kind of sad as he figures out (by running around watching TV News) that his country is at war with itself. Then the movie starts to pick up humor-wise. He looses the food coupons he was given and tries to survive by eating crackers with ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise (yuck!), makes money by returning the luggage carts, and living at the under-renovation Gate 67. He is foiled at every turn by Frank Dixon (portrayed by the wonderful Mr. Stanley Tucci) who wants to be promoted and sees Viktor as a problem that he doesn’t want to solve and shouldn’t be his responsibility. He constantly tries to get Viktor to break any law that would get him deported, but Viktor just walks around obeying the rules. Viktor tries to get a job, but nobody will hire him (amusing montage of people laughing at his resume “Did you say you live at Gate 67?”). When Viktor comes “home” one night and expertly finishes a construction job, he is hired by the airport contractors for $19 an hour, which is more than Frank makes. Meanwhile, Viktor is constantly distracted by Amelia Warren (the lovely Miss Catherine Zeta-Jones), who is screwing a married man outside of the terminal, so he just plays nice guy, treating her to an exquisite balcony meal served by his friends, including the ever-amusing Gupta, the Indian janitor who was really funny (watching people slip on wet floors and laughing). Finally, after Dixon reveals the truth about Viktor to Amelia, she gives up her love for him so that he can have a one-day visa into America to get the final signature for his deceased father’s collection of lesser-known jazz stars, which is really kind of touching. The movie ends with Viktor getting into a cab (the debt to his father eliminated) and telling the cabbie that he wants to go home.
This movie was thoroughly enjoyable with mile-a-minute laughs and very real life situations. The acting was incredible and the story and characters were credible and realistic. So go see it now that it’s in theatres.