‘Cloudy with a Chance’ sequel will delight
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 02:09
Commercials and trailers portray “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” as a ridiculous series of puns and pratfalls, and they are absolutely spot-on.
In this animated sequel, inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) is back on the big screen in yet another unfortunate situation — his notorious machine that transforms water into food has reactivated, and is now producing food monsters that have taken over his home island. These monsters are learning to swim, and it is only a matter of time before the whole world is overrun by double bacon “cheespiders” (cheeseburger spiders with French fry legs). The only way for Flint and his friends to stop these creatures is by shutting down the machine once and for all. Along the way, he uncovers a large cast of “foodimals,” including peanut butter and jellyfish, “shrimpanzees” and a mischievous yet affectionate strawberry.
Fittingly, food puns permeate the entire movie and serve as its main source of comedy. Yet despite this lighthearted humor, “Cloudy 2” still has a sensitive side, and it possesses a sense of self-awareness and satire not normally found in children’s movies. The writers know their audience and do a great job of balancing both funny and emotional scenes. And though a six-year-old viewer might miss these sentimental moments entirely, their more mature peers will certainly notice them.
Perhaps the only flaw of “Cloudy 2” is the sheer amount of characters in the movie. Fans of the first film will be pleased to see many main old characters return, and new viewers will quickly become infatuated with their quirky charm. However, in addition to the original group, writers have added the new characters of Chester V — world class scientist and Flint’s lifelong idol — and his orangutan “right hand woman,” Barb, to the mix. Compared to the first “Cloudy,” which devoted a large period of time to character development, “Cloudy 2” seems almost eager to marginalize the non-essential members of Flint’s gang. Major players get large amounts of screen time, but less integral characters are pushed to the side. Problems involving supporting characters are solved almost as soon as they arise, allowing the viewer little time to see Flint’s friends in action. Good storytelling and strong protagonists save the continuity, but expect to see less from some fan-favorite characters.
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” (2009) was one of Sony Pictures Animation’s first intensive forays into 3D technology, and the sequel bears the same striking attention to detail. Small “Easter eggs” inserted throughout the film depict comical tableaus that are easy to miss. Those who saw the first movie will recognize the rat-birds and walking television, both of whom make appearances in the second installment, and may also notice that a certain bus driver seems to pop up in all sorts of places. In making “Cloudy 2,” it seems that the animators worked closely together with the writers to ensure that almost every moment contains intricate visual details that will keep viewer interested and attentive throughout.
Although there are some issues with sub-plots and side characters, overall, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” is both humorous and endearing. Both hardcore “Cloudy 1” fans and newcomers alike will love the kid-friendly characters and engaging plot. Though “Cloudy 2” appeals to a wide range of ages, it is ultimately a children’s movie and,its biggest fans will undoubtedly fall between ages six to 12. All in all, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” serves up some great puns wrapped in a fairly good plot, a side of morals and just the right amount of cheese.