There is an aspect to the premise of some nineteenth-century adventure fictions that makes them slightly quaint yet more than familiar with the work. This is the case of ‘Around the world in 80 days’, whose new television adaptation arrives today on Movistar Plus+ with David Tennant at the helm.
I mean, and the fact that the protagonist and his presumed colleagues/friends spend working hours in a gentlemen’s club that the last time they worked (if anything) was by mistake, makes us see fascinated the usual bet that starts the adventure.
A reinterpretation of Verne’s novel
Based on Jules Verne’s play, Ashley Pharoah tackles the writing of this eight-episode series (renewed for a season 2, by the way) aware both of the circumstances of the original book and of the times and proposes a quite interesting reinterpretation, at least in my opinion.
On the one hand, Pharoah washes out the protagonists and introduces substantial changes. Although very intelligent, there is a certain ingenuousness (and lack of street) in David Tennant’s Fogg that the literary one lacks. A Fogg that at times remembers too much to the Doctor.
But It is in the adventure partners where we can see the most change. Ibrahim Koma’s Passepartout has a slightly more complicated and unresolved past in France; and Fix is now a fearless journalist (played by Leonie Benesch) in search of validation who turns out to be more resolute than her fellow travelers.
So the script cares not so much for the vicissitudes and setbacks of this odyssey around the world that for the reasons that come to these three strangers to get together and try to achieve the feat. Is it just getting out of the comfort zone? What do they need to prove? What lies under the surface of Fogg, Fix and Passepartout?
All of this is explored as, episode by episode, we jump from place to place thanks to the effective direction by Steve Barron, which reinforces the spirit not so much of adventure but of evasion of the proposal. Perhaps where it fails the most is in the production design, which falls somewhat short depending on which sequences.
In general, ‘Around the world in 80 days’ is quite refreshing on television where this genre is not lavished. a fabulous apt adventure hobby for the entire family.