You know how sometimes you just don’t feel yourself? It happens a lot in sci-fi
Bodyswaps have been a staple part of sci-fi and fantasy for a long, long time. Some stories delight in swapping their characters around for laughs; others use it for dramatic purposes or to make some moralistic points; some just make it kinky… (yes, Farscape, we’re looking at you…) Some stories switch just two characters into different skin-suits; others indulge in a veritable a body-swapping party. SFX will be bodyswapping with Model Railway Magazine later (just for larks!) and so, before we go, here are some of our favourite examples of the old switcheroo…
1 Freaky Friday (1976)
The Cause: None given, although it is Friday the 13th…
Who Gets Swapped? A mother and daughter.
The Verdict: It’s hard to believe that Jodie Foster made Taxi Driver in the same year that she appeared in this silly comedy for Disney. Being Jodie Foster, however, she’s just as believable as ordinary teenager Annabel as she was walking the streets of New York as the troubled Iris, and a decent script – adapted from the children’s book by Mary Rodgers – doesn’t hurt matters.
Freaky Friday is probably the most memorable of all bodyswap stories simply because it’s been remade twice over (most recently with Lindsay Lohan), and it also sparked off a rush of imitations – Vice Versa and 18 Again, to name but a few. It’s basically pure wish-fulfillment fantasy for kids, rather like Tom Hanks’ predicament in Big was. See, you can swap your life with the grown-ups, but you’ll soon learn that you’re better off as a kid, because grown-ups have troubles of their own. The same happens in reverse with Jodie’s on-screen mum, Barbara Harris, who thinks her daughter has an easy life until she gets a load of it.
The moral is a huge, klaxon-accompanied message saying, “Awoogah! Be content with what you have and stop complaining! Awooogah!”
Personally, we can’t help wondering what would have happened if Foster had swapped film characters instead: her little Annabel switching with Iris in Taxi Driver. Now that would’ve been an interesting mix-up…