‘Diary of a Wimpy Child’ review: Disney Plus reboot writes familiar entry

The perpetual woes of a prepubescent protagonist are humorously placed at the center of Disney Plus’s “Wimpy Child Diary”. Following a successful run of four live-action feature films adapted from Jeff Kinney’s popular book series, director Swinton Scott is renovating the franchise into an animated feature, and although the sane product seems a Not very redundant, it establishes its own identity, sometimes improving its cinematic predecessor enough to make it an interesting watch.

Skinny, awkward teenager Greg Heffley (Brady Noon) has always tried to avoid embarrassment as much as humanly possible, but life has a funny way of continually making him the butt of the joke. He’s currently sweating his social status, and the bright red journal his mother bought him doesn’t help matters as it looks a lot less cool than a low-key journal. He hopes the chronicle of his pre-teen exploits serves as the basis for a memoir once he gets rich and famous. Until then, he’s forced to work in the darkness of the suburbs with his adorably naive best friend Rowley (Ethan William Childress) as the couple move on from elementary school to middle school.

New school means new rules – something Greg is concerned about navigating. His antagonistic older brother Rodrick (Hunter Dillon) shares some insider tips for avoiding social outcast status, including a serious warning: never touch the slice of rotten Swiss cheese that’s permanently affixed to the asphalt of the courtyard. school. Legend has it that anyone who touches it will wear “the Cheese Touch” until they can pass it on to someone else. It has been a few years since no one received the cootie-like ostracizing curse, and students anxiously dread its reappearance. Still, the creepiest piece of advice Rodrick gives is that Greg must ditch the adorable goofball Rowley in order to survive college. As Greg ponders this heartbreaking decision, situations arise, through his own fault, that threaten the already precarious balance of their friendship.

Similar to its 2010 counterpart, this animated reboot takes a fun approach to universal aspects of adolescence like the nervousness of day one, the fleeting nature of popularity, navigating cafeteria social hierarchies, and the frustrations of not being s. ‘to integrate. Once again, he artfully puts the audience in their heads. and the heart of its tiny hero, giving voice to the anxieties of young underdogs and inspiring adults to remember and identify with the growing pains that accompany this tender age. It keeps the spirit of the source material and strong themes on self-esteem and self-esteem. And, to its advantage, this iteration reshapes some of the narrative constructs and cuts a lot of unnecessary story threads from the previous adaptation to focus primarily on the evolution of Greg and Rowley’s friendship.

Best of all, it never condescends to its target audience. Although he is a bit younger than the middle schoolers portrayed, playing more towards the entire elementary school, he captures the concerns of children and their parents with dramatic interest and impact. It helps give children the proper tools to deal with conflict resolution in a compassionate and informed manner. Greg’s selfish actions (like disobeying his parents, encouraging Rowley to lie, and putting him and his younger brother Manny in danger for his own gain) are good raw material for learning. It’s funny to see Greg hoisted up with his own firecracker, which leads to chaos and calamity. The comedy of these situations directly informs his internal and external issues, fueling the growing tension between him and Rowley.

Scott finds an interesting interplay between the dominant colorful computer animation and Kinney’s signature hand-drawn style of illustration, the latter being used in anecdotes and asides. The styles coexist and complement each other. The toon also copes well with mood swings within its color story, which subtly changes its tone palette from a warm sun during happy times to slightly darker, solemn hues once the story enters. in the consequences of Greg’s poor ethical choices. The hosts add a dashing aesthetic panache to the proceedings, whether it’s Greg’s 360-degree spin down the hallway of Fregley’s house when he’s feeling overwhelmed in new territory, or the angle at the first person on Rowley speeding down a steep hill on a three-wheeled tricycle. With that noticeable sense of visual dexterity and the moving feelings surrounding friendship and individuality that don’t come across as empty platitudes, the fast-paced 56-minute feature is another remarkable start for a reboot of the burgeoning franchise. .

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