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Around the World in 80 Days
Composed, Co-Orchestrated, Programmed, and Produced by:
Trevor Jones

Co-Orchestrated and Conducted by:
Geoffrey Alexander

Performed by:
The London Symphony Orchestra

Walt Disney Records

Release Date:
June 15th, 2004

Also See:
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
The Rocketeer
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Audio Clips:
11. Agra to China (0:32):
WMA (211K)  MP3 (260K)
Real Audio (161K)

12. Return of the Jade Buddha (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

13. Lost in America (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (251K)
Real Audio (156K)

15. "Exactly Like My Dream" (0:32):
WMA (209K)  MP3 (258K)
Real Audio (160K)

Regular U.S. release.


Around the World in 80 Days
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Sales Rank: 322685

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Buy it... if you're content with derivative but effective music for a children's adventure story that is highlighted by several short moments of Trevor Jones magic in the ethnic areas.

Avoid it... if the ten to fifteen minutes of stylish and intriguing Jones score for specialty ethnic instruments cannot transcend the lackluster songs and remainder of bombastically tiresome orchestral music.

Around the World in 80 Days: (Trevor Jones) Chalk up yet another remake in the "Why Bother?" column. Jules Verne's adventure novel is about late 19th century inventor Phileas Fogg and his companion Passepartout, who, to win a bet with the top of the Royal Academy, circumnavigate the globe in 80 days by using trains, boats, balloons, and elephants. The story of Around the World in 80 Days was adapted to the big screen in a 1956 classic that performed very well at that year's Academy Awards, and yet, in an effort to disgrace that film's legacy, Disney decided in 2004 to remake the story into a slapstick comedy starring aging kung-fu master Jackie Chan. Aside from the basic problem regarding the mere existence of this film, the nonstop, smugly silly punches and clumsy moves by the 50-year-old Chan contributed to laughing audiences and disgruntled critics. Cameo appearances by John Cleese, Kathy Bates, Rob Schneider, Jim Broadbent, and Arnold Schwarzenegger (in his final role before politics lured him from Hollywood) steal the show from a relative unknown (Steve Coogan) in the role of Fogg. By mutating Verne's story into a kung-fu style of ridiculous comedy, Disney completely altered the focus of the film, thus changing the approach that composer Trevor Jones would have to take with the score for the new Around the World in 80 Days. Teaching world music at the university level and often recording with the London Symphony Orchestra, Jones was nothing less than a brilliant choice for the composing duties of this film, regardless of its merits. The sustained quality of Jones' action writing continued to improve as his career matured, and he always has the capability of producing simple, but memorable themes for his scores. He reluctantly dropped out of scoring I, Robot to devote his sole attention to Around the World in 80 Days, and if this version of the tale had been as intelligent and as long as the original 1956 film (clocking in at 3 hours), then Jones could have been presented with the most diverse and interesting scoring assignment of his career. Unfortunately for the composer's collectors, Jones refused blockbuster assignments for the remainder of the 2000's, contenting himself instead with small projects of personal interest to him.

While Jones' music for this Frank Coraci directed version of Around the World in 80 Days is nothing less than ambitious and enthusiastic, his contribution to the film seems stuck in the rut of perpetual slapstick action of bombastic stature. Rather than producing an adventure of monolithic proportions, which seemed to be the intent with his score for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen the previous year, Jones swung the doors open to the realm of high-flying children's music. Perhaps more than any other composer in the modern era, Jones has proven to be a chameleon when forming a workable style within a score, and Around the World in 80 Days is a strong example of Jones adapting the sounds heard in previous Disney children's adventures and reproducing them at his customary, bloated levels of orchestration. The title theme for the film is a variation on Harry Gregson-Williams' swashbuckling tune for 2003's Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, and the rhythmic, harmonious action cues follow many leads from James Newton Howard's work for animated films by the same studio. The enormous magnitude of the noise produced by the London Symphony Orchestra, combined usually with break-neck tempos, may even remind the listener of the wild action cues from James Horner's The Rocketeer. The swashbuckling tone of "The Balloon Chase" contains more than just a hint of John Williams' Hook as well. The first half of the score is filled nearly wall to wall with this loud, straight-forward action material, and had Jones continued with only that direct, brass-blaring style, the score could easily have been a headache-inducing nightmare by the end. Luckily for the listener, the story takes audiences on a journey through a variety of different cultures, allowing Jones to stretch his legs in the areas of world music at which he maintains such a rich knowledge. The action music is by no means substandard, but it does exhaust your ears with its consistently brazen attitude and lack of one of those super-dominant themes that Jones is known for conjuring. If you bypass the more generic action cues in the first 20 minutes of the score on album, you'll find some much more impressive development with specialty instrumentation and a full choir near the end.

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As the story picks up another main character in "Rendezvous in Paris," Jones lays on the accordion as the first real break from the action, switching from polka to waltz rhythms that are simple in character, but a relief nonetheless. An elegant, sweeping variation on the rhythm carries into "1st Class Waltz," but Jones finally starts to cook with the female Turkish soprano voice that opens "Prince Hapi Escape." As the story progresses into the Far East, the following two cues offer the score's highlights; slower renditions of the score's themes performed by a Chinese violin and flute, with lush accompaniment from the full ensemble, easily outshine the rest of the score. For brief moments in these two cues, you can almost forget the ridiculous nature of the film and appreciate Jones' more serious melodic tendencies, sans his sometimes alluring electronic accompaniment. The "Lost in America" cue has the most playful and easily accessible action cues that are, understandably, saturated with the musical cliches of the Wild West. A honky tonk piano yields to a swinging clarinet theme in early high jazz style and, inevitably, the snappy percussion and rhythms of the cowboy lifestyle. The final two cues introduce the choral element into the mix, with Jones allowing both the instrumental and vocal ensembles to increase in velocity and intensity as the wager is won. A ripping snare propels listeners to the finale, and Jones leaves the story with the customary, pulse-pounding choral crescendo that you've come to expect from big-budget Disney adventures. On the album, three songs are placed before about 48 minutes of score material. The popular "Everybody All Over the World" is both decent and compatible with the score, incorporating a children's choir into a nice melody. David A. Stewart's performance tone, though, resembles Jeremy Irons' singing voice a tad too closely, and seems a little scruffy for such a peasant song. The "River of Dreams" song, starting like a bad rehash of Ace of Base from the mid-1990's, as well as the "It's a Small World" interpretation, range from irritating to outrageously out of place. Hearing the Baha Men crucify a Disney classic (the story didn't even go through the Caribbean, did it?) is especially disturbing. Overall, despite these snippets of commercialistic garbage from the studio, there are highly commendable parts of Jones' score that will make it worthy of some interest. Keep in mind that you do need to survive several temp track influences and relentlessly jovial comedy and action writing in the first half to get to the treasures that reside in the latter half. **** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Trevor Jones reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.78 (in 18 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.43 (in 24,499 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.15 Stars
Smart Average: 3.14 Stars*
***** 116 
**** 136 
*** 123 
** 93 
* 93 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Reasonably enjoyable score ***1/2 out of **...
  Kevin Smith -- 9/22/09 (6:58 p.m.)
   Re: Hook Influences...
  Jeremy -- 7/21/08 (3:03 p.m.)
   Re: The Hulk & Pirates of the Carbbean in t...
  zak -- 10/20/05 (2:36 a.m.)
   The Hulk & Pirates of the Carbbean in track...
  Levente Benedek -- 5/10/05 (12:35 p.m.)
   Alternate review of Around the World in 80 ...
  Jonathan Broxton -- 2/25/05 (4:43 a.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  

 Track Listings: Total Time: 58:11

• 1. All Over the World (Join the Celebration) - performed by Dave Stewart and the Sylvia Young Theater School Choir (3:12)
• 2. River of Dreams - performed by Tina Sugandh (3:31)
• 3. It's a Small World - performed by Baha Men (2:44)
• 4. Around the World Overture (5:20)
• 5. Jetback Journey (2:19)
• 6. The Wager (5:03)
• 7. Rendezvous in Paris (3:51)
• 8. The Balloon Chase (4:49)
• 9. 1st Class Waltz (2:07)
• 10. Prince Hapi Escape (3:11)
• 11. Agra to China (6:42)
• 12. Return of the Jade Buddha (3:38)
• 13. Lost in America (5:09)
• 14. Dismantling Carmen (1:45)
• 15. "Exactly Like My Dream" (4:45)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from Around the World in 80 Days are Copyright © 2004, Walt Disney Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 6/16/04 and last updated 10/7/11. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2004-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.