Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Diary of a Wimpy Kid" (2010) - Movie Review

The kids grow faster as the years pass by and the generation gap defined becomes wider and wider along with it. When I went to school, class 9 was the transformation class. For boys, girls become apparently the eventual sex object and then they grow ego as this unnecessary bonus with it. But how can I remember class 6? What marked the significance of that part of my childhood? “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” paints a picture for an average kid ( and a little below average kids like me) and it draws it bold and honest. This might be the first time since the few classics as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club”, I have seen a kid’s film with a maturity to give it the right treatment many abuse of.

The film iterates the first year of the middle school for Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon), our wimpy kid, who is super wimpy. His agenda is set clear from the opening day of the school, to become one among the favourites. The burning agony to be that something special one is evergreen and remains undefeated as a little soul. We realize the harsh truth in the adulthood but in that era everything is possible and your own idea is never a stupid idea. It glows with success and the fame which follows it. Such is the fantasy world Greg lives in as we might have all lived through.

Greg has a trustful friend Rowley Jefferson (Robert Capron), a pudgy kid with positivity and cheer bubbling out uncontrollably. That is red alert for bad popularity and embarrassment for Greg. Greg resembles us because we have been that kid in our life. Despite achieving popularity or being dethroned from that, the average Joe’s of the century has to survive the test of fittest in the school days. We discover control through the nicer kids ready to be our friends. We discover weakness and humiliation when bigger representation ourselves put a leash on us, cruelly. We discover real friendship and how to lie. We discover guilt, fear and trouble. While the whole life awaits to be discovered, we discover the tools to navigate it.

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” uses the stick figure animation to narrate its protagonist's whining. The film takes a bold step towards some strong characterization of the kids. Not many movies take the risk on presenting Greg, a snobby kid. Greg can be likable but he is on the agenda to be disliked. He is ready to cut lose his Rowley, manipulate him and conveniently hide away for his selfishness. But he is growing and learning and so were we.

Thor Freudenthal directed this film adapting from the series by Jeff Kinney and what a courageous move to do that. It is indeed a movie for kids with everything toned down but it is truthful living in its environment. It behaves as it supposed to and does not cheat itself to please audience. It arrives at the pay off and the culmination of sentimental set ups but it keeps Greg who he is all the way through.

While the film goes much to the credit of the structure, flow and characters, the film succeeds on the braveness of the young actor Zachary Gordon. At this age, he took the boldest move most well settled professional actors would not. That is to take up a role that might do the worst thing possible to cut off his career even before it began. To play a little devilish moderate boy and not come off as cute. That takes guts and this guy has it or to be precise his parents did the right choice and he is a natural in grabbing the opportunity.

It avoids every cheap shots the bored up school films have taken and treats itself with a respect. And it keeps the story about Greg and the people he affects, cares and understands in this little world of middle school. What a beautiful true friendship these two create out of Greg and Rowley. Rowley played by Robert Capron is another capable young actor making the boy into sweetly innocent and not completely stupid. Living the life to fullest applies to most of the kids but at that tender age to break the shell, Rowley still lives it to the fullest.

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” have more colourful characters and real life situations. The deadly cheese on the basketball ground, the hunt for good candies during Halloween and the scary woods, the disgusting kid Fregley (Grayson Russell), the annoying brother (Devon Bostick) and the nice sweet parents (Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris) make this kids film into something more of an able classic for the coming years. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is the long awaited matured and grown up films for adults in kids and the kids in adults.

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