The Hess Report

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Movie Review

Magical Adventure! A Wiggly Movie

This is the 2003 rerelease of the 1997 utter fiasco originally titled The Wiggles Movie. If you have young children, you have probably seen the Wiggles in their latest incarnation as vile, hypnotic whores for the Disney corporation. Even if you don’t have kids, you still may have seen them. Imdb lists Dean Covell as the director. Click on his link, and you see that this is the only project that he has ever worked on. Ever. It shows.

This movie is completely insane. And not good insane. Bad insane. I watched about a half hour of it with my kids last week. We got it from the library. Strangely enough, I had been under the impression that libraries were supposed to educate America’s youth or something, as opposed to shooting steaming bazooka-loads of Wiggly turd-missiles through their brains and the unsuspecting brains of their respective parents.

The storyline is nothing more than an insulting sham (even by kids’ show standards), designed to have the Wiggles visit each and every one of their costumed friends in sequence. The scenes are peppered with half-assed non-sequitors, almost as if they said “Wouldn’t it be wacky if we X’ed?”, but when it came time to actually X Y or Z in front the cameras, they were too embarrassed to really pull it off, and the director just let it ride. The special effects can only be called special in the same sense as the Special Olympics. The pathetic (and yes, literally, the poor souls who were compelled to produce this are deserving of pity) underwater effect during the Henry the Octopus scene is made worse only by the Wiggles half-embarrassed lame-ass walking underwater acting that they would sometimes do and sometimes not.

The songs that are listed on the DVD case are all present, in a manner of speaking. I’ve seen enough of the Wiggles half-hour show to know pretty much all of them. But this movie managed to make a mockery of even these semi-sorry artistic endeavors. At one point, the intro bars to one of the girls’ favorite songs came on, as the Wiggles were driving their Big Red Car across the countryside (which for no reason, by the way, spontaneously changes to a claymation long-shot, and then back to the live action closeup). The girls were excited. Woo hoo! But the Wiggles don’t actually sing the song, even though it’s listed on the DVD as being in the movie. Instead, each one does some kind of vocal rhythm along with the melody. The dog barking wasn’t too bad, and I can understand it, sort of. But the sneezing was pathetic, and Murray’s sneezes didn’t even sync with the soundtrack. When Jeff finally snored the song – that’s right, he snored the song – it was just snoring. It wasn’t to the beat or anything. He was just snoring. I know that Lucy and Maddie must have been like “What the freaking heck?” and I wanted to console them. I really did. But I felt like I had just seen something horrible, like Les Nessman watching the turkeys falling from the sky in Cincinnati on that fateful day. I could offer them no solace in the face of such a tragedy.

Other bit and pieces that I remember through a nightmarish haze include a child actor that was far too old to be playing the part she had, several songs in which the editors didn’t bother to even attempt a lip sync, and a horrible curly-haired man and a person in a dinosaur costume grabbing and arguing over a magic stick in front of a ransacked hay stack.

I’ve watched other kids’ shows. Some of them aren’t bad. Some of them are great. This is not. This is horrifying. What was Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International doing in 1997 when this movie was being made? They should have been rescuing the poor poor children who were forced, probably at knife-point, to be in this movie. I think that this might honestly be the worst movie I have ever seen in my life.

Of course, these days, the Wiggles are a Disney property. They’re clearly in better shape now then they were in 1997. Their choreography is tight. Their music is well produced. They have snazzier haircuts and snazzier outfits. They appear on the syndicated Playhouse Disney kids’ show cavalcade and have recently begun to tour the United States. I have this vision of a Disney bruiser with an automatic weapon, just off camera, forcing them to work out, and learn their dances, and sing songs about how kids should love Playhouse Disney (seriously, that's one of their songs). I'm picturing Will Eisner smuggling Odai Hussein into Orlando, and he beats the holy crap out of the Wiggles whenever they slack in their Disneyrific training regimen or get the slightest bit snotty with a spoiled kid who has forty posters for them to sign. They are carted from gig to gig in a dank, windowless van, locked into their seats lest they try to flee at a random stoplight, making their way back to the safe and peaceful semi-star existence of the land down under. They’re coming to Pittsburgh in August. I'll be looking for a van driven by the mustachioed Ace of Hearts.

The one and only thing that the Wiggles have going for them is that it’s one of maybe three shows that the girls can actually agree on to watch that will hold both of their attention for a half an hour. One precious half hour of sleep on Saturday and Sunday each weekend. So they had that going for them. But then they had to rerelease this movie. And now I hate them.

So that’s it. Do you want to see the worst movie ever made? One so bad that you can’t even ironically enjoy it? This is way worse than Battlefield Earth, which I watched. Everything that was wrong with that movie – incoherent “plot”, embarrassing acting and writing, people who obviously had to be on sedatives just to be in the proper frame of mind to participate in such an ego-shattering train wreck – is wrong with the Wiggles movie, but it’s not fun this time. If you do decide to watch this movie, you’ll need lots of alcohol, or something like a jellyfish on hand that you can press against your face every now and then to remind yourself that you are, in fact, still alive, and not trapped in some lower circle of Hell.

With all that said, if they had just included the psychedelic Wiggles puppets with their crazy-man eyes and squeaky voices, then I might have been able to forgive them. But until they give me a ninety minute adventure featuring said puppets and the sombrero wearing lizards and the burping crab, with fast motion and drug-like swirling backgrounds (“Can you point – urp! – your fingers and do the twist? – urp!”), they are on my Wiggly list.

I swear to you that my next post will be coherent.

Comments: Post a Comment