Lots of family fun for rent this week

Colleen Stein

Colleen Stein

Around the World in 80 Days (PG) Walt Disney PicturesDirected by Frank Coraci (Murdered Innocence, The Wedding Singer, Waterboy)

This 1872 novel has been remade into a movie three times. In this most recent version, the comedy/adventure stars Steve Coogan as wealthy inventor Phileas Fogg (above right) and Jackie Chan as his valet, the faux-Frenchman Passporteux.

While they both agree to the challenge of traveling around the world in 80 days, each has his own agenda along the way.

After launching off in their air balloon, they stop in France and meet the female impressionist painter, Miss La Roche (above left). On a train through Turkey, they are stopped by Prince Hapi, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who seeks to make Miss La Roche wife number seven in his harem.

Owen and Luke, the Wilson Brothers, make a cameo as the Wright Brothers, the plane-flying pioneers.

Final Verdict: I admit, my expectations were not high. But the colorful characters and humorous historic tie-ins made this film digestible. If the first movie you are looking for is all checked out, consider this as candidate number two.

Shrek 2 (PG)Dreamworks PicturesDirected by Andrew Adamson, Conrad Vernon, Kelly Asbury (Shrek, Chronicles of Narnia – 2004)

In this children’s CGI instant classic, Shrek and his new bride, Fiona are invited to stay at her parents’ castle located in the town of Far, Far Away. However, the two fail to receive a very warm welcome upon their arrival and it is soon learned that there is an ulterior motive behind their invitation.

Fiona’s Fairy Godmother, who is more like one of Coppola’s Godfathers, has plans to break up the two happy ogres in order to let her son Prince Charming wed the princess instead. Along with the feature film, fans will enjoy Shrek 2’s fully-loaded menu screen packed with bonus features before the show.

Final Verdict: For the very few people who didn’t make it to Shrek 2 in theaters, this film is faster, trendier, and, yes, funnier than the the first Shrek.

While the donkey continues to grate on my nerves, the tiny orange Puss-in-Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas, offers a little feline force to help Shrek rescue his fair maiden.

Shrek 2 will be released on Friday instead of the traditional Tuesday, probably because of the $104.3 million it pulled in at the weekend box office. My prediction is that most people will forgo the rental process and simply buy it on the spot.