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Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013)

| October 1, 2013 | 0 Comments

It is refreshing to report that the only uninspired thing about “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2” is it’s dull generic title.  The rest of the movie is a joyful work of imagination, silliness and a harmless fun.  In the case of both films, with the 2009 original and the sequel, the filmmakers put their collective heads to work building on a story (namely Ron and Judi Barrett’s 1978 children’s book) that had virtually no plot whatsoever.  What came of the earlier film was a nice surprise, a disaster movie with gravy on the side.  In the sequel, they have built on that flimsy idea (while avoiding any connection with the book’s sequel, “Pickles to Pittsburgh”) and come up with a follow-up that isn’t just repeating the same old formula.

If you recall, the original dealt with a machine designed by junior scientist Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) called The Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator, or FLDSMDFR, that caused giant food to rain from the sky, burying his hometown island of Swallow Falls under pizza, spaghetti, pancakes and hamburgers.  This sequel deals with its after effects.  Flint’s hometown is still buried under mountains of giant food, so he moves away from the island, to work for his hero, a flimsy-limbed super-scientist named Chester V (voiced by Will Forte, but looking very much like Mythbusters’ Adam Savage).  Chester runs a giant corporation called Live Corp. (read the first part of that title backwards) and sends Flint and his friends back to the island to turn off the FLDSMDFR because the invention has started imbuing its gastronomical creations with sentience, leading to an entire edible ecosystem.

Amid this edible population, Chester’s main concern are the cheespiders – large cheeseburgers with French fry legs that are learning to swim.  If they can swim, they’ll reach the mainlands of Europe, Africa, and North and South America.  It’s up to Flint to turn off his machine before it can do anymore damage.  It doesn’t take much to understand what Chester is up to or what the outcome will be.  It hardly matters, this isn’t a movie about plot, it’s about visual delight.

If the original “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs ” drew its inspiration from disaster movies, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2” draws its inspiration from “Jurassic Park.”  The island is an explosion of imagination, overrun by “foodimals,” we meet water-melephants, soo-sheep, pink flamangos, shrimpanzees, giant tacodiles, dolphin bananas, eggplanatees, hippopotatomus and many many more.  There’s even a cute lil baby strawberry that Flint names . . . Barry!

You can see that the animators were given free reign over the populace here and they didn’t just stop at the obvious.  This is a movie in which they have taken their sequel and moved it in a different direction rather than just repeat the original.  They stretch the animated form into something really special here.  There’s always something new to behold.

It has been a year of dry sauce for the animated feature.  Lots of products, but little imagination.  Of the films released in the past 9 months, only this film and “Monsters University” have really been special. There are nice messages about the importance of friendship and respecting the environment without beating you over the head.  Will kids enjoy it?  Absolutely.  Is it funny?  You bet.  The humor is light and funny, and not overly-crude (there’s a joke about cutting the cheese that is quite literal), and it is a lot of fun.  This may not be any kind of a masterpiece but it’s a work of imagination that feeds your appetite to be entertained.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2013) View IMDB Filed in: Animated, Comedy, Kids, Recent