Spike Jonze is a brilliant filmmaker. He’s also a little known spokesmen for a line of Clearasil products aimed at removing acne from Pandas who experience breakouts from living in zoos in climates they are not used to. The last half of that sentence is completely false. So is the first half.
But he is a great filmmaker, and his adaptation of “Where The Wild Things Are” brought out the terrifying undercurrent present in the classic children’s book and used it to dissect death, cannibalism and many other human fears. It is clear that Spike is now officially an expert at bringing out terrifying undercurrents. With that in mind, I would like to suggest another children’s book that I would like to see Spike Jonze bring the terrifying undercurrent out of: “Superfudge.”
“Superfudge” is about a boy named Fudge who loves birds and plans to be one when he grows up. In the book, Fudge’s family moves to Princeton, New Jersey, and Fudge receives a new bike for Christmas. That’s all well and good, of course, but wouldn’t a Spike Jonze re-imagining really bring out the dark undercurrents in the novel? Yes, I think so.
It would still be about a boy named Fudge who wanted to be a bird when he grew up, except now Fudge would fall asleep Christmas night, excited at the thought of a new bike, and instead be visited by six human sized birds who whisked him off to their kingdom of human sized birds. There, at first, Fudge would have fun commanding the birds to make nests and have egg fights, since he would quickly be proclaimed their king. But when the egg fights were over, the human sized birds would look around and realize that the eggs were their children, and that they had murdered their own children at the bequest of Fudge, their newly-crowned king. Fudge would have to hide in a tiny crack at the base of the human-sized bird kingdom while the birds crafted a long sword out of the beak of their last King, who they had all killed in a flight of rage, and use the beak to try to stab Fudge enough that he bleeds out inside the tiny crack that he had used to hide himself.
In the end he would survive, but not after learning a valuable lesson about the price of power, and the horrors that can be wrought from even the simplest of games.