Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2021): Film Review
By Karissa Meno
Diary of a Wimpy Kid premiered on Disney+ on Friday, December 3, 2021 and was found all over Twitter that same day. Diary of a Wimpy Kid was definitely something different coming from the original live action Diary of a Wimpy Kid from 2010 and something to reflect upon with the book.
This Walt Disney Company, 20th Century Studios, 20th Century Animation, and Color Force Production was directed by Swinton O. Scott lll, with producers Jeff Kinney, Bradford Simpson and Nina Jacobson. The music was composed by John Paesano with screenplay by Jeff Kinney. The cast contains the voices of Bradly Noon (Greg Heffley), Ethan William Childress (Rowley), Erica Cerra (Susan), Chris Diamantopoulos (Frank), Hunter Dillon (Roderick), Christian Convery (Fregley), and Gracen Newton (Manny).
The story starts off just like in the book and original movie: Greg is starting middle school soon. We are introduced to Rowley, Greg’s best friend who doesn’t get the concept of middle school and “acting his age.” We’re also introduced to Greg’s family, which, just like in the book and original film, contain Greg’s mom Susan or Mrs. Heffley, Greg’s dad Frank or Mr. Heffley, Greg’s older brother Roderick, and Greg’s younger brother Manny. The characters are animated to have the same physical factors as they do in the book with large heads and feet and skinny legs and arms.
Roderick gives Greg advice on how to get through middle school and is faced with the challenge that Rowley may not survive middle school (but trust me, no one does). They also must survive the famous moldy cheese. Greg starts to give subtle but not so subtle advice to Rowley on how to survive middle school. As they head into their new and uncharted school they try to get through the day as much as possible. After the first day, Greg hopes to help Rowley survive middle school for the rest of the year. Even though Rowley takes Greg’s advice for a few weeks, as Halloween approaches for the new middle schoolers, they fall back into certain aspects that lead them to be chased down by a few reckless teenagers trying to bully and take Greg and Rowley’s candy.
After Halloween, Greg has to deal with having no video and ends up giving Rowley a popularity mechanism. The day they go back to school, Rowley starts to gain new friends and become more popular like Greg wishes for. As Greg and Rowley grow apart and Rowley gains a new best friend, Greg starts to grow jealous and tries to make Rowley jealous in the process. After a few terrifying encounters with Greg’s neighbor Greg realizes that it was time to do right by Rowley and do what he wants even if people judge him (or run away from him either way).
The movie itself had me confused when I would see the physical features of most characters. This new, short film is based on the book Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the events that happened are meant to sequence with the events in the book. In the movie, each event happened in a significantly different way. The animation was greatly significant as well as the coloring and other factors of the animation that made it interesting to watch. Some of the beginning and end storytelling was drawn just like it was from the book, which I always found nice to see. Some of the voicing matched up perfectly with most characters or sounded a little too young for “meant to be older characters.” Even though the movie happened very fast it all made sense and transitioned smoothly. As most people would say, the movie wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad (I just hope they don’t consider making a sequel).