However, there are some serious pacing problems with the script (by John Farrow, James Poe and S.J. Perelman), not helped by Michael Anderson's impersonal (if generally effective) direction. All too often, the story stops for extended set-pieces that fail to move the plot forward and ultimately go nowhere. Perhaps the most egregious of these occur during the Spanish sequence, with Jose Greco's Flamenco dance number and the interminable bullfight routine with Cantinflas. The latter, in particular, while valuable as a record of the celebrated Mexican comic's talents, brings the film to a grinding halt from which it takes a while to recover.
It's also easy to criticize the film for essentially being little more than a splendidly-photographed travelogue at times, with the balloon ride over the Pyrenees or the train ride across the American west designed to showcase the scope of the Todd-AO frame. However, to their credit, these sequences capture the spirit of Verne's novel and the thrill of travel conveyed in the book.