Friday, 17 August 2012

Movie Review - Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3 Dog Days

Rowley really is more 'wimpy' than Greg.
 It's the third movie of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series!  My, I can't believe how time flies.  Or how he's grown.  Greg, that is.  Or his movie counterpart.  As the Wimpy Kid actor grows and fills into his awkward phase, I suppose the film franchise has to finish what they can of the series.
I've read the books through my nephew's collection and I actually prefer the movie adaptations as the titular Wimpy Kid Greg is more likeable in cinema as compared to his paper version.  Greg, from the source material, is scheming, unapologetic, barely learns from his experiences and is pretty much a jerk.  His supposed best friend Rowley actually deserves the 'Wimpy Kid' mantle for putting up with him. 

But the movie version does portray Greg in a more flattering light and his adventures are less mean spirited as he scrambles his way out of the holes he digs himself.  The 'Dog Days' movie picks choice exploits from the third and fourth books in the series and adds new shenanigans to have a proper cinematic storyline experience. 

The canine part of the title refers to the new pet that joins the family but Greg's main problems are split up into several mini arcs.  It doesn't quite hold a cohesive plotline in the boy's life but the books themselves are a chronicle of one mishap happening after another; not necessarily them being linked to one another. 

Differences are to be expected, some for the better.  The swimming pool scenes are practically unchanged but the soccer angle was left out as summer vacation was the focus.  The comic strip bits were retained to keep the bonding theme but the Cranium Shaker ride was revamped with a whole different visual.  There's a good trade-off with the main conflict from the third book as the camping trip becomes a more developed event and has more significance over the birthday baby party.  The other arc is even more hilarious (and slightly painful to watch) as older brother Roderick is still the breakout humor factor in this outing. 

With the more episodic feel and smaller umbrella arc, the emotional pay off isn't quite as meaningful as the previous two movies but, again, this is expected when aspects of more than one source material are being crammed into one film.  Greg's mischief still holds comedic value but, as the child actor ages, it might be time to close the book unless there is a reboot or a recast.  Best to enjoy what you can catch of the Wimpy Kid's fun filled summer vacation before it's gone.


SPOILERS on some of the differences between the book and film.
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The second movie, Roderick Rules, actually takes scenes from the third book like the dirty pants in the church.  The soccer aspect is gone from the movie as, again, summer vacation is the focus.

'Sweaty', the 'sweet' little dog in the book, is not so little in the movie.  He was also given away in the book.  Not so in the film.

The killer hand pounding is switched from Rowley and Greg to Greg and his dad.

The books has Greg worrying about funds and getting a job.  This is touched upon in the movie in a different way.

The book has Roderick getting a real tattoo.  The movie shows that it is a fake.  He doesn't go to the country club either. 

The whole performance in the party is an absolute side-splitter!  How embarrassing!  Hehehe :)

The original climax to the third book, The Last Straw, is Greg helping his father avoid entertaining a baby.  While it would have made a pretty funny scene, the camping trip does have more weight in terms of story.  There is a camping trip in the book but not as developed as it was in the movie.

The cellphone bit was not part of the amusement park trip with Rowley.  It made it funnier though, haha :)

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