|Index||8 reviews in total|
This is my favourite of Michael Palin's irresistable travel shows, and
despite the fact that I know the outcome, I revisit it over and
The sights from London to Cairo, Shanghai to Tokyo, and Aspen to New York are breathtaking to see, and Michael Palin's delightfully humorous and informative commentary is a joy.
The journey retains all of its excitement every time I view it, and I hope I will never grow tired of it.
I recommend that all lovers of travel see this, and anyone else for that matter, as the sights are fantastic to see from your own armchair.
Michael Palin exudes warmth and depth of character as he attempts to follow
in the footsteps of Phileas Fogg. His wit, sincerity and enthusiasm set this
documentary apart from other pretenders as he experiences the pleasure, pain
and fulfilment of a voyage of discovery. One cannot help being in awe of
this production which educates and entertains simultaneously. Palin was to
follow this series with other 'adventures', which show him to be an affable
character with genuine wit and intellect. Along his journey he has memorable
encounters with beast and humanity, and his writings and narration capture
all of the emotions.
After watching a couple parts of the film in a class I was taking at Ohio State, I was hooked and had to find out for myself how the whole thing played out. After watching the entire program, I had to get a copy of it on DVD. The DVD of it is also a brilliant masterpiece. Every facet of the program is perfectly put together, as is the case for the other five travel documentaries he did later. Palin, as is the case for his other travel documentaries, shows the viewers many places of the world we only read about in encyclopedias. He goes many places we would only dream of seeing. If you are a fan of Palin, geography, travel, or documentaries, this is a good show to catch. This is one documentary you will want to watch over and over again, like yours truly; I give it an A+!
This review is based on watching the DVD version sold in the UK.
Availability of this program on DVD for the N. American market is not
known at the time of this review. Note that the UK version can't be
played in N. America without special equipment as it is "region 2" and
"Around the World in 80 Days" was made in 1988, and marked the start of Michael Palin's career in making travelogues for BBC television. The program was a huge success and has since been sold to many other television stations all over the world, and was released on videotape, and now on DVD (at least in the UK). Since then five other BBC travelogues have been made with Michael Palin: "Pole to Pole", "Full Circle", "Hemingway Adventure", "Sahara" and "Himalaya". I recommend all of them, as well as the books that have been made for each trip.
In this trip Michael Palin follows roughly in the footsteps of the fictitious Phileas Fogg, the hero of Jules Verne's novel from 1872. The self-imposed rule was that airplane travel was not allowed, so the trip had to be done by train, ship, car, bus, etc.
The trip is beautifully filmed and Michael Palin's wit and charm makes it a special experience. Many different cultures and countries are experienced, and many interesting people and situations encountered.
A somewhat negative aspect is that a large portion of the travel time was aboard ships. With the exception of a dhow trip across the Arabian Sea (a high point of the entire trip) the days aboard ships were rather boring and prevented the interesting experiences that land travel would have resulted in.
This is most evident when Michael Palin disembarks from one ship in Singapore harbor at midnight and rushes through immigration and then exit processing and leaves the harbor at 2 AM to take a launch out to another ship that is waiting for him at sea just outside the harbor! He never gets to see Singapore at all, and remarks himself, "I thought I'd see the world on this trip. I can't see a thing!"
Despite the above criticism this is a great program and highly recommended.
The DVD version consists of three discs with seven 50-minute episodes, for a total of almost six hours.
One slightly unexpected thing is that the first six episodes cover the first half of the journey (London to the middle of the Pacific) while the last half of the journey is covered by a single episode. But it does actually make sense, as the last half of the journey is mostly ship travel and crossing the United States. The first half of the journey is much, much more complicated and many more countries are crossed or visited, and the first half also took many more days (58) than the last half (22).
As extra material on the DVDs there is a very interesting 18-minute interview with Michael Palin that I really liked. Among the intriguing facts that are revealed:
- Michael Palin was very flattered when the BBC contacted him and told him that he'd been selected for this program because they thought that he was exactly the right person for the job. It was only later that he discovered that he had been number four on a list of possible candidates - the first three had all declined!
- The BBC's contract with the producer was to make a program consisting of six episodes. But during the editing they became convinced that the trip across the Arabian Sea with the dhow was so fascinating that it should take up 45 minutes instead of 10 minutes in the program, and that the entire program should then be seven episodes. The BBC's initial reaction to being given seven episodes instead of six was one of ingratitude!
Highly recommended, as are all of the Michael Palin travelogues, both on DVD and as books.
Michael Palin manages to make us look at the world through a fascinating perspective. He talks about Philleas Fogg as though as if he was a real character that he's trying to catch up and in the meantime we share with him the joys and dangers of a journey that takes him from the battlefields of the Middle East, to the Purple Mountains of the American West. We can see how the world changes as people and places differ and we get a small taste of our wonderful and diverse world. Definitely a must see for anyone who enjoys travel.
Michael Palin travelled around the globe in Pole to Pole, Full Circle, and Hemingway Adventure. Around the World in 80 Days done twice in 1989 on TV, by follower Monty Pythoner Eric Idle played Passepartout, but Palin did the trip for real. This is his first, based on the fictious trip of Phileas Fogg by Jules Verne. Palin travels by ground transport without a plane flight around the world within the 80 days. You wonder if he will make the alloted time for the trip or not? It is an enjoyable journey following the places that Verne wrote about in the book. It was a pleasure to read and watch this show.
I loved the series but the DVDs you will link to are NOT the dvds of Palin'e journey. Panlin makes a great journey following the original intent of the story. He does not use aircraft and I find the journey both interesting and dramatic. Following the journey of Phineous is difficult today...surprisingly. His observations are amusing and interesting...especially to people from the US. The question that Palin constantly worries about is whether he can make it in 80 days and it is a dramatic race to the finish. Watch out, the dvds on Amazon are not the dvds of Palin's journey. I hope that someday they will make a version for us. Until then, be very careful.
Travelogue is nothing new. But this one had a funny Brit and a superior
premise. Michael Palin attempts to copy the exploits of fictional
character Phileas Fogg, by trying to travel around the world (without
flying) in 80 days. Within this premise, there lies great tension which
is unlike most other travelogue before it. That's the genius of this
series. And with the likable Michael Palin at the helm, this made for a
superior compelling watch.
Like all great things, there would soon be a lot of imitators... including Michael Palin himself. But none of them could ever be the first again and none of them had a better premise.
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