Whether you want to be Big, or you want to take another chance at that failed first date, or you just wish you and your kid could understand each other across the generation gap, chances are there is some sort of mystical item out there that is ready to handle that task. Sometimes it’s something super-complicated, like a machine that swaps brains. Sometimes it makes perfect sense -- you don’t have to convince me that actual Christopher Walken has the magic to make a universal remote control that controls your universe. Sometimes it’s something that a frustrated writer just threw at a page in a huff of “Fine, just literally make it magic wishing dust, I’m going to lunch.”
But what about the weird stuff? Who is actually making the usually sort of antique item that just happens to maybe also grant a wish or two? What about Zoltar, the actual wish-granting wish machine in Big? The fortune cookies in the remake of Freaky Friday (probably not vintage but most likely stale because have you have had one that isn't?) or The Brass Teapot’s titular money-granting and pain-inducing hot beverage container? Or the not at all okay really at least sort of racist African earrings in The Hot Chick? And why did I even see The Hot Chick?
Perhaps whoever put the spell on that Zoltar machine just thought it was hilarious for it to take itself so literally. Or maybe they were some voyeuristic spell-slinging hipster who gets off on seeing adults unknowingly pursue relationships with children in grown-up bodies? And if so how do we get Congress to stop resting on their behinds and pass some meaningful legislation to get these (possibly literal) monsters behind (hopefully enchanted) bars?
Could it be some lonely old shop owner with a lot of free time on his or her hands and a poor data plan for their smartphone that forces them to spend what would be precious cat video time on finding random spells to put on random objects just for the heck of it?
I’d personally like to imagine that it’s all the work of one single trickster god -- I’m not saying it’s Loki but it’s probably Loki -- who is more than happy to make the magic work through a kid’s birthday cake or a piece of notebook paper buried in the backyard, when those options become available. But sometimes you just don’t have that option.
Sometimes you just gotta build a fountain and say, “This has body-swapping powers but only if two dudes pee in it together.” Sometimes you gotta just figure a boombox was a perfectly good place for a genie -- definitely played by Shaq and not Sinbad-- to hide out. On that note, it’s not like the oil lamp from the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights’ "Aladdin" isn’t just a centuries-old example of a random vintage place to stick a loose jinn that was lying around to begin with.
Whoever that person (Norse god?) is, as someone who has been entertained by hours of their work displayed for us on the silver screen, I’m certainly appreciative of their endeavors. I only wish there were a way to tell them thanks.