I was going to write a movie review but…

It seems nostalgia got in the way.

It’s school holidays on this side of the world and we decided to treat our grandchildren to a film.  Being 8 and 11, it was always going to be one of those children’s films that we either didn’t understand, had minions, monsters, or bratty children.

This didn’t, but it had a baby elephant with large ears.


Saw the cartoon version, read the book countless times at bedtime, but live action?  I suspect with the advances in movie technology, anything is not possible, even flying elephants.

Yes, and somewhere in the film was the byline, ‘making the impossible possible’.

I guess only Disney and a handful of others could do that.


What interested me the most was the train at the start, the circus winter home, and the manner in which the great circuses moved from town to town throughout the midwest, and other areas of e continental United States.

I may live on the other side of the world, but the magic and mystery of circuses has fed my imagination since childhood, and the notion one day that I might see the circus arrive, led by the steam calliope and followed by a parade of circus performers and animals on their way to the first vacant field.

And the thought of seeing that huge big top tent.

It never happened.

Except in the pages of a book I received one Christmas when I was about 7 or 8, called Toby Tyler first published in 1880, a boy who saw such a circus arrive, and hating his foster life on the farm ran away when the circus left town.

My only other memory of that story, Toby being called ‘the death-defying daredevil of the lemonade stand’ after being promoted from the concession stalls to bareback horse riding, for reasons I cannot remember.

But, today, seeing the film’s opening, it all came back.

Was it a good film?  For kids, yes.  It has the usual message of good triumphing over evil, and that you should follow your dreams.  For those older people like me, well, it will bring back a few other interesting memories, some of which will not include running away from home to become a circus performer.

And the fact they don’t make circuses like they used to.


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