Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a terrific visual presentation.
From start to finish, sharpness looked nearly immaculate. Only the slightest hint of softness affected wide shots, and those examples occurred too infrequently to cause problems. Instead, the film looked concise and well-defined.
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. I also failed to detect any source flaws.
In terms of colors, the movie featured a teal and amber palette. These tones didn’t seem overwhelming, but they leaned that way. Across the board, the hues looked positive.
Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. I thought the movie consistently looked great.
I felt that the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Haul seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. Like most comedies, the movie featured a limited soundfield that favored the forward channels. It showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides.
Some of the broader comedic scenes opened up the mix, though, and those added pizzazz to the presentation. The tracks offered nice localization and used the surrounds in a compelling way on those occasions when it decided to go “big”.
Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion.
Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed positive dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “B”, largely due to the occasional “big scene”.
When we head to extras, we begin with Making a Scene, a domain with three featurettes: “Behind the Squeal” (4:39), “Alien Abduction” (4:07) and “When Seagulls Attack” (3:33). Across these, we hear from writer/director David Bowers, producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson, animal wranglers Carol and Greg Tresan, animatronics/puppeteer Paul Mejias, author/screenwriter Jeff Kinney, executive producer Timothy M. Bourne, production designer Aaron Osborne, makeup department head Travis Pates, visual effects supervisor Chris LeDoux, on-set visual effects supervisor Nicholas Johnson, and actors Charlie Wright, Wyatt and Dylan Walters, Alicia Silverstone, Jason Drucker, Chris A. Coppola, and Tom Everett Scott.
“Making” looks at the use of trained pigs and an animatronic porker, sets and locations, stunts, and various effects. The three clips offer fairly useful views of the scenes in question.
Next comes Greg Heffley’s 10 Rules for a Perfect Road Trip. It goes for three minutes, three seconds and features a discussion of ways to make your vacation run well. It’s a cutesy piece that consists of movie clips and exists to promote the flick.
With Road Games, we find a three-minute, 53-second clip that gives us movie-related activities to play during a trip. Like “Rules”, it intends to sell the movie, but at least it gives us some moderately intriguing tasks that might be fun on the road.
We find a tutorial via Learn to Draw. In this 14-minute, 26-second piece, Kinney teaches us how to sketch Greg, Rodrick, Manny, Rowley, and the pig. Kinney gives us good notes about his inspirations and techniques in this fun reel.
A Decade of Wimpy Fun fills 13 minutes, 26 seconds and features Kinney, Drucker, Bowers, Jacobson, Scott, Silverstone, Simpson, and actor Owen Asztalos. “Decade” offers a quick history of the book franchise and its move to the big screen. While fairly superficial, “Decade” still offers some nice insights from Kinney.
After this we locate a collection of Bloopers and Deleted Scenes>. It goes for four minutes, 34 seconds and focuses mainly on the “blooper” side of the equation. The deleted scenes tend to be brief comedic moments and not anything substantial.
Deleted Animation splits into two segments: “Perfect Family” (0:42) and “Boat” (0:42). Both offer amusing interstitials.
Another featurette, Haulin’ Through Georgia lasts two minutes, 19 seconds and delivers notes from Drucker, Bowers, Simpson, Jacobson, Osborne, Kinney, Bourne, Silverstone, and Asztalos. “Haulin’” offers a few tidbits about the locations but it mostly exists to tout Georgia as a movie Mecca.
A Gallery presents 25 stills. It mixes shots from the set with publicity images. Nothing memorable appears.
The disc opens with ads for Boss Baby, Captain Underpants and Ferdinand. We also get the trailer for Haul.
A second disc presents a DVD copy of Haul. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.
After a good start, I thought Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul would bring us a clever, witty piece of family comedy. Unfortunately, it soon devolved into little more than a string of cheap, puerile gags that lack amusement value. The Blu-ray brings us excellent visuals along with generally positive audio as well as a decent set of supplements. Haul leaves the Wimpy Kid franchise on fumes.