Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Expect a repeat of the first movie’s visuals, for this presentation looked a lot like it.
Sharpness was generally positive. At times, I noticed a bit of softness, especially in wider shots. Still, the majority of the flick looked pretty concise and distinctive. 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 natural palette that favored a slight golden tone. Across the board, the hues looked positive. They showed nice clarity and breadth and came out well. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. The occasional softness created some distractions, but the transfer usually seemed solid.
I thought that the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Rules worked 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. Panning was decent, and the surrounds usually kicked in basic reinforcement. Nothing memorable occurred, as most of the movie stayed with limited imaging.
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-“ but didn’t particularly impress.
The Blu-ray comes with a decent set of extras. We begin with an audio commentary from director David Bowers and author Jeff Kinney. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific chat about story and adaptation issues, cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, stunts and effects, editing, music and a few other areas.
On the negative side, we get an awful lot of happy talk here, as both men praise everything they can find to praise. Nonetheless, they usually make this a pretty zippy track, and they include some good notes. I’d like a little more from Kinney about his books, but this is still an enjoyable and informative track.
Under My Summer Vacation, we get seven shorts. These run a total of eight minutes, 58 seconds and let the movie’s main characters tell us what they did during their breaks. These essentially act like deleted scenes, and they’re not particularly consistent; one says Rowley spent the summer away, but then we see him playing games with Greg. Still, they’re fun and fans will enjoy them.
10 Deleted Scenes fill nine minutes, 22 seconds. Most of these really offer longer versions of existing sequences, and it’s often easy to tell why they became abbreviated in the final flick; for instance, the chase at the old folks home is already too long, so more of that isn’t a good thing. A few amusing moments emerge, but most of this stuff deserved the boot.
We can watch these with or without commentary from Bowers. He adds a few notes about the scenes and usually tells us why he trimmed them from the final film. I’d like a bit more info – Bowers stays pretty basic – but he still offers useful material.
An Alternate Ending goes for one minute, 26 seconds. It shows the aftermath of Greg’s run around the old folks home when Rodrick tells his friends about it. It’s not an especially good clip, as I don’t think it wraps up that thread in a satisfying way. Bowers delivers more commentary and lets us know why he dropped this scene.
Next comes a Gag Reel. It lasts four minutes, 23 seconds. As usual, it delivers a collection of mistakes and silly moments. Some of these are moderately interesting, though, so it’s not a bad set.
The disc opens with ads for Rio and Marley and Me: The Puppy Years. The disc also throws in the trailer for Rules.
A second disc offers a DVD Copy of Rules. This appears to be the same disc that you’d buy commercially, not a “dumbed down” one intended just for this set. If you want to own Rules but aren’t yet Blu-ray capable, it’s a good bonus.
Finally, a third platter provides a Digital Copy of the movie. This allows you to transfer the film to a computer or portable gadget. And there you go!
If there’s a third Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie, perhaps it’ll more fully embrace the tone of the books on which it was based. Unfortunately, Rodrick Rules veers away from the unsentimental tone that makes those tomes such fun and becomes little more than a goofy kiddie comedy. The Blu-ray delivers generally positive picture and audio along with a few interesting supplements. The movie brings us decent entertainment but still ends up as a disappointment.