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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Travel > Mini-Series > Literature > Michael Palin Around The World In 80 Days (Documentary/BBC)

Michael Palin Around The World In 80 Days (Documentary)


Picture: C Sound: C+ Extras: C Episodes: B



Despite all the fantastical science fiction and adventure tales Jules Verne wrote, Around The World In 80 Days is as well known as any of them, as embodied by the huge hit 1956 epic blockbuster with David Niven that won the Best Picture Oscar that year. Starting in the late 1980s, several companies decided to revisit the book with forgettable mini-series (why remake a classic?) and so did Michael Palin. Fortunately, he decided to do them all one better by taking the trip in real life in the TV documentary mini-series Michael Palin Around The World In 80 Days in 1989.


The BBC has released a new 3-DVD set of the program and it brought back amused memories that he would actually try this. Being Monty Python alumni, many expected far more humor, but I think there is more there than one might first think and it is a much fresher approach than overproduced and silly rehashes. Also, I do not think almost 20 years later that new technology would have changed the journey for the better. Some things are better left as is.


The 1.33 X 1 image was filmed, but these analog Pal masters are softer than they should be, with limited color and depth. Especially with the locations, the film masters should still be in the BBC vault and deserve new HD remastering. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sounds good for it age and the material is watchable enough, but should look like the stills on the back of the DVD case. The only extra is a new Palin interview (anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1, shot in HD), but that is all.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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