Where I Watched It: Disney Plus
English Audio Description Provided By: Descriptive Video Works
I think I have to start realizing that Disney is no longer really concerned about quality so much as throwing things at a wall to see what sticks. Having been lambasted for years for turning their classics into live action films for no real purpose, they now are taking live action properties and animating them. Last year, we had our first Diary of A Wimpy Kid animated film, which I never thought would relaunch the damn series. It barely qualified as feature length. I think it ran almost exactly an hour. This one adds a few more minutes, making it a bit more feature length material.
But it’s still the same damn film.
I’m not sure it benefits from going from live action to animated as anything more than a gimmick. The plot is the same. There’s a party, Rodrick convinces his little brother they’re throwing it together, but when it comes time to actually party, Rodrick locks him away. But, Greg later gets his revenge when the parents are headed home early and there’s no way Roderick can clean the whole thing up by himself. So a deal must be struck, and Greg will soon learn the ways of being a Roderick.
I mean, considering I compare films to other comparable films and not just any random film, it’s not like I have to sit here and say “Is this better than Parasite?” I think about what it set out to achieve as a family film, and wonder did it do what it needed to do? Mostly, I’d agree it’s a fine effort. I feel like it doesn’t make quite the full use of the animation aspect which could easily be used to extend the imagination of the targeted youth audience, and it doesn’t seem to want to tread new territory either. It’s perfectly happy doing a shorter version of the same material the live action film. But, perhaps, there was a chance here to go a different route, do something totally unique, something that isn’t just the book, or a remake. Answer the question of “why?”
For most kids in a certain age range, it’s easier for them to watch this than go back and watch the older franchise featuring Chloe Grace Moretz before she grew up. So if you’ve got an elementary school aged child, and they’re reading these books, I’m sure they’ll like this. It supposedly is animated in the same style as the images in the book.
But for everyone else, it’s the same film. Now, I haven’t checked to see if the old films have audio description, so perhaps that’s why this wins. Because this has audio description, and it’s done well. There’s nothing special about it that would let me know that choices were being made just because it was an animated feature. It doesn’t feel special at all, and perhaps that’s a filmmaking perspective. But, between the structure and the description, there’s nothing to go off of here to feel like this takes any advantage at all of its format, and that’s a little sad.
It’s serviceable and watchable because its source material works. That’s it. Plus, I think I bumped it up because hearing Ed Asner’s voice one last time gave me all the feels. That man was a treasure, and it’s bizarre that this is likely his final film.
Final Grade: B-