Tuesday Thrill - Around the World in 80 Days

On Tuesdays, we'll take a look at genuine thrillers, or, like today adventure books (because they can be quite thrilling too...)

For today, I selected one of Jules Verne's classics:
Around the World in Eighty Days is one of those brilliant books you just have to read at least once in a lifetime.
It is filled with adventure and exotic places, the descripitions of locales and customes are fairly detailed and honest, although clearly seen through western eyes.
One of the details I particularly loved was that Fogg packed practically nothing for his journey, but he did take a Bradshaw (the train guide) with him! Well, you can't deny he's an efficient, practical and quintessentiel British chap.
Passepartout, with his eyes full of wonder, tends to supply the comic relief.

Like any good book, it's been filmed numerous times. Probably the best rendition is the 1956 one, with David Niven as Fogg and Cantiflas as Passepartout. They also started the tradition to fill the filmversion with cameo's, like Frank Sinatra and Noël Coward.

My personal favourite version of the adventure is probably the 1989 mini-series with Pierce Brosnan. He's rather good as Fogg, and Eric Idle and Peter Ustinov (as Passepartout and Fix respectively) ar brilliant together. They really emulate this friendship/conflict of interest that you can find in the original book between those two characters.
But what really endears it to my heart is that this version (which is over 4 hours long) is filled with appearances of all my favourite tv-stars of the 70s and 80s...

The most recent rendition (2004), with Jackie Chan is another story. Literally. This movie resembles the book about as much as Game of Thrones resembles actual history.
Don't get me wrong, in itself, the movie was quite entertaining (and I loved the part with Arnold Schwarzenegger, he was so funny), but really, if you're going to change so much of the story, then why not take the plunge and write an original story?
Oh, wait, I forgot. It's a Disney movie. Of course they're going to take a well-known work, put it in the title and then then film a story that is nothing like the original...

Reading Around the World in 80 Days did cause me to go on a bit of a Verne trip, and I've recently read 3 more short stories by him, wich has been a bit hit or miss:

- A Voyage in a Balloon: didn't like this on at all, I must admit. Basically, it's about people who go off in a balloon, and they have an uninvited guest with them, who takes over control over the balloon. And that person is rather obsessed with ballooning, it's history, and all the accidents that can happen...

- In the year 2889: Nowadays, this is a funny read. It's eerie how well Verne was able to predict future developments in science and inventions (even though he missed the mark by 900 years ;) )

- The Blockade Runners: Verne does write adventures well. This one is about an English trader who plans to break through the blockade of the Southern harbours (the story is set during the American civil war), sell goods to the south and return with a boatload of cheap cotton. Only problem; he has a (sort-off) stowaway with a different agenda...