Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

(Sony
Pictures Home Entertainment, 90 Minutes)

 

www.sonypictures.com

 

BY CHRIS
ZIMMERMAN

 

My
expectations were minimal when first sliding the DVD into my player. The
trailers had done little to captivate my imagination save for provoking my appetite.
Based on the initial previews, it seemed like just another unremarkable CG
piece of cinema. Perhaps that is why I found myself pleasantly surprised by
just how much fun the movie turned out to be. 

 

Located in
the fictional city of Swallow
Falls, the premise of the story revolves around Flint Lockwood, a down on his
luck inventor who desperately wants to discover the next big breakthrough in
science.  After several failed attempts
that include “rat-birds” and “spray on shoes”, Flint has alienated himself from both his
father and the town. Meanwhile, the town has fallen on difficult times with
most of its residents destitute and living on sardines. In an effort to turn
around the economic decline, Flint
turns his attention toward creating a machine that can turn water into food.

 

Flint eventually succeeds and uses the
machine to bring prosperity back to the town where he develops into a local
hero. He soon develops a friendship with a cute but nerdy weather girl named
Sam whose interests reflect his own. After finally achieving fame and status, Flint has everything he
could ever want until giant meatballs begin crashing toward the earth creating
the dilemma of how much food is too much.

 

What made
this film such a pleasure to sit through was its way of playing on our roles in
society and the clichés we make for ourselves. Flint’s relationship dynamic with his father
is handled exceptionally well and will certainly be familiar to many. The
romantic subplot, while also hackneyed, works quite well in that it avoids
becoming just another pointless boring plot device. The audience becomes
invested in Flint
and wants to see him succeed on both fronts.

 

The
animation in that it is both simple while still ridiculously detailed. The
characters maintain a cartoony appearance with large eyes to match their over
sized heads, but all sport noticeable texture and depth that gives them a three
dimensional appearance. Sam serves as the best example of this with her womanly
figure and a face littered with freckles.

 

The film’s
greatest strength however lies in its refusal to take itself seriously. Taking
cues from Looney Tunes, Cloudy with a
Chance of Meatballs
stretches the boundaries of comedy. The humor is absurd
and over the top but not so much that it turns the viewer off. It’s irreverent
and silly without being tasteless.

 

Ultimately, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs should
be considered its own thing. Comparisons with Pixar are inevitable, which is a
shame because this is a movie that manages to deliver a straight forward story
while still introducing the audience to outrageous concepts that in no way
should work but do in the competent hands of the filmmakers.  The film is cartoonish but believable,
somehow meshing the two to create something emotionally purposeful and even
sometimes beautiful.

 

Special Features:

 

Directors’
Commentary with Bill Hader

A Recipe
for Success: The Making of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Key
Ingredients: The Voices of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Flint’s Food Fight Game

Extended
Scenes

Early
Development Scenes

Progression
Reels with Introductions by Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Bredow

Interactive
“Raining Sunshine” Sing-A-Long

Raining
Sunshine” Music Video by iCarly’s Miranda Cosgrove

Behind the
Scenes of Miranda Cosgrove’s “Raining Sunshine” Music Video 

Make It
Rain Food

DVD-Rom Link To Exclusive Online Fun

 

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