Where's Waldo? Movie in the Works

Where's Waldo? Movie in the Works


It looks like Carmen Sandiego isn't the only hard-to-find cartoon with a penchant for red set to have her very own film soon. MGM and Classic Media have just announced that they are currently planning a live-action adaptation of Where's Waldo?

 English illustrator Martin Handford first published the first book in the series way back in 1987. It was called Where's Wally, because technically that's Waldo's real name. I had no idea. Mind blown. I guess Wally was just far too British of a name for us Americans to deal with. I don't know. He's 'Charlie' in France and 'Holger' in Denmark, so I don't really know what to believe about my childhood anymore. 

In either case, the books seem something of an unlikely choice for a feature film adaptation given that they have no dialogue and no real plot. They're puzzle books. They feature their eponymous character hidden in a full-spread busy scene. You find him. You win when you find him and you move on to the next page. If you're a jerk, you circle Waldo in the school library's only copy so no other kids can enjoy the challenge after you. 

I mean, really, Waldo's never had a line of dialogue. There's some thin narrative connecting the scenes and a few secondary characters, but not enough to really inspire a whole story, I wouldn't think. Unless they base the whole movie on the ending to the yellow book, where there are thousands of pseudo-Waldos and you have to find the real one. That could be a cool espionage-lite type tale of stolen identity. There has actually been a kid's cartoon based on the books, so somebody's managed to write up a script for the character. Still--a feature length? With real actors and real sets and real costumes? I can't imagine that getup looks good on anybody in the third dimension except for the pranksters in school group pictures. Maybe Waldo will get an American makeover. Maybe they'll tone down the dork level just a few notches and he'll be a rugged adventurer instead of a bookish tourist. I mean, this will be an American movie, after all.

This will be the third attempt at a Waldo film. Nickelodeon first expressed interest in the project but dropped it when their parent company changed regimes. Universal acquired the rights two years ago but never did anything with them, and now it's MGM picking up the mantle. We'll see where it goes this time.