Movie Review: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

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Flint Lockwood, now working for Live Corp, has to go back to the island where his machine that once turned weather into food has started creating menacing “foodimals” that could threaten life as he knows it.

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Cody Cameron & Kris Pearn, 2013

Scientist and inventor Flint nearly destroyed the world with his well-intentioned invention in the first Cloudy film, the “Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator” (or FLDSMDFR, much less of a mouthful, right?), which turned water (or rain) into food. It got out of hand and created giant food that wouldn’t stop falling, so Flint had to destroy it…or so it would seem. In this film Flint’s childhood hero Chester V, a Steve Jobs-type “visionary”, evacuates the island on which Flint lives and hires the young inventor to work at his company. He takes over the clean-up of the island, but sends Flint back when he can’t find the FLDSMDFR to, ahem, “turn it off”. There’s something fishy about Chester’s motives from the start, but Flint collects his friends, father, and girlfriend, weather woman Sam Sparks, to head to the island and fight off “foodimals” (food with animal/anthropomorphic traits) in his quest to destroy his invention once and for all.

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The great strength of the Cloudy movies is the incredible visual imagination they show on screen. There are so many visual gags, and the screen is just bursting with colour and life. It’s all set in a slightly wonky fantasy version of our world, where the laws of physics don’t necessarily apply – see Chester V’s liquid-like limbs, for instance – but everything has its own internal logic. It just looks stunning, and goes to show that not all 3D movies have to have that cutesy rounded look that Disney has gone for. The character design is beautiful, the foodimals look cute for kids and fun for adults, and the landscapes and sets are awesome in the traditional sense of the word. The foodimals are a hoot – watermelaphents, shrimpanzees, tacodiles, and susheep, for instance – as is Flint’s loyal monkey sidekick Steve, who gets a lot of the best jokes.

The plot of this second film doesn’t quite live up to the first. It’s a pretty straight-forward adventure movie with a confusing message (so…what CAN we eat?), although there’s humour for kids and adults in there. There are only three female speaking roles: the love interest, a chimpanzee with a human brain that’s the bad guy’s head lackey, and another minion. That’s it. Flint has a crew that consists of a big black guy (Terry Crews, a personal favourite), a little hispanic guy, a fat guy, a talking monkey (Neil Patrick Harris provides his few words) and his dad, not another woman among them. There’s a kind of Jurassic Park/Jules Verne flavour to their escapades in the food world, but it drags slightly, and the hero’s journey is one we’ve seen before (don’t meet your hero! Teamwork is the best! Don’t fear the unknown!). It’s still a cut above the usual 3d animated movies that have been coming out lately.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 on IMDb

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