December 10, 2021

Random Musings: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2021)

I know — of all the films to do an additional article about, why Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a direct-to-streaming animated feature I only felt passively positive towards? In my review, I talk about my history with the Wimpy Kid book series and film franchise, and I had some thoughts I couldn’t find a natural place for in my review. Therefore, it’s time for some random, scattered thoughts — and of course, there are spoilers ahead.
  • I mentioned this in the review proper, but I’m still conflicted about the movie’s runtime. I think they could’ve expanded it a little bit and included some fun storylines from the first book (including the disastrous school play), but I can appreciate the briskness and “no bullshit” attitude. Granted, the first book in the series is far from my favorite, so if they devote more time to the gradually-crazier sequels, I can get on board for that.
  • Is it just me, or does the animation style feel a bit cheap? The characters look odd, and the backgrounds and locations don’t seem very filled-out and are very stock. Sure, in the book the backgrounds and locations are virtually nonexistent (being portrayed as 2D embellishments in Greg’s “journal”), but this is a movie, and a movie needs to at least look appealing.
  • As much as I like Brady Noon as the voice of Greg, I don’t think anyone can beat Zachary Gordon’s portrayal in the first three live-action films. He captures Greg’s utter abrasiveness and polarizing nature perfectly, in a way that I don’t think many could do.
  • Speaking of Greg, I’m not sure this adaptation really frames him in the terrible light he deserves. Greg Heffley is a manipulative and disrespectful person, and of course the goal of a story is to show its protagonist in a positive light — but part of the genius of the Wimpy Kid book series is that it has Greg, the narrator and main character, attempting to make himself the hero, but it’s painfully obvious everything he does is wrong. I don’t mean to keep comparing this movie to the books, but that’s clearly what they were emulating, and if they keep adapting the series into these Disney+ films, the comparisons should be expected.
  • This has virtually nothing to do with this specific film, but I think this is the perfect place to share a Wimpy Kid theory my friend Xander and I have been cooking for a few years. In the sixth book of the series, Cabin Fever, Greg and his entire family get snowed into their house. They lose and power and everything. Our theory is that Greg actually died in this book, and — hear me out! — the rest of the series shows him in purgatory. What’s the supporting evidence, you might ask? First off, he never gets older. The first six could plausibly take place in his first year or two of middle school, but over the next ten books? Give me a break. Also, while the situations Greg runs into in the first six are relatively realistic and manageable, they get flat-out insane and borderline sadistic in the next ten. Need I continue?

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