Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The Wiggles: gritty realists or class traitors? You be the judge...

The Wiggles Movie, part le deux. Last time we met, I was telling you that while The Dude (aged 1 ¾) might be impressed with the Wiggles Movie my higher faculties were left untouched by its artistic stylings.

As I mentioned, I nurture a tiny Wiggles obsession. I see all their differences, their subtle flaws and human failures and, above all, their shining successes as men of the stage and screen. And the Wiggles Movie (1997) provides a rich vein to be mined by the dedicated Wigglesologist.

The first thing that will strike you about the movie is how little they’re in it. At that first brain-storming meeting in which it was decided that the Wiggles were no one in this town until they had their own movie, the first order of business must have been: how the fuck do we fill 90 minutes? (I imagine it was Red Murray Wiggle who asked that question in all its coarse searing honesty. As their resident rock-God, he’s that kind of guy).

First answer: it’s just 83 minutes long.
Second answer: let this movie be about someone other than the Wiggles… crazy, no? Crazy like a fox!

The main plot is about Wally the magician, a hopeless gangly loser type, all curly hair and floppy limbs, trying to make it in the rough and tumble world of high-stakes theatrical magic. (Wally is played with a great deal of sighing and eye-rolling by Tony Harvey, the cynical dude on Amanda Keller’s Mondo Thingo Showo). The second plot-line, intertwined with the fortunes of Wally, is that Dorothy, everybody’s favourite infantile obese green dinosaur, thinks that the Wiggles have forgotten her birthday (because they’re secretly organising a surprise party! Surprise! It's a storyline borrowed originally from Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.)

So, to cut an 83 minute story even shorter, (SPOLIERS BEWARE) Wally wants to win the Magic Club competition being held later that day and thus the wand which once belonged to Waldo the Magnificent, believing this will make him great. Problem: he’s a classic no-talent fuck-up. Standing in his way is Roland the Remarkable, a sneering effete magician who pisses on poor Wally from a great height.

Wally decides he needs a wand to compete and so steals one from Yellow Greg Wiggle. Enter the Dinosaur! Dorothy catches Wally in the act and together they accidentally break the wand. Resolving to get the wand fixed, they set off to visit Dorothy’s friends – such regulars as Wags the dog, Henry the Octopus and Captain Feathersword – as Dorothy cycles in and out of giddy joy and horrific self-loathing.

As Murray might have said in that first brain-storming session: so where’s the fucking lesson here for the kids?

Well, of course, Wally discovers that his problem is not the lack of a wand, but the lack of self-belief, natch. He makes it to the magic competition just in time to compete (oooh, the suspense!) and wins, with the help of Dorothy and a super-dooper magic cabinet revealed to him in a dream by the long-dead Waldo the Magnificent (damn but those peyote buttons work a treat…).

So believing in yourself is the key to success, right? Think again. Waldo the magnificent, who saved Wally’s lanky pink derriere, was actually Wally’s great-great grand-father. And the president of the Magic Club, who is also one of the three competition judges, is actually Wally’s uncle.

So self-belief wins the day if backed by a dollop of nepotism. It’s Roland the Remarkable I feel sorry for. He might be an arrogant son of a bitch, but he’s a self-made magician who got where he is today by yanking his own rabbits out of his own hats. In the end, his hopes are crushed by a clueless thief with a sense of entitlement who coasts in at the last minute and wins, enjoying the fruits of a dynastic elite.

And ain’t that a fucking lesson for life?

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