When Disney purchased 20th Century Fox, one of the things Disney CEO Bob Iger said he wanted to do, was to use some of 20th Century’s established franchises for new content for Disney+.
One of those franchises was “Diary Of A Wimpy Kid”, which is based on the first book in the best selling book series by Jeff Kinney. Fox has made several live-action movies (which are also available on Disney+), but this is the first animated version of the book. And Disney has already announced a second film, “Roddrick Rules”, is also in development, showing that Disney has plenty of confidence in this franchise.
The film tells the story of Greg, who is moving up to middle school and adapting to growing up a little. Along the way, Greg and his best friend, Rowley, make their way through the change, even if Rowley isn’t quite ready to give up the things he enjoys.
Throughout the film, we see the boys trying to work out what clique they want to belong to, so they can get a seat at the table for lunch, avoiding high school kids, bullies and the smelly cheese! But more importantly, Greg learns what it means to have a best friend and learns how it’s not always all about him. An important lesson for everyone.
One of the interesting things about this movie, is that it has a large portion of the story tied around Halloween and trick or treating, so I do question why Disney has released it in December, when it might have been more suitable to have released it in October.
The animation style is a little basic, it certainly isn’t on the same level as Walt Disney Animation or Pixar, but it does the job. But that could work to the franchise’s favour in the long run as the simplistic design style works, and you can tell they’ve taken inspiration from the artwork from the books. Sometimes I felt like this could be just another Disney Channel animated series. Still, with over 16 books in series that could be made into films, turning this franchise into an animated series of films makes a lot of sense, since, in the live-action films, the kid actors all grew up, in the animated films, they don’t!
I’ve never seen any of the Fox films, nor have I read any of the books, so I’ve got nothing to compare this movie to. So I’m coming into this franchise completely fresh and without any expectations. After watching the film, I can completely see why this is such a beloved franchise, and I’m sure this film is going to be very popular. It’s full of humour and references many of the struggles of being a kid. I certainly could relate to how Greg was feeling and acting, which is one of the many great things about this film.
One of the best things about this film is Brady Noon, who provides the voice for Greg, and he’s previously starred as the main kid in the Disney+ Original series “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers”. He just brings the character to life and makes Greg very likeable.
“Diary Of A Wimpy Kid” is a pretty short film, it is not even an hour-long, but honestly, that’s a good thing. The film’s pacing feels about right, because there isn’t an overarching storyline. We just jump from one situation to another, which does sometimes remind me of why this could have been a series rather than a film. The film is entirely relatable, charming and it’s fun for the entire family. I think Disney+ has found one of its cornerstone franchises that it can just keep building on for years to come.
Rating – 4 out of 5.
“Diary Of A Wimpy Kid” is available now on Disney+.