Monday, January 16, 2012

To The Movies: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

When a storyline from a book is turned into a movie, the movie becomes its own text. The basic storyline may be the same, but when changes are made in order to fit the movie within a time limit or to highlight an element or theme that the people involved in the movie feels is important—they make the story their own. I will focus these features on movies made based on books I have read—I want to look beyond whether I think the movie is better or worse than the book. I want to appreciate and review the movie as a companion to the book.

Genre: Family, Comedy
Actors: Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron and Rachael Harris
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Scriptwriter: Jackie Filgo, Jeff Filgo, Gabe Sachs & Jeff Judah
Date DVD Released: August 3, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Info: IMDB | Website
Order Online:
Rating: 2 stars
Borrowed from library.

In A Nutshell:
I am glad I watched the movie, but I am equally glad I borrowed it rather than buying it.  There were parts I really liked a lot, but overall I was not impressed.  I do not think I would watch the movie again. 

The opening sequence where Rodrick wakes Greg up at 4am, convinces Greg that he is late for school, and then goes back to bed and falls asleep so that it looks like Greg made it all up--that sequence left me in stitches.  When the father comes down with the plastic hockey stick to ward off the intruder--it's classic!  I was grinning from ear to ear.  

Overall though, I was a little underwhelmed by the movie.  It was okay.  I loved how the movie incorporated the illustrations from the book.  I enjoyed seeing some of my favorite moments from the book played out for me (such as when the father gets them with the water when they are running home on Halloween).  But other than those few singular moments that I loved--the rest of the movie kind-of lulled for me.

There was one aspect to the movie that I really loved--Angie Steadman.  I loved her character--the way she called Greg's schemes into question.   But I do not remember her from the book at all.  And it seems that adding her had a major effect on the dynamics within the story.  How can Greg claim not to know the unlikelihood of his scheme working when Angie already questioned his logic?

There were also some things that got changed from the book that make me wonder how they will play out across the series as a whole.  Spoiler Alert! In particular, at the end of the book Rawley gets named a class favorite as Class Clown.  He is alone in this honor.  In the movie, Greg and Rawley get named a class favorite as Cutest Friends.  They get the honor together.  That seems to be a difference that could have an effect on the dynamic between Rawley and Greg--particularly as their story continues.

I plan to read the next book--so I will probably watch the next movie:


  1. I always like books more than their movie companions. I think it's part of the book lover's curse.

  2. @Kelly In most cases I completely agree with you. I do try to judge the movie on it's own merits but sometimes I do not understand why they made the choices they did. For instance, with increasing the role of Angie's character in the movie I think they did Greg a disservice. Greg looks less intelligent and more culpable when his schemes do not work out because Angie had already told him that it was not going to work--and he didn't listen. :)

  3. my kids laughed and laughed at the book....they gave the movie an ok.