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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 30, 2011 by  



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“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” was fun but nowhere as satisfying as the original film.  But all characters return for another fun film that children who love the book and the original film, will more than likely enjoy. 

Images courtesy of © 2010 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

FILM RELEASE: 2011

DURATION: 99 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio), English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

COMPANY: 20th Century Fox

RATED: PG (Some Mild Rude Humor and Mischief)

Release Date: June 21, 2011

Directed by David Bowers

Based on the book by Jeff Kinney

Screenplay by Gabe Sachs, Jeff Judah

Produced by Nina Jacobson, Bradford Simpson

Executive Producer: Jeff Kinney

Co-Producer: Ethan Smith

Music by Theodore Shapiro

Cinematography by Jack N. Green

Edited by Troy Takaki

Production Design by Brent Thomas

Art Direction by Shannon Grover

Costume Design by Monique Prudhomme

Starring:

Zachary Gordon as Greg Heffley

Robert Capron as Rowley Jefferson

Rachael Harris as Susan Heffley

Steve Zahn as Frank Heffley

Peyton List as Holly Hills

Terence Kelly as Grandpa

Connor Fielding as Manny Heffley

Devon Bostick as Rodrick Heffley

Karan Brar as Chirag Gupta

Grayson Russell as Fregley

Laine MacNeil as Patty Farrell

Andrew McNee as Coach Malone

The hysterically funny, best-selling book comes to life in this smash-hit family comedy! Greg Heffley is headed for big things, but first he has to survive the scariest, most humiliating experience of any kid’s life – middle school! That won’t be easy, considering he’s surrounded by hairy-freckled morons, wedgie-loving bullies and a moldy slice of cheese with nuclear cooties!

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is back with the sequel “Rodrick Rules” in which both Greg Heffley and his older brother Rodrick must become closer together as ordered by their parents.  But can these two who are often at odds with each other, become brothers who respect each other?

Find out in “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules”!

What is “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”?

In 2004, game designer/cartoonist Jeff Kinney wrote the realistic fiction novel “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”.

While the story first appeared on FunBrain.com in 2004 (and read over 20 million times), the hardcover version was released in 2007 and became a New York Times best seller earning critical acclaim and winning many awards.

Since “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, Kinney has since written nine “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel” books and also created the popular online, role-playing game “Poptropica”.

But also, a total of three film adaptations were created and the first “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” film was released in theaters in 2010. Made with a budget of $15 million, the film would go on to earn over $75 million in the box office.

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” revolves around an 11-year-old named Greg Heffley (portrayed by Zachary Gordon), who is beginning middle school along with his best friend Rowley Jefferson (portrayed by Robert Capron). For Greg, his goal is to be popular in school but worries about his friend Rowley who he feels embarrassed for, because Rowley has a childish personality and loves to wear clothes that Greg thinks is uncool and riding a child’s “Joshie” (a European pop star) bike with streamers on the handlebars. And doesn’t want to be the last person in popularity, who is the very weird student named Fregley (portrayed by Grayson Russell).

Meanwhile, at home, Greg is often bullied by his older brother Rodrick (portrayed by Devon Bostick), who tries to scare Greg about middle school. His mother Susan (portrayed by Rachael Harris) is a caring mother but tends to treat Greg like a little kid and often busy trying to raise his little brother Manny (portrayed by Connor and Owen Fielding), while his father Frank (portrayed by Steve Zahn) is often working on a battlefield set and wants his son to take part in athletics.

For “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules”, the story for the sequel is based on the second book of the same title and also from “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw”.

In the second film, The Heffley family go out on a family outing to the local roller rink and immediately, Greg finds himself attracted to the new girl in school, Holly Hills.  But things don’t go to well when Rodrick and his band try to take over the music of the roller rink and encourage the wild kids at the rink to come up and dance, in fear for their children, both Greg’s parents try to communicate with him via the DJ system that they will try to rescue him.  Thus embarrassing him in front of his classmates.

For Greg, he often feels that Rodrick is trying to ruin his life and in an effort to diffuse the problem, Greg’s mother who is writing a popular article about her two kids (and how they are doing so well together), wants to try out her experiment using “Mom Bucks” in which she will pay them “mom bucks” if the two spend more time together.  And they will be able to trade their mom bucks for real money.

But things get even worse when the family goes to church and Rodrick puts chocolate where Greg is sitting in the car and so, when he goes to church, people will see a brown stain in his rear and think he went poo in his pants.  When Greg finds out that Rodrick is responsible, the two start fighting inside the church and embarrassing their parents in front of everyone.

As punishment, the family plans to go on vacation while both must bond with each other for the weekend and with their father’s orders, no friends are to come over.

But what happens when Rodrick decides to call his friends to come to the house for a party?  Will these two brothers have a bonding moment or will it push them further apart?

VIDEO:

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio). The film looks great on Blu-ray. Skin tones are natural, picture quality is very colorful, black levels are nice and deep. There is a thin layer of grain and the overall look of the film is warm. I didn’t notice any artifacts, edge enhancement or excessive DNR while watching the film on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish and French Dolby Digital. For a film such as “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules”, a lot of lossless audio is primarily dialogue. The film does have quite a bit of music which come alive during the film and shows good dynamic range. There is not a whole lot of ambiance for the film, but dialogue and music is crystal clear, no an immersive soundtrack but is appropriate for this type of film.

Subtitles are in English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese and Mandarin.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Director David Bowers and author Jeff Kinney.
  • My Summer Vacation – (8:58) Greg, Rowley, Fregley, Chirag and Patty talk about what they want to do on summer vacation.
  • Deleted Scenes  – (9:22) Featuring ten deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by David Bowers.
  • Alternate Ending – Stealthinator – (1:26) An alternate ending with optional commentary by David Bowers.
  • Gag Reel – (4:23) Outtakes from “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules”.
  • Theatrical Trailer – (1:44) The original theatrical trailer for “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules”.

EXTRAS:

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” that I am reviewing comes with a DVD and also a Digital Copy of the film.

With the first “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, I enjoyed the coming-of-age storyline as it deal with two children who try to be the cool kids in junior high.  And the story had a moral message, despite the primary character, not being the nicest kid.

With “Rodrick Rules”, the storyline is perhaps something that many families have experienced over the years and that is two siblings who did not get along.  As we have seen in the first film, Rodrick tends to bully his brother, pulls pranks on Greg and even embarrassing him at school.

And in this film, the problems between both brothers escalate while their mother writes a column about how she is able to keep her children close and respectful towards each other.  A facade of the actual truth.

But the things that I loved about the first film, is unfortunately not in the sequel.  The character of Rowley, who played a pivotal role in the first film, is more of a side character that shows up once in awhile. I was curious to what happened to the character of Angie Steadman but my son told me that the character was not featured in the book and was only featured in the movie.  Fortunately, we do get a new female character with Holly Hills (portrayed by Peyton List), a love interest for Greg but also a female character to show that not only brothers have their disagreements, so do sisters.

The focus tends to be on Greg and Rodrick and not to say that the hijinks committed by these two children are terrible but more often you find yourself not rooting for either son.  Both are responsible for whatever they do to each other, the fact is Rodrick being the older brother tends to embarrass his younger brother in the worst way possible.

While we have always seen the sibling rivalry in film and television, I suppose that anyone who grew up with a sibling and fought often can understand this film.  If anything, watching this film made me think about my treatment towards my younger brother growing up.  But I’m so grateful that my parents didn’t embarrass me like the parents in the film.

As the first film caused concern with parents, I’m not even sure how they would react to seeing the brothers antics, especially inside a church when they get into a fight in front of everyone.

I have not read any of the “Diary of the Wimpy Kid” books but while I sat there watching alongside my wife and son, my wife would whisper to me “is this safe for children?”.

But for any family, no one is perfect and every family has its issues but the positive thing is how these brothers are able to be brothers, despite getting into bad situations, there is respect between them.  They just have to be in a position to find it.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is great, lossless audio is good but nothing major.  You get an audio commentary, a few short featurettes and this release also comes with a DVD and a digital copy of the film.

Overall, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” was fun but nowhere as satisfying as the original film. While it’s great to see all characters return for the sequel, I don’t know if parents will find this film to be entertaining.  Children fighting in church, having parties at home and wrecking their home and other situations that parents can only wish, will never happen to them.

While some parents will be protective of their children and may not approve of the behavior of children as featured in this film, I do feel it’s a family film with a moral that brothers, despite how they may feel towards each other, can work their differences out and respect each other.  May it be through certain experiences or overtime as they grow older and that is the moral story of this film.

If your children love the books and loved the first film, then “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” is recommended.






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