The Boy LOVES the Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He’s a big fan of the books and loves the films..
Before his 8th birthday, he’d never been to the cinema. This is because he’s autistic with sensory processing disorder and the cinema is a very sensory experience with sound, lighting and crowds. We’ve known about autism friendly showings for a while but no film interested him until Diary of a Wimpy Kid – The Long Haul came out, so we decided that this would be as good time as any to see how he coped with the experience. On this occasion, it was at the Odeon cinema.
For those unfamiliar with Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, the main protagonist is American middle school student, Greg Heffley, who starts sixth grade and writes down all his thoughts in a diary – though he prefers to call it a journal. Greg is always getting himself (and his family) into the deepest of poo. Put it this way, if I was his ‘Mom’, I would need gin via an intravenous drip.
Greg Heffly is involved in a particularly embarrassing incident in a family restaurant and plans to turn shame into fame by going to meet his idol, Mac Digby, at a gaming convention. However, Mrs Heffley forces the family on a road trip to attend great-grandma Meemaw’s 90th birthday party. As usual, things go wrong spectacularly wrong in true Heffley style.
The Cinema Experience
Adjustments for autism friendly showings include:
- a relaxed environment where people understand the needs of children and families with autism
- lights left on low
- sound turned down
- no trailers or advertisements (unless they are embedded in the film)
- staff trained in autism awareness
- disabled access
- chill out zone, where available
- freedom to move around and sit where you like
- bring your own food and drink
- free entry for carers with valid CEA Card.
I liked how relaxed it was. I’ve seen numerous films in my time and it’s always taken me a few days to come down from my ‘high’ due to over-stimulation. With the autism friendly screening, however, I was absolutely fine. The Boy LOVED it. He wasn’t anxious at all. He was excited but not overwhelmed. GET IN!
One thing that short-circuited my brain was the fact that ALL the actors have changed from the first three films. I didn’t do my usual research so I wasn’t prepared. Nor did I look too closely at the advertising posters (OOPS) and I found it hard to get my head around at first because I’m autistic and don’t like things to change. However, Zachary Gordon (who played the original Greg Heffley) is now 19 and the original Roderick (Devon Bostick) is 25.
I’ve seen some less than favourable Twitter comments about the change of actors, especially the new Roderick with whingers (mostly girls) hash-tagging #NotmyRoderick.
HERE’S THE THING, GALS
Greg and Roderick Heffley do NOT age in the books so a recast is inevitable. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE POPCORN!
Personally, I think Charlie Wright does a decent job as Roderick, so, NER.
There are some laugh out loud moments but, for me, The Long Haul isn’t quite on par with the other films of the series. That said, The Boy thought it was ‘hilare’ all the way through.
I’m obviously old and miserable, but then, I probably have more in common with Great Grandma-Meemaw than anybody else. *sighs*
My rating for the autism showing experience at The Odeon is 9/10. This is definitely something we will do more of as a family. The only whinge I have is the ASTRONOMICAL price of sweets. Then again, you are allowed to take your own food and drink in so I guess I’ll just have to shut my face on that one, eh?
As for the film itself, I’ll give it 6/10 for some REALLY funny moments.
The Boy rates this film 58 million.
I’ll leave the last words with him..
“The cinema is great. That’s it for the cinema.
The film was very, very, very funny and exciting and awesome and also happy at the end.”
Eat your heart out, Kermode.
This is not a sponsored review.