[Screen It]


(2022) (voices of Raphael Alejandro, Rob Tinkler) (PG)

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Computer-Animated Comedy: An idealistic marmoset and a crime-minded frog set out to break the record of traveling around the world.

Passepartout (voice of RAPHAEL ALEJANDRO) is a young marmoset who's long dreamed of traveling the world, much like his adventurer idol, Juan Frog De Leon (voice of JUAN CHIORAN), who famously made it around the globe in just 90 days. Due to Passepartout's strict mother (voice of GWEN LA ROKA), however, it appears unlikely the young monkey will be embarking on his journey anytime soon.

That is, until petty thief Phileas (voice of ROB TINKLER) literally surfs into the seaside village and claims he can beat that record by ten days. With a large bet all his should he succeed, the frog sets out with Passepartout in tow and the town's constable gerbil, Agent Fix (voice of AIDA RODRIGUEZ), after the frog for allegedly robbing the local bank of 10 million clams.

Phileas and Passepartout end up losing her and continue on their quest, eventually joining forces with Princess Aouda (voice of MADI MONROE), a flying frog who's up for any adventure. With Agent Fix continuing her pursuit of them, Phileas and Passepartout race against time to beat the old record.

OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10

With the circumference of Earth being 24,901 miles, it would have taken primitive man -- assuming a non-stop gait of 3 mph and some magical way of doing so in a straight line -- nearly a year to circle the planet. Riding a non-galloping horse wouldn't have improved that by much (although it would have certainly alleviated blisters), but once man figured out how to sail the seas and travel by train, the circumnavigation time was definitely shortened.

So much so that Jules Verne wrote a book about it back in the 1870s, the appropriately titled "Around the World in 80 Days." Considering the era in which it was published, it was likely an astonishing tale for readers back then. Nowadays, when passenger jets can do so in just over a day (with stops to refuel) and the space station orbits the globe every 90 minutes, that old journey seems, well, long.

As does the latest adaptation of Verne's work that arrives in computer-animated form with the same title. While not the bastardization meets travesty that was the 2004 version (that starred Steve Coogan and Jackie Chan), this offering will likely test the patience of anyone older than say, 10-years-old, but might hit the sweet spot for those younger than that.

Not surprisingly considering that target audience, the 80-some minute film -- from screenwriters Gerry Swallow & David Michel (with some collaboration by Derek Dressler -- whatever that means) -- has been significantly simplified in plot from the original, although the major character names remain intact.

Phileas Fogg is now -- wait for it -- a frog (voiced by Rob Tinkler) who's first seen surfing into the coastal village where young Passepartout (Raphael Alejandro) dreams of one day traveling the world in all of its globetrotting glory. His mom (Gwen La Roka), though, puts the kibosh on that notion, and thus the marmoset can only dream of one day following in the footsteps of his idol, Juan Frog de Leon (Juan Chioran), who made the journey and holds the current record of doing so in 90 days.

When Phileas says he can best that by 10 days, the local, bet-crazy shrimp jump on what's certainly a future financial windfall. The crime-minded frog then sets out, not only to collect that booty upon his return, but also get away from the local constable, Agent Fix (Aida Rodriguez), who's cast a suspicious eye on the amphibian.

With her in hot pursuit for the rest of the film, Phileas and Passepartout embark on their journey where they encounter some biker scorpions, a snail leader and his tribal followers, and a flying princess (Madi Monroe) who helps save the day once they free her from a volcanic sacrifice.

Featuring animation that will never be considered that of Pixar or DreamWorks caliber, the flick is lively enough for tykes tired of rewatching other animated offerings. But it's a bit of a chore for anyone older than that due to a clear lack of character or story depth and its overall episodic nature. At least it's just 80 minutes rather than its namesake duration. "Around the World in 80 Days" rates as a 4 out of 10.

Reviewed May 7, 2022 / Posted May 13, 2022

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