Around the World in 80 Days is a successful family adventure series (review)

Around the world in 80 days
France TV / Rai / ZDF

David Tennant makes a perfect Phileas Fogg in this adaptation of Jules Verne with magnificent sets and a twirling spirit which starts this Monday on France 2.

This is not new: David Tennant is a fantastic actor. Whether as a silent cop in Broadchurch, as a space-time traveler in Doctor who, as a demon tying in Good omens, or even an elusive Marvel villain in Jessica jones, the English actor can play anything. With class and impertinence. And today he brilliantly puts himself in the shoes of Phileas Fogg, for this adaptation of the great classic by Jules Vernes: Around the world in 80 days !

It has been over 30 years since television tackled the great classic of French literature. The last time was with Pierce Brosnan – way before James bond – in the leading role! However, looking at this 2021 version, we say to ourselves that the serial format is perfectly suited to the Around the world in 80 days ! Designer Ashley Pharoah has divided Fogg’s travels into 8 parts, like little one-hour adventures, to the four corners of the planet. Because this well-born British notable, but bored to death after losing the woman of his life, bet 20,000 pounds that he would be able to travel the globe, in just over two months, thanks to modern innovations from the industrial Revolution…

20,000 pounds in 1873, that represents several hundreds of thousands of euros today! Proof that this Phileas Fogg there really needs a thrill to give back meaning to his life. It is a melancholy, pale and demoralized version, which David Tennant, like a dramatic contrast to the cheerful colors that illuminate the sublime sets of this series above all written as pure entertainment.

A great family spectacle, which recreates a very beautiful 19th century, between London and North Africa, Paris and the Orient. An adventure series in the noble sense of the term, which sets out to conquer the unknown with stars in their eyes. The serious budget of this European co-production (with the Italian Rai and the German ZDF) thus makes it possible to put enough in the eyes, as one would expect from such an adaptation. Hans Zimmer himself provides the musical atmosphere and Steve Barron, cult director of the first film Ninja Turtles (in 1990), took care of directing these 8 episodes.

Above all, as in any trip, the important thing is who you go with. And this Around the world in 80 days is performed in very good company. Around David Tennant, the Frenchman Ibrahim Koma makes an astonishing Passepartout, embarked on a delightful sentimental adventure with the sparkling Leonie Benesch.

Two months after the impressive Germinal, here is a new classic of literature adapted with taste and ambition by France Télé.

Around the World in 80 days, every Monday at 9:05 p.m. in France from December 20 (8×52 mn)

Leave a Reply