The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20the Century Fox - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 99 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Rachael Harris, Steve Zahn, Devon Bostick
Directed by: David Bowers
Music by: Edward Shearmur
Written by: Gabe Sachs & Jeff Judah based upon the book by Jeff Kinney
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 21, 2011
"Welcome to the next grade"
Greg Heffley, the kid who made "wimpy" cool, is back in this sidesplitting sequel based on the second installment of the best-selling book series! Having rid himself of the Cheese Touch, Greg enters the next grade with his confidence and friendships intact, and an eye on the new girl in town, Holly Hills. But at home, Greg is still at war with his older brother, Rodrick, so their parents have handed down the toughest "punishment" imaginable - forcing the boys to spend quality time with each other.
Just back from summer vacation, Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) and his friend Rowley (Robert Capron) enter the next grade as undersized weaklings in their school. A bully favorite, Greg tries not to get noticed by anyone except the pretty new girl, Holly Hills (Peyton List). And at home, Greg is still at war with his older brother, Rodrick (Devon Bostick), until their mom Susan (Rachael Harris) initiates a Mom Bucks' program so Greg and Rodrick can earn redeemable play money (in exchange for real cash) by spending time bonding. Calamity ensues when their parents return from a weekend trip and find evidence that Rodrick secretly threw a house party. As they struggle with school and compete for Mom Bucks,' the brothers discover that avoiding trouble is easier if they uniteand their once-twisted partnership grows into a hilariously playful and sometimes mischievous friendship.
Based on the best-selling illustrated novel by Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid chronicles the adventures of wisecracking pre-teen Greg Heffley, who must somehow survive the scariest time of anyone's life middle school. Convinced it's the dumbest idea ever invented, Heffley considers junior high school a place rigged with social landmines that he must overcome to become popular. His diary or journal chronicles his thoughts, tales of family trials and tribulations, and (would be) schoolyard triumphs. Whereas the original film focused more on the goings on at school, Diary of a wimpy kid: Roderick rules focuses on the antics between Greg and his bullying/devious older brother Roderick. I generally tend to gravitate to films that have the ability to take me back to my younger years. For adolescents middle school can be a difficult time as it is usually when they begin to develop their personal identity. It can be a fragile period especially for those who struggle for acceptance. I liked the first film and enjoyed the charm in its coming of age narrative that included clever quips/dialogue and well crafted references to middle school aged awkwardness.
This film foregoes that charm in favor of comedy that is derivative in nature and situations that feel less genuine. Rowley remains my favorite character but his role here is diminished. The relationship between he and Greg proves less rewarding as does the lack of emphasis on the characters that made the first film interesting/fun. I don't find Devon Bostick (Roderick) even remotely funny and the lack of chemistry between he and Zachary Gordon (Greg) doesn't help things. Once again Rachel Harris and Steve Zahn are completely wasted in the roles of Greg/Roderick's parents. The dialogue and humor is campy while the plausibility of the situations are more eye brow raising than nostalgically effecting/charming. Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron (Rowley) make the most of their scenes together but the remaining members of the cast, particularly Harris and Zahn have little to work with in what appears to be a hastily penned script. Diary of a wimpy kid: Roderick rules, isn't completely without merit and may even have enough going for it to please fans. I found it uninteresting and lacking in the charm, wit and nostalgia invoking references that made the original film entertaining.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Diary of a wimpy kid: Roderick rules comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.1 Mbps.
This high definition video presentation looks great and boasts a pleasing palette of colors with eye popping primaries that jump off of the screen. Fleshtones have a bit of a balmy quality with copper toned complexions that offer little variety. Elevated contrast adds pop to colors and dynamic highlights to the sun drenched exterior sequences without interfering with the perception of detail. Resolution is excellent as images have crisp definition, revealing subtle delineation, and definitive long range visual acuity. Blacks are strong and depth of field in shadows and low lighting is appreciable. Sharpness fluctuates during a handful of shots but otherwise remains stable. The video has a discernible veneer of grain that lends texture. I didn't notice any compression errors or distracting video anomalies associated with the encoding. This is a solid high definition offering from Fox.
The multi-channel lossless audio won't test the limits of your surround sound system but it capably delivers the elements present in this soundtrack. Dialogue is tonally rich with excellent room penetration and defining clarity. Dynamics are punchy and bass response is appropriate and provides extension of the main channels that predominantly comes in support of the music. The front channels handled the bulk of the audio and presented a wide two dimensional soundstage with the surrounds supplying ambience detail that added depth. I thought the mix mated well with the source material and sounded just fine.
- Audio commentary by director Daid Bowers and author Jeff Kinney
- (HD) My summer vacation - 7 shorts featuring Greg, Rowley, Fregley, Chirag and Patty recounting their summer exploits
- (HD) 10 deleted scenes with optional director commentary
- (HD) Alternate ending: Stealthinator with optional director commentary
- (HD) Gag reel - 4 minutes
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- BD-Live: Live Extras - *Exclusive* Plainviews most talented
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc
Based on the best-selling illustrated novel by Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid Diary of a wimpy kid: Roderick rules is a middling family comedy that has its moments but lacks the charm, wit and nostalgia invoking references that made the original film genuinely entertaining. Fans will be happy to hear that it comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring excellent high definition video quality and crystal clear DTS-HD Master Audio sound. The average supplemental package includes a director/author audio commentary, alternate ending, Blu-ray exclusive content via BD-Live, a digital copy, and bonus DVD of the film. If you're a fan this is worth picking up otherwise it is at best a rental on family movie night.
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